While fun and entertaining, preseason predictions are one of the silliest things the media and fans do. No matter how smart we think we are, it’s nearly impossible to predict breakout stars, busts, resurrected veterans, and, most importantly, injuries. Sometimes we hit the nail on the head, other times we… well, “miscalculate.” Sports are supposed to be fun, though, so while we may have missed a few of the “this guy will have a tremendous year” predictions, it won’t stop us from trying to guess right again.
Last week in Racerhead we previewed this article with one of those “we’re idiots” moments talked about above. Prior to the start of the 2015 FIM World Motocross Championship, we asked, “Who is the MXGP title favorite in 2015?” A simple enough question, right? Well, as you can see below we left off one guy that would leave quite the mark on the season: the actual 2015 MXGP World Champion Romain Febvre. This is one of the main reasons preseason predictions are so hard…. NO ONE thought Febvre would take down Antonio Cairoli, Ryan Villopoto, Clement Desalle, Gautier Paulin, and Jeremy Van Horebeek among others in his rookie year.
Check out the results below.
Who is the MXGP title favorite in 2015?
Antonio Cairoli (3132 votes/27.3%)
Clement Desalle (152 votes 1.3%)
Jeremy Van Horebeek (56 votes/0.5%)
Gautier Paulin (242 votes/2.1%)
Ryan Villopoto (7824 votes/68.2%)
Other (62 votes/0.5%)
Well, we’ll never know, but perhaps Fevbre got that half of a percent from the Other category? On a 0–5 scale, we give ourselves a -461 for not even putting Febrve on the list. But, really, did anyone see this coming?
With that in mind, let’s look back at some other poll results from throughout the season that stood out. These are our questions and your votes. To see how well you did, we even decided to rank the accuracy of your predictions on a 0 – 5 scale. Here we go!
Which Factory 450SX rookie will have the best season?
Dean Wilson (Red Bull KTM) (2,265 votes/22.8%)
Cole Seely (American Honda) (3,902 votes/31.1%)
Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna) (2,939 votes/29.6%)
Blake Baggett (Yoshimura Suzuki) (1,627 votes/16.4%)
This was a big year for riders making the jump to the 450 Class. Past 250 champions Dean Wilson, Blake Baggett, and Jason Anderson, along with Cole Seely, all landed factory deals for the season.
If we we’re to look at the entire body of work for each rookie, Blake Baggett would have edged out the other rookies due to his outdoor season and finishing third in combined SX/MX points. But, this question was just in regards to Monster Energy Supercross. Seely finished third in points (behind two guys named Dungey and Tomac) and was the only rookie to win a round (Houston). He also had four more additional podiums. Baggett and Anderson both landed on the podium, but Seely’s incredible rookie season can’t be overlooked. Wilson was limited to just three rounds due to a torn ACL and MCL.
Verdict: 4/5 – Pretty good job with the voting here, people. This was a tough one to predict prior to the season. Seely just edged Anderson in voting keeping it from a 5 out of 5.
What are your expectations for Justin Barcia in SX 2015?
Career year—wins title (570 votes/7.2%)
On par with 2013—wins, but no title (4255 votes/54.1%)
Similar to 2014—no wins, but podiums (2237 votes/28.4%)
Struggle—no wins, outside top 5 (771 votes/9.8%)
Other (39 votes/0.5%)
Coming off an injury-riddled 2014 season, no one was exactly sure how Barcia would do in his first professional season not on a Honda.
Verdict: 2/5 – This should be more of an incomplete, as Barcia missed eight rounds with injury and entered the season behind the eight-ball due to ankle surgery and an injury in European Supercross. Like we said, injuries are the hardest thing to predict in the pre-season.
Which Honda rider will have the best 450SX season?
Eli Tomac (3348 votes/46.6%)
Trey Canard (3620 votes/50.4%)
Cole Seely (139 votes/1.9%)
Other (82 votes/1.1%)
Trey Canard was coming off an impressive performance in the Monster Energy Cup, while Tomac was expected to breakout in his second year in the class. Both garnered multiple wins and podiums, but injury relegated Canard to just eleven of seventeen rounds.
Verdict: 4/5 – This would have been a barnburner if Canard had not gone out with injury. He was ahead of Tomac in points at the time.
Which Kawasaki rider will have the best 450SX season?
Davi Millsaps (4930 votes/61.7%)
Chad Reed (2256 votes/28.2%)
Wil Hahn (329 votes/4.1%)
Josh Grant (142 votes/1.8%)
Jake Weimer (120 votes/1.5%)
Nick Wey (108 votes/1.4%)
Other (103 votes/1.3%)
Year one post Ryan Villopoto was a struggle for Kawasaki. Davi Millsaps came into the year with good hype thanks to an impressive win at the Monster Energy Cup, so he romped in the voting. But he struggled with illness before being dismissed from the team. Chad Reed didn’t quite have the season he wanted, but he was consistent, had a win, and finished fourth in points.
Verdict: 2/5 – Millsaps’ Kawasaki term in 2015 was worse than Reed’s time there in 2010. Reed also appears headed for a different brand in 2016, but his 2014-2015 tenure with the brand was pretty solid.
Who will win the 2015 Monster Energy Supercross Championship?
