2018 Monster Energy Supercross Preview | Handicapping The Season

2018 Supercross Preview: Honda's Ken Roczen
Honda's Ken Roczen

2018 Supercross Preview | Fantasy Supercross Guide

We start the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross season with just one former champion in the ranks—Chad Reed. Realistically, Reed has only an outside chance to podium a race—he did it just once last year.

Reed has no plausible shot at the title. So, that leaves it to the big three—Marvin Musquin, Ken Roczen, and Eli Tomac—to fight it out for the 2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship.

2018 Supercross Preview: Kawasaki's Eli Tomac
Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac

I have divided the riders on the seven top Supercross teams—six factory teams, plus one independent—into four tiers (riders are listed in each tier in alphabetical order). This is based on past performance and future expectations, giving you a good shot at making the best picks when starting your fantasy Supercross season.

TIER 1: Musquin. Roczen. Tomac. 

It is almost impossible to pick a favorite among these three riders. Strong cases can be made for any of the three to take the title. If you are not one of this trio of Supercross superstars, it is going to be a challenge to get onto the podium.

Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin may have lost the 2017 Supercross championship when he was injured mid-season. However, he finished off the Supercross season strongly and made a great showing in the motocross Nationals. After that, he swept the Monster Energy Cup and took home $1 million, and then won the Red Bull Straight Rhythm and the Geneva SX. Without a doubt, Musquin has momentum in his favor on his KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition.

2018 Supercross Preview: Honda's Ken Roczen
Honda’s Ken Roczen

Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen is the great unknown. He won the first two rounds of the 2017 Supercross season before suffering a horrific year-ending injury at A2. Everyone will be waiting to see how Roczen returns after nearly a year away from racing, and nearly a dozen operations on his left arm. Will Roczen return to his previous form at A1, or will it be a long process for him to get back up to race pace on his CRF450R? Will Roczen be able to hang it out as he has in the past, or will he tread a bit more likely? The answers, no matter what they are, will provide drama in the 2018 Supercross Series.

After falling just five points short of winning the 2017 Supercross title, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac is poised to take the crown this year. Tomac won seven of the final 11 Supercross rounds in 2017, and finished in second place three times in that run. He followed up with a 450MX National Championship and won an MXGP moto at Glen Helen. On the downside, he went down hard at the Monster Energy Cup and didn’t finish a race. Regardless, Tomac and his KX450F will be ready to go at A1.

2018 Supercross Preview: KTM's Marvin Musquin
KTM’s Marvin Musquin

TIER 2: Anderson. Baggett. Seely.

It looked like 2017 might be a breakthrough year for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson, but it just didn’t happen. After a pair of forth places to start the year, he got sat down by the FIM at A2 due to some bad behavior between races. In the next 10 races, Anderson only made the podium twice.

At the end of the season he got it together and scored three third-place finishes in a row before taking a win at the finale in Las Vegas. Anderson looked good in the first half of the Nationals, but an injury ended his run. He was a runner up to Musquin at the Monster Energy Cup and the Geneva SX. Anderson could make it happen in 2018, but that will require him to beat three proven winners on his FC 450 Rockstar Edition motorcycle.

2018 Supercross Preview: Husqvarna's Jason Anderson
Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson

Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM’s Blake Baggett had a promising 2017 that was also filled with struggles. Baggett looked good in the second half of the Supercross season, but only managed a single podium in 2017. Were it not for a thumb injury, he might have won the 450MX National series. He has had surgery on the thumb, so we will have to wait and see if he can return to form on the KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition, though his level is more Top 7 than podium-bound on Supercross tracks.

If you’re looking for a reliable Top 6 finisher, Team Honda HRC’s Cole Seely is your man. He didn’t finish outside of the Top 6 on his CRF450R in the first 11 rounds in the 2017 Supercross season. During that same stretch, Seely only had two podiums. Injuries meant he only scored a single point in the final four rounds, dropping him back to seventh-place in the year-end standings.

Seely also proved to be a consistent Top 6 guy outdoors, though he managed just two moto podiums. There is no reason to think that he won’t continue to settle into the Top 6 in the Main Events in the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross series, yet not challenge for wins.

TIER 3: Grant. Tickle. Webb. Wilson.

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Josh Grant is an enigma. When he’s on, he can land his KX450F on the podium, but when he’s not, he drops out of the Top 10, as he did at five times in the 2017 Supercross season. Rather than being a streaky rider, he goes up and down. So, if he has a bad round, look for a good one from him next—and vice versa.

