Round 1 of the 2017 Monster Energy Supercross series is set to kick off on January 7th, here is what we know. Supercross in 2017 is stacked deep with contenders in the 450 class. For this preview I will break the riders into three groups; Championship Contenders, The Pack, and Outside The Top 10.
2017 will be the year Ken Roczen figures how to put it all together in Supercross and win the championship. He has shown us flashes especially when pushing Dungey, even when Dungey looked unbeatable. Roczen left the RCH Suzuki team in favor of Factory Honda which seemed at first like a weird move to make since he dominated the outdoors series on the Suzuki. The thing about this is his deal with Honda was signed before outdoors had started. Ken had past issues with the Suzuki and the team in 2015, but appeared to have those problems resolved. I spoke with an insider at RCH who told me it was all about that money. With the amount of money Honda is paying Ken I think he would have agreed to ride an XR 650! He signed the deal without even riding the bike, yeah they gave him that much money. And while Justin Barcia continues to claim he is the bigger baller on Instagram Roczen’s contract is something Barcia will never see in his career, plus he is overpaid at JGR. Will Ken overcome the same growing pains he experienced when he left KTM after winning the 2014 outdoor title? He definitely showed us at Monster Cup that he is fast, and his crash was a fluke. I expect he will be dominant this season and bring Honda their first title since the Ricky Carmichael days.
Marvin Musquin will be Roczen’s toughest competitor this season. Marvin will win races, that’s a fact, but until he figures out how to blast through the whoops like Roczen, Tomac and Dungey he will only be a threat to win on tracks with small whoop sections. His smooth style will make him untouchable on some tracks and cost him time on others. He will win races this year, but unless something sidelines Roczen I don't see him challenging for a title.
Ryan Dungey will do what the “Diesel” does best; podium everyone to death and grab a few wins when things are going his way. I don’t see him having the blazing speed of Roczen and Musquin on a week in and week out basis. Dungey is older and returning from his first major injury as a professional (fractured vertebrae). I think he will finish strong, but unless the stars align he doesn’t have a chance without the speed he showed last year.
Eli Tomac is a riddle, sometimes he looks like the fastest man on earth but he hasn't figured out how to translate that speed in 450 Supercross. The Tomac camp thought switching to the Kawasaki would fix the issue, but it hasn't been the fairy tale they hoped. In fairness, he did enter last season with very little testing and still recovering from double shoulder surgery. 2017 is a big year for Eli, if he doesn't do something great his star could fade into the Justin Barcia and Trey Canard category. The first few rounds will let us know if he can translate his outdoor speed indoors. Eli has a lot of pressure from Kawasaki this year, as their second rider is Josh Grant who will be lucky to crack the top 10. Eli will have to balance the pressure of being Kawasaki’s only hope and rise to the occasion.
Stay tuned, we will be bringing more info on riders and any news leading up to A1.
Next: Part 2 The pack
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