2010 Supercross Championship, Top 10 Predictions!

2010 Supercross Predictions

This marks my 40th year of watching motocross in America, and even though I can’t claim to have a crystal ball, my willingness to observe and pontificate is second to none! With that in mind, let’s take a look at the 2010 Monster Energy Supercross Championship Series.

Here are my predications for the top ten (10) 2010 Supercross Championship finishers:

1. It’s pretty difficult to predict anyone other than James Stewart (#7) will walk away with the championship in 2010. The defending Supercross champion is rested after taking the motocross season off, and he won the prestigious Arenacross-like 2009 Rockstar Energy Drink U.S. Open in Las Vegas in October. If Stewart stays healthy, #7 is unbeatable over the course of the season. He’s not likely to have a perfect run, as that is not his style, but he will be on top with his San Manuel Yamaha YZ450F when it’s over.

2. Just as Stewart has a lock on the top spot, Chad Reed (#22) has established himself as a reliable runner-up. That won’t sit well with Reed, but he knows when to sit back and wait for Stewart to make an error. Head-to-head, in most instances, Reed suffers in comparison to Stewart. The switch to the Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450F shouldn’t have much of an effect one way or the other. As we’ve seen since McGrath switched brands, the rider is what wins the championship.

3. Injuries plagued Ryan Villopoto (#2) last year, but if he rebounds from previous injuries, he should be able to take the final spot on the podium at the end of the series. Returning on the Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450F, Villopoto will likely win a race or two when things fall his way, but he has yet to prove he can consistently run with Stewart and teammate Reed. This could be the year that Villopoto shows he’s a future champion, or a perennial also-ran.

4. Tutored by the King of Supercross, Jeremy McGrath, Honda Red Bull Racing’s Andrew Short (#29) hasn’t shown the ability to run up front. Did something happen over the fall to magically make him as fast as Stewart? That’s doubtful, so he’ll rely on his conditioning and consistency to put him into the top 5 on his CRF450R.

5. Moving up after two Lites championships in 2009 is Ryan Dungey (#5), now on a Rockstar/Makita Suzuki RM-Z450. While successful in his Lites career, his riding didn’t show him to be someone who will move to the podium in the premier class instantly. It may take a year or two to find out what Dungey is made of on a 450. In the meantime, he has the talent to finish the year in the top 5 and find his way onto the podium a few times.

6. When you get into the second five of the top ten, the question marks begin. Riding for the JGRMX/Muscle Mike/Toyota team on a Yamaha YZ450F is Josh Grant (#33). Here’s a guy who finished fourth in the 2009 standings, yet he’s on a satellite team in ’10, albeit a respected one. If his career is on an upswing, he’ll be in the top five. If he finishes here or worse, the people who didn’t sign him will sigh in relief.

7. Can Josh Hill (#75) earn his keep on the San Manuel Yamaha team, or will he be content to circulate in the bottom half of the top ten on the new YZ450F? Great question, but my guess is that he’s not going to be able to reliably place in the top five.

8. Two years ago Davi Millsaps (#18) looked to be one of the next major players in Supercross. He won a couple of rounds and was looking like a possible future champion. However, he fell flat in ’09, finishing in 8th place for the year and was lackluster from start to finish. He could be a dark horse pick for the top five on his factory Honda Red Bull Racing CRF450R, but don’t bet the farm.

9. He never made it to the top, and in 2010 we’ll probably watch his career take a major fade. Kevin Windham (#14) was just a single point away from 4th for the 2009 SX series, but expect younger (he’ll turn 32 in February), hungrier riders to eat him up. Riding for GEICO Powersports Honda on a CRF450R, he’ll remain in the top ten with the consistency that has kept him competitive over the years.

10. He won two Lites championships in 2005, but Ivan Tedesco (#9) has had only sporadic success since. Riding for Valli Motorports on a Yamaha YZ450F this year, the former factory rider will have his work cut out for him to move into the upper echelon.

So, there you go. Feel free to post your predictions below before (and after) the first round. Tear mine apart, and let’s watch how the 2010 Monster Energy Supercross Championship unfolds.