Broc Tickle is new to the Red Bull KTM team this year. Whether or not the change will be good for him remains to be seen. He scored one podium in the 2017 Supercross series, but also finished outside of the Top 10 at eight of the 15 races (injuries kept him out of the final two rounds). Tickle can be both streaky and unpredictable. Putting him into the Top 6 at any round is risky, at least until he proves himself on the KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition.

2018 Supercross Preview: Kawasaki's Josh Grant
Kawasaki’s Josh Grant

Everyone expected big things from Factory Yamaha Racing’s Cooper Webb last year, and he did not deliver. Injuries kept him out of the middle of the season, though the rest of the season wasn’t great. A podium in Oakland and a fourth-place in Phoenix were high points for Webb’s season. The low points were seven rounds where he didn’t crack the Top 9. If Webb gets it together this year on his YZ450F, he may end up as a Tier 2 rider. As it stands, Tier 3 is a safer bet.

Rescued from privateer status last year by Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing when the recently retired Christophe Pourcel went to Canada to finish his racing career, Dean Wilson was a solid finisher 10th through 13th place finisher—that’s where he landed in 13 of 17 Supercross rounds last year. It’s wishful thinking to believe he will be a consistent Top 6 rider in the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Championship Series on the FC 450 Rockstar Edition, as he had just two showings that high last year.

TIER 4: Barcia. Bloss. Bogle. Peick.

The 450SX career of Justin Barcia never happened. Many of us expected at least one Monster Energy Supercross Championship from the phenom, yet he has never come close. Barcia started last year injured and never finished better than ninth place all year. Barcia is filling in for an injured Davy Millsaps on the Factory Yamaha Racing YZ450F for at least six rounds, but don’t expect much.

The only rookie in this 14-rider field, Bloss takes to the track on a Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM 450 SX-F Factory edition. He had two eighth-place moto finishes in the 450MX National Series, and went 7-8-7 at the Monster Energy Cup. Bloss is an unknown 450SX quantity, is coming off an off-season injury, and he doesn’t come in with a Championship pedigree, so don’t look for many Top 10 finishes this year.

2018 Supercross Preview: Yamaha's Justin Barcia
Yamaha’s Justin Barcia

Last year was up-and-down for Justin Bogle, as he fought injuries the entire season. Keep your expectations reasonable—like Barcia, Bogle never poked his head above ninth place. Bogle moves from an RCH Suzuki to a Suzuki Factory Racing RM-Z450, so that should be an easy transition. We’ll have a much better idea of Bogle’s long-term 450SX prospects midway through the season.

Weston Peick started 2017 strong after a dismal 2016, going 8-7-5 in the first three Monster Energy Supercross rounds. Injury ended his season, though he came back to finish eighth overall in the 450MX National Series. As with all four of these Tier 4 riders, Peick could do better than expected on his Suzuki Factory Racing RM-Z450.

2017 Monster Energy Supercross Final Standings

  1. Ryan Dungey, 359 points (3 wins)
  2. Eli Tomac, 354 (9 wins)
  3. Marvin Musquin, 293 (2 wins)
  4. Jason Anderson, 273 (1 win)
  5. Davi Millsaps, 221
  6. Blake Baggett, 220
  7. Cole Seely, 212
  8. Dean Wilson, 185
  9. Chad Reed, 182
  • Josh Grant, 175
  • Broc Tickle, 167
  • Justin Brayton, 147
  • Cooper Webb, 129
  • Jake Weimer, 113
  • Malcolm Stewart, 103
  • Vince Friese, 84
  • Justin Barcia, 83
  • Justin Bogle, 83
  • Mike Alessi, 59
  • Ken Roczen, 51 (2 wins)
  • Trey Canard, 51
  • Weston Peick, 39
  • Nick Schmidt, 29
  • Jeremy Martin, 22
  • Christian Craig, 20
  • Alex Ray, 17
  • Cade Clason, 15
  • Jimmy Albertson, 11
  • Tommy Hahn, 11
  • Kyle Chisholm, 11
  • Christophe Pourcel, 10
  • Adam Enticknap, 10
  • Dakota Tedder, 7
  • J. Catanzaro, 6
  • Austin Politelli, 4
  • Ronnie Stewart, 4
  • Theodore Pauli, 3
  • Angelo Pellegrini, 3
  • Cody Gilmore, 3
  • Scott Champion, 3
  • Fredrik Noren, 2
  • Michael Akaydin, 1
  • Bryce Stewart, 1
  • Kyle White, 1