Justin Barcia (250 votes/2.8%)
Trey Canard (1490 votes/16.7%)
Ryan Dungey (1366 votes/15.3%)
Davi Millsaps (688 votes/7.7%)
Chad Reed (779 votes/8.7%)
Ken Roczen (2352 votes/26.4%)
Eli Tomac (1853 votes/20.8%)
Other (126 votes/1.4%)
Verdict: 0/5 – 15.3 percent!!!! Fourth in the voting!!!! Don’t we all look stupid now.
Who is the favorite to win the 250SX East Region?
Justin Bogle (GEICO Honda) (1446 votes/12.4%)
Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM) (5727 votes/49.2%)
Martin Davalos (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) (668 votes/5.7%)
Jeremy Martin (Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha) (3021 votes/25.9%)
Vince Friese (Smartop/MotoConcepts) (58 votes/0.5%)
Joey Savatgy (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki) (179 votes/1.5%)
Arnaud Tonus (Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki) (112 votes/1%)
RJ Hampshire (GEICO Honda) (122 votes/1%)
Jordon Smith (GEICO Honda) (53 votes/0.5%)
Matt Lemoine (JAB Motorsports) (41 votes/0.4%)
Anthony Rodriguez (Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha) (34 votes/0.3%)
Kyle Cunningham (AG Motorsports/Gurrnaid Energy) (57 votes/0.5%)
Other (134 votes/1.2%)
Verdict: 5/5 – Winner, winner chicken dinner!!
Martin vs. Musquin
Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Jeremy Martin and Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin were so close throughout the entire 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship that we couldn’t resist going to the well multiple times to ask who would win the 2015 250MX championship. Prior to the season, the results were quite surprising, as Martin, the defending champion, received just 19.9 percent of the votes—well behind Musquin and just behind teammate Cooper Webb. Did people think 2014 was a fluke or put too much stock into the supercross championships of Webb and Musquin? Either way, less than 20 percent was a surprise.
Who is the early favorite to win 250MX? (before season)
Jeremy Martin (1836 votes/19.9%)
Cooper Webb (2257 votes/24.5%)
Marvin Musquin (3728 votes/40.5%)
Justin Bogle (42 votes/0.5%)
Jessy Nelson (54 votes/0.6%)
Adam Cianciarulo (1232 votes/13.4%)
Other (55 votes/0.6%)
Verdict: 0/5 – Not much respect for the defending champion.
Which rider will win the 250MX Championship (June 29)
Marvin Musquin (258pts) (3349 votes/54.2%)
Jeremy Martin (248pts) (2909 votes/45.8%)
Verdict: 3/5 – After Budds Creek we revisited the question, and the tide had started turned in the favor of Martin. Despite trailing Musquin by 10 points at the time of the question, Martin received 45.8 percent of votes.
Who will win the 2015 250 Class Championship? (Aug 10)
Jeremy Martin (416pts) (4538 votes/59.2%)
Marvin Musquin (414pts) (3131 votes/40.8%)
One last time: Who is going to win the 250 Class Championship? (Before final round)
Jeremy Martin (461pts) (4840 votes/65.7%)
Marvin Musquin (459pts) (2524 votes/34.3%)
Verdict: 4/5 – Over the last two rounds, we asked the same question, and the results kept tipping toward Martin. We’re guessing Martin’s impressive come-from-behind Utah performance tipped the scales a little before the final round.
Who is the early favorite to win 450MX?
Ken Roczen (1625 votes/15.3%)
Ryan Dungey (5981 votes/56.4%)
Eli Tomac (2391 votes/22.6%)
Trey Canard (326 votes/3.1%)
Other (279 votes/2.6%)
Vedict: 5/5 – We totally redeemed ourselves from supercross.
Who will be the next rider to win his first pro national? (June 1)
Jessy Nelson (1367 votes/18.8%)
Adam Cianciarulo (3442 votes/47.4%)
Justin Hill (255 votes/3.5%)
Joey Savatgy (108 votes/1.5%)
RJ Hampshire (20 votes/0.3%)
Broc Tickle (40 votes/0.6%)
Jason Anderson (126 votes/1.7%)
Alex Martin (414 votes/5.7%)
Cole Seely (237 votes/3.3%)
Weston Peick (287 votes/4%)
Shane McElrath (33 votes/0.5%)
Phil Nicoletti (47 votes/0.6%)
Jordon Smith (46 votes/0.6%)
Christian Craig (524 votes/7.2%)
Aaron Plessinger (38 votes/0.5%)
Chris Alldredge (33 votes/0.5%)
Other (246 votes/3.4%)
Verdict: 1/5 – If not for a shoulder injury suffered shortly after we asked this question, it may have in fact been Cianciarulo earning his first outdoor win. He led a bunch and finished second in his last moto of the summer, at Budds Creek in June. Instead, we had to wait until early August when Joey Savatgy claimed his first career professional win with a 2-2 performance at Unadilla.
Who will finish the season ranked higher? (July 2)
Ken Roczen (297pts) (1688pts/22.5%)
Justin Barcia (284pts) (5814 votes/77.5%)
Verdict: 2/5 – This was after Barcia won at Budds Creek, but before his second win at RedBud, and just two weeks removed from Roczen’s win at High Point. Proof that you’re only as good as your last race.