2019 Supercross Review: Monster Energy Supercross Returns
There’s nothing that will humble someone like making predictions for the Monster Energy Supercross season. Between injuries and erratic riders, there are plenty of opportunities to eat crow. Having said that, I didn’t do too badly in 2019. Check out my predictions, and the real-life results in the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship Series.
Tier 1 Prediction: Jason Anderson, Marvin Musquin, Ken Roczen, Eli Tomac.
Tier 1 Results: Marvin Musquin, Ken Roczen, Eli Tomac, Cooper Webb.
Okay, so this one wasn’t rocket science. Picking the leading contenders and the defending champion isn’t exactly going out on a limb. Anderson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) got injured, and Webb replaced him as the Unlikely Champion.
Prediction: “Although Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki) finished third in last year’s Supercross series, he still won eight of the 17 rounds. With that track record, Tomac is undeniably a favorite for the 2019 title.”
Results: Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki) also was there for all 17 rounds, and he missed the podium seven times. That is not a recipe for success. Even worse for Tomac, he won fewer races than Webb.
Prediction: “Musquin will try to win the championship the same way Anderson is trying to repeat—through consistency. If Musquin can avoid getting hurt, he will be right there every week.” Results: Musquin (Red Bull KTM) started the season injured, going 8-5 in the first two rounds. Musquin was consistent, nailing down a dozen podiums (only Webb did better). Still, with just two wins—back-to-back in Indianapolis and Seattle—Musquin never looked like a champion, even when he was close in the points, and was mathematically eliminated before Las Vegas.
Prediction: “He has damaged both arms, and that’s where the mystery lies. As it was last year, Roczen is wait-and-see, but you cannot count him out.” Results: Roczen (Team Honda HRC) did his best to hang in there, early in the year. Although he never won a Main Event, he was the only rider in the top five at all of the first seven rounds. After that, Roczen fell off the pace, scoring just one podium in the last eight rounds. Roczen had some health issues, and it showed.
Prediction: “Perhaps the move to KTM will change things for him—Webb did have a podium and three top-five finishes last year. He could surprise everyone.” Results: I’ll take a bit of credit here. Webb (Red Bull KTM) definitely surprised everyone. He only missed the podium three times in 2019, and had seven wins—no one bettered him in either category.
Tier 2 Prediction: Blake Baggett, Justin Barcia, Cole Seely.
Tier 2 Results: Blake Baggett, Cole Seely, Dean Wilson.
I did pretty well here with two out of three. Barcia got injured twice, missing five rounds, so that moved him down to P13 in the standing. Baggett and Seely came through, and were joined by Dean Wilson.
Prediction: “Baggett will be looking for upside-consistency in the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross Championship Series.” Results: Consistency continues to elude Baggett (Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM), though he did settle down a bit in the second half of the season. Baggett picked up his first career 450SX Main Event win at round 2 in Glendale, but Baggett also finished outside of the top 10 at three rounds. The beginning of the season was chaotic for Baggett, as he went 12-1-15-3-9-21-4. That made him a fantasy supercross player’s nightmare.
Prediction: “Seely has won a Main before, and he can do it again.” Results: Seely (Team Honda HRC) was highly inconsistent in 2019, and was never in contention for a win. Six times, Seely was outside of the top 10, and he missed a round with injury. Still, he did well enough to slip past an injured Joey Savatgy for P7 in the final standings.
I allowed that Wilson could be a top 10 rider if he got on the right team. When Osborne couldn’t start the season due to injury, and then teammate Anderson was injured, Wilson regained his ride with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing. He turned that opportunity into one podium result, and P6 in the final standings. That is impressive. He missed the last two rounds with injuries, though he wasn’t going to catch Baggett for P5.
Tier 3 Prediction: Benny Bloss, Justin Brayton, Chad Reed, Cooper Webb
Tier 3: Results: Justin Bogle, Justin Brayton, Justin Hill Joey Savatgy
It all goes pear-shaped for me here, getting only one of four. Bloss (Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM) was injured before the season started and didn’t ride a single round, and Reed (JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki) was injured after the 12th round. We all know how Webb did—far exceeded expectations. I even got lucky with Brayton (Smartop/Bullfrog Spas/Honda). He finished the year in P10, even after missing four rounds due to injury. Brayton very easily could have been a Tier 2 rider if he had been healthy for all 17 rounds.
The Rookies: Justin Hill, Zach Osborne, Aaron Plessinger, Joey Savatgy
The Rookies’ Results: Hill (11th), Osborne (14th), Aaron Plessinger (16th), Savatgy (8th)
It was a tough year for the Rookie Class of 2019. All four missed multiple rounds in the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross Championship Series. Let’s take a look at what they managed to accomplish.
