The lights are off at Angels stadium, the heavens showed mercy and held back their tears, and Anaheim 1 v.2017 has come and gone.
The offseason seemed like it would never end, but here we are! Another year with “The most stacked field ever” meant the opener was bound to be a thriller, at least I hoped so. For the first time, I got to enjoy A1 from right inside the stadium and witness it firsthand in all its glory. The riders were ready, the fans were ready, I was ready, and just like that, it came, went, and we’re on to the next.
Today we’ll take a look at some simple numbers from the night, focusing on the 450 class this time. The heavy hitters came to play as expected, and the digits reflect that as they should. Right off the bat after a round of qualifying, Roczen took top spot by logging in with a 1:02.580. In eighth place was Josh Grant with a 1:03.583, just .003 outside of a second behind Roczen. 8 guys within 1 second in the first qualifying session of the year. For reference, in session 1 of 2013, there were 3, 5 in 2014, 6 in 2015, and 4 in 2016 (shout out to Canard here, topping the first session with a 1:00.999). Musquin would be able to improve the group’s best lap in session 2, topping the board with a 1:02.011, and Roczen slipping back down to 5th, only improving his time by about a tenth between sessions. By the end of qualifying, there were 13 riders who were within a second of Roczen’s original best time in session 1 (disregarding the new best made in session 2).
Some notes from qualifying. Dungey, who qualified 7th, had a best session finish of 5th, and the highest he was able to get in any individual section between either session was 4th. He picked up his qualifying pace last year compared to years prior, so we’ll keep an eye on this trend over the coming races as well to see how he settles. Musquin was only able to climb to 9th in the third section of the track between sessions. The most common lap to set a fast lap on was lap 8 by being the most common in session 1, although in session 2 it was an even split of 4 riders between laps 7, 8, and 9.
On to the night show! In Heat 1, Tomac, Anderson, and, maybe a bit of a surprise, Baggett, were the only riders able to put in best times in the 1:02’s, Tomac leading with a best of 1:02.104, leaving Marvin Musquin to continue holding honors for fastest lap of the day. Dungey and Roczen were both able to drop into the 1:02 range in Heat 2, but neither were able to better Tomac’s Heat 1 lap, nor the time of the day. Roczen did happen to finish his heat about 1 second faster than Tomac finished his, maybe having to do with Tomac’s last lap being a 1:03.7 while all of his laps prior were basically mid 1:02’s.
With all said and done, things starting to fall into place, and with the Main Event about to start, we were about to see if any of this numerical nonsense throughout the day really meant anything. Top 5 around the first corner were Roczen, Musquin, Tomac, Millsaps, and Baggett. Dungey and Seely came around in 8th and 9th, respectively, and Anderson did himself no favors coming by around 14th. Dungey wasted no time and made his way into 5th in only 2 more corners, and 4th behind the original top 3 by the end of lap 1. Roczen ended lap 1 with a full second gap to Musquin, with just under a second between himself and Tomac, followed by the same back to Dunge. Dungey was unable to get into second position until lap 9, at which point he had already lost 10 seconds to Roczen. He lost another 3 seconds when forced to roll a triple due to a downed Mike Alessi, but aside from that, Roczen was able to comfortably extend his lead by an average of almost 1 second per lap, ending the race with a 16 second lead.
On top of making the “statement” he did with a good old McGregor style waxing on everybody, he was also able to clinch fastest lap of the day during the Main by putting in a 1:01.8 on lap 4, and Tomac following suit with a 1:02.1 on the same lap before losing a second the lap to follow and eventually fading. The only times in the 1:02 range during the main event were put in by Kenny and Eli, with Eli putting in 2 and Kenny being able to put down 6 of them, not including his 1:01. The only riders with a fastest lap that were better than Kenny’s average of 1:03.5 were Eli, Dungey, Musquin, and Anderson. Combining Eli’s fastest segments to form a “theoretical best lap” gives him a 1:01.901, so he can hold his head high knowing the speed is there. Ken’s “theoretical best lap” would be a 1:01.743, just over a tenth faster than his actual fast lap.
Also of note is the fact that Kenny did not hold the fastest section time in any section, with Eli holding that crown for sections 1 and 3, and none other than Chad Reed topping the time in section 2. Honorable mention to Cole Seely who put down his fastest lap latest in the race, on lap 14. The next closest to that were Dungey, Musquin, Millsaps, and Josh Grant putting their fastest laps in on lap 11.
Once again, qualifying didn’t mean much for Kenny, saving his best ride for when it mattered most. Musquin’s position stayed pretty consistent throughout the day, both in lap times and position, staying mostly towards the front all day. It’s no surprise that Eli had speed, the proof is there, so the question remains, how he will bounce back this coming week in San Diego? And will Dungey come out swinging a little harder in qualifying like he did last year to hopefully carry some more momentum into the night show? Time will tell, and so will the numbers. Next week we’ll get a little more in depth, cover both classes, and bring out more raw data. RAW. DATA.
Roczen-Red, Dungey-Green: Anaheim 1 Main Event Lap Time Comparison
Roczen-Red, Dungey-Blue, Tomac-Green: Anaheim 1 Main Event Lap Time Comparison