McThoughts | A2 Supercross Predictions
By Jeff McConkey
Hey, guys. We are two rounds in to the 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season, and we’ve been treated to some great racing in both classes. In the 450 Premier Class, we have had the same 6 riders finishing in the top 6 positions, with only Eli Tomac and Cole Seely swapping places. Looking at it on paper, you’d think it was boring. Well, that’s not the case so far. HRC Honda’s Ken Roczen has taken both victories so far, but round 2 could have gone to Ryan Dungey had Kenny made even the tiniest mistakes.
At the season opener at A1, Roczen smoked the field by an impressive 14 seconds. Round 2 saw the top 2 of Roczen and Dungey leave the pack behind them by 20-plus seconds. In both rounds, Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin has been the best of the rest finishing 3rd both times out. The big question mark to me is what’s going on with Eli Tomac?
Coming into last season Eli was expected to start a little slow. He was coming off of double shoulder surgery and he had left the brand he had spent his entire Pro career on, to fill Ryan Villopoto‘s shoes over a Monster Energy Kawasaki. As expected, Eli was off the pace early in 2016 and he slowly worked himself to the front. Fast forward a year, and Eli is not battling for wins and podiums like we were hoping. He’s been hovering around 5th place, and to be honest… I am a little shocked. I personally think it may be the bike. Not to say the Kawasaki 450 isn’t a great bike, it just may not be the perfect bike for Eli. He’s looked good at times, very good, but not even close to how great he looked aboard his Geico Honda at the start of outdoors in 2015. Heck, I’d almost say he was ‘Carmichael-like.’ He looked that dominant. Unfortunately, that was 2015 and we are now in 2017.
We haven’t really had any breakout rides catch our eyes yet, because of Roczen and Dungey looking so damn good. It’s going to take a lot for anyone to match the speed and near perfection of these top 2. I can’t see any major shake ups coming at round 3… except maybe the weather. It’s been wet and crappy in SoCal and that could effect the outcome. With all of the rain, we should probably expect some soft spots and rutted sections. That being said, it will make the top 5 or 6 guys look that much better than everyone else. Here are my A2 predictions:
1st Ryan Dungey
2nd Ken Roczen
3rd Jason Anderson
4th Cole Seely
5th Eli Tomac
In 250 West action, Shane McElrath holds the red plate with the first and second wins of his career. So far, Shane has been getting great starts and riding fantastic. He’s a very steady and solid guy and he doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere soon. As good as McElrath has been, the speed that Justin Hill showed in San Diego should have everyone worried. Hill was fast all day and had he started in the top 2, nobody was going to catch him. His fitness is really good, the only thing he has to watch out for is himself. He needs to stay calm and be thinking championship and counting every point.
Right there with Hill in speed is Aaron Plessinger. Plessinger has all of the tools as well, he’s just lacking the starts. I haven’t been a huge fan of his gate picks in the first two main events, and I think they might be the issue. Again, with the wet weather I’m really expecting the off-road skills of Plessinger to take the win. Here are my predictions:
250 West A2
1st Aaron Plessinger
2nd Austin Forkner
3rd Justin Hill
4th Jeremy Martin
5th Shane McElrath