Prediction: “It has been a long road to the 450SX class for Osborne, so one gets a sense he will make the best of his promotion. He’s undoubtedly one to watch.” Results: Unfortunately, due to injury, Osborne (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) didn’t ride until Round 7. It took him three rounds to get his sea legs, but he went on a tear after that. From Round 10 at Daytona to the end, he was in the top 8 at every round, and nailed down a podium at the penultimate round in E. Rutherford. It was the only podium by a rookie in 2019.
Prediction: “Hill seems very comfortable on a 450, so he could be a reliable threat for the podium this year.” Results: I certainly got that one wrong. Hill (JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki) was never anywhere near the podium, with P7 at Daytona being his best ride of the year. Hill missed two rounds with injuries, and that landed him in P11 for the year.
Prediction: “A tall and lanky rider, Plessinger seems like a natural on a 450. We’ll see!” Results: Plessinger (Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing) was inconsistent in the ten rounds he raced before injuries ended his season. He could flounder in P11 at Glendale, yet run up to P5 in Atlanta. Next year will be an interesting one for Plessinger.
Prediction: “Savatgy has always seemed to be his own worst enemy. If he can get the mental part of racing straightened out, he could be competitive for a championship. Savatgy is an enigma, and a fast one.” Results: Savatgy (Monster Energy Kawasaki) didn’t do much to change my mind on that. He ended up Rookie of The Year, finishing in P8 in the standings despite missing two rounds, including Las Vegas, which cost him one spot in the standings. Savatgy was in the top 10 at all but three of the rounds he rode, but in those three rounds he was 16-21-22. Five top-five finishes is impressive, though he didn’t score a podium.
Former Factory Racers: Justin Bogle, Tyler Bowers, Josh Grant, Dean Wilson
Former Factory Racers Results: Bogle (9th), Bowers (12th), Grant (25th), Wilson (6th)
Prediction: “All four of these riders have had factory rides in the past, but find themselves cast adrift after tough years with injuries. Any of these riders are potentially reliable top-10 finishers, if they stay healthy and find the right team in 2019.”
It took a long time for Bogle to get going in 2019. In the first dozen rounds, he had only two top 10 finishes, and it looked dire. A 7-9-4 run in rounds 13 through 15 saved his season, and he finished P9 in the standings as a replacement rider at Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM for the injured Bloss.
Riding for the unknown Triggr Racing team, Bowers did pretty well. He was DQed in Glendale after an altercation with Barcia—without that he probably would have taken P10 in the standings. Regardless, P12 is a good result for the former Arenacross champion.
Josh Grant didn’t show up on the racing radar until round 12 in Seattle where he filled in for Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing’s two injured riders. He had a terrible start, missing the Main Event, and then going 20-21 in the next two races. The veteran Grant worked things out, and went 9-8 in Denver and E. Rutherford before missing the final round in Las Vegas. It was a terrible year for Yamaha—the top YZ450F at Las Vegas was Ryan Breece in P14.
I already talked about Wilson, as he finished an impressive P6 in the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross standings after hooking up again with the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team. Wilson won’t displace Anderson or Osborne on the Husky team in 2020, but someone should give him a ride.
Bring on 2020!
2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Final Standings
- Cooper Webb, 379 points (7 wins)
- Eli Tomac, 361 (6 wins)
- Marvin Musquin, 350 (2 wins)
- Ken Roczen, 319
- Blake Baggett, 290 (1 win)
- Dean Wilson, 223
- Cole Seely, 211
- Joey Savatgy, 208
- Justin Bogle, 171
- Justin Brayton, 163
- Justin Hill, 162
- Tyler Bowers, 155
- Justin Barcia, 154 (1 win)
- Zach Osborne, 154
- Chad Reed, 151
- Aaron Plessinger, 123
- Kyle Chisholm, 119
- Ben Lamay, 113
- Alex Ray, 73
- Vince Friese, 65
- Carlen Gardner, 53
- Ryan Breece, 48
- Jason Anderson, 46
- Chris Blose, 42
- Mike Alessi, 37
- Josh Grant, 34
- Cole Martinez, 29
- Austin Politelli, 24
- Justin Starling, 18
- Malcolm Stewart, 17
- Adam Enticknap, 16
- Henry Miller, 14
- Cedric Soubeyras, 12
- Shane McElrath, 11
- Charles Lefrancois, 11
- Ronnie Stewart, 9
- Theodore Pauli, 8
- John Short, 6
- Cheyenne Harmon, 6
- Daniel Herrlein, 5
- Cade Autenrieth, 4
- Angelo Pellegrini, 4
- Tevin Tapia, 3
- Casey Brennan, 3
- AJ Catanzaro, 3
- Scott Champion, 3
- Jared Lesher, 2
- Heath Harrison, 1