Jonathan McCready: It’s hard to look past Eli Tomac for the 450 title, he has more raw speed than anyone else when he is on, but the question is how bad will his bad days be?
New supercross champ Cooper Webb won’t be wanting to give Tomac any form of confidence back and he himself has a chance two win both titles in a year which would be an incredible achievement after his last two seasons. If Tomac gives Webb an inch he will take a mile and they could be the two main title contenders gong down the stretch.
Marvin Musquin has the talent but when the chips are down Musquin might just be too nice under pressure and doesn’t have the arrogance needed to punt someone out of the way and believe in himself when he has to win the race. Ken Roczen has health issues and Blake Baggett has speed but not always the consistency.
A dark horse for the title could be Zach Osborne who has got some confidence from the last few supercross races and has a lot of aggression that could pay off outdoors and Justin Barcia usually finds his groove at some point in the year.
For me I think Tomac will edge Webb to win his third straight title, with Musquin not far away in third.
In the 250 class it’s the former GP riders v the next generation of Americans – and any of them could win it! Adam Cianciarulo has to overcome mental devastation following losing the supercross title, but with this series likely being his final in the 250 class, AC should be able to turn that disappointment into motivation, he will be all out for the title.
Justin Cooper is super fast outdoors, he took third last year in his rookie season and should be a major title contender this year along with French teammate Dylan Ferrandis as long as the West supercross champ can get good starts!
East supercross champ Chase Sexton and RJ Hampshire are also really fast as should their new teammate Hunter Lawrence who will be looking froward to finally racing an AMA series after missing supercross.
Lawrence should have the speed but his consistency is still a question mark especially with it being his first year in the states.
Then there is the Thomas Covington who had a a supercross season so bad it got aborted to concentrate on motocross. He is under big pressure to deliver outdoors but should have the starts and consistent top fives and podiums like he did in MX2 GPs, but will he have the raw speed to win enough races to get the title?
Alex Martin should be there or thereabouts does his Suzuki has the horse power to get him out the gate, and like Covington, will he win enough motos to go for the title when the pressure is on?
I think the title could come down to Ferrandis and Cooper but Adam Cianciarulo, if his head is right should be there too, they might be the top three with Cooper possibly edging ahead of Ferrandis thanks to good starts with Cianciarulo third.
Andy McKinstry: Coming into the season, for the 450cc title it’s hard to look past Eli Tomac. In terms of speed he’s the fastest but being mentally strong is an area he needs to improved. I see him as more of a Motocross rider though than a Supercross rider and the fact he’s won the Nationals before, perhaps he won’t be under as much pressure in the outdoors.
Tomac’s biggest competition should come from KTM riders, Marvin Musquin and Cooper Webb. Musquin’s history racing the World Championship helps him when it comes to outdoors. As for Webb, after an amazing Supercross season will he be able to keep the ball rolling coming into MX and do the double? That would be a turn up for the books, not too many would have expected that a year ago.
Add in the likes of Ken Roczen, Zach Osborne, Justin Barcia and Blake Baggett to name a few and it should be super competitive at the front.
450 Championship Predictions:
- Eli Tomac
- Cooper Webb
- Marvin Musquin
The 250cc class should be really exciting this year and certainly heading into the season there’s plenty of unknowns. Let’s start with them and the two biggest unknowns have to be Hunter Lawrence and Thomas Covington.
After picking up an injury, Lawrence hasn’t even be able to contest and full Supercross race but despite being race rusty he’s had plenty of time to prepare for the outdoors which could turn out to benefit him. The Aussie is really good in the mud so if Hangtown turns out to be a mud race he could end up winning!
Covington had a Supercross season to forget – he probably misses Motocross! However, just how much confidence will be knocked out of him after Supercross? Hopefully he can ride like he did at the GP’s because if he does he’s capable of being in the top five.
In terms of the championship chase, I see it being between Dylan Ferrandis and Adam Cianciarulo. The French man got the upper hand in Supercross and will be very determined to do the double.
Chase Sexton and Justin Cooper are very fast and won’t be far away either so don’t be too shocked if they produce the goods. A good start to the season could be vital to show they mean business.
250 Championship Predictions:
- Dylan Ferrandis
- Adam Cianciarulo
- Chase Sexton