Supercross season preview: Predicting the Top 10 — Nos. 3-4
Editor’s note: From Dec. 29 to Jan. 2, FOX Sports’ Brandon Short will list his predictions for the Top 10 finishers of the 2015 Supercross season.
It’s been widely touted as the most talented field of competitors in Monster Energy Supercross history and — with 19 riders who have won a 450SX Class main event, finished on a 450SX Class podium and/or won a 250SX Class main event — it’s easy to understand why. While at this point it looks as though just two former champions will line up on the gate at Anaheim 1, this collection of premier class riders has more budding talent than any in recent memory.
The departure of reigning four-time champion Ryan Villopoto and subsequent suspension of James Stewart means this battle for the vacant title is truly wide open, thanks largely to the aforementioned young riders turning heads in the early portions of their racing careers. Unlike previous years, there’s simply no way to look at past results as an indicator of how things will play out considering the two winningest riders of the last six seasons won’t be a factor. Because of that, simply earning a top 10 in 2015 can be considered an accomplishment while the ability to contend for finishes inside the top five or on the podium will take an exceptional effort. Heck, just making the main event will be harder than it’s ever been before.
With all that being said, we break down our predictions for the top 10 finishers in the 2015 championship.
Fourth Place: Davi Millsaps – Monster Energy Kawasaki
Despite not having raced alongside his fellow 450 riders in a year-and-a-half, Millsaps slotted himself back into the fold nicely at the Monster Energy Cup by winning his maiden race on the Kawasaki. While the win was one thing, the consistency Millsaps showed was perhaps the biggest takeaway from the outing. No team is more used to winning than Kawasaki and it showed in Millsaps’ ability to acclimate to the bike so quickly. During his last two seasons of competition in 2012 and 2013, Millsaps finished in the runner-up spot in the championship, including leading the standings for half of 2013. This all combines to make Millsaps a surefire contender this season despite the lack of track time compared to his rivals. There’s a good chance Millsaps earns the more wins in a single season than ever before and he’ll likely be in the hunt all year. Because of the high level of talent as we get closer to the front of the field, I don’t expect there to be much separating the top five or six, similar to what we saw back during the 2011 season.
Third Place: Ken Roczen – Team RCH/Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s Suzuki
Many have Roczen tabbed as the favorite coming into the 2015 season thanks to his impressive run to the 2014 AMA Pro Motocross title last summer. However, by making the move from the powerhouse KTM squad to the unproven RCH Racing effort he’ll be forced to pave new ground aboard his new Suzuki. The German has always found a way to thrive in every situation he’s been in so there’s no reason to think things will be any different this time around. One of Roczen’s biggest assets is his ability to seemingly always be in a position to win and that will be critical to his hopes of winning a supercross title. The standings will constantly evolve at the top throughout the season and Roczen will probably have his time with the red plate, but I think when all is said and done he’ll walk away with his second consecutive third-place finish.
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