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2018 Daytona Supercross Preview | 9 Fast Facts

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2018 Daytona Supercross Preview | 9 Fast Facts

We are now into the second half of the 2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship Series, and what better way to kick it off then with the 2018 Daytona Supercross?

Long a brutal hybrid of supercross and motocross, riders will be thankful that instead of running a 20-lap Main, it will be the new 20 minutes plus one lap system. Jason Anderson, Marvin Musquin, and Eli Tomac were on the podium last week, and it wouldn’t shock anyone to see those three on the box in Daytona.

1. With a 42-point lead, it is Jason Anderson’s championship to lose. With eight races remaining, Husqvarna FC 450 rider Anderson can clinch the Supercross championship with a run of third place finishes, even if KTM’s Marvin Musquin wins eight in a row. Anderson has been riding fast and loose in the first half of the season, and there’s no reason to expect that to change.

He is coming off a win at the Atlanta Triple Crown, so Anderson is the man with momentum. Anderson was third at Daytona last year after a ninth place start, so Daytona is his kind of track.

2. Marvin Musquin will want to hold his position in case Anderson falters. It will be almost impossible for Musquin to catch Anderson, unless something goes very wrong for the series leader. Given that, Musquin needs to consolidate his second place in the Supercross standings. Four second-place finishes have done just that, even as it only kept even pace with leader Anderson. Musquin’s most likely challenger is Kawasaki KX450F pilot Eli Tomac, who is an accessible 28 points behind Musquin. Musquin had a difficult Daytona last year, with a bad start, a crash, and a 15th place finish. On the upside, Musquin did qualify third at Daytona last year, so he has the speed.

3. It may be quixotic for Eli Tomac, but he’s not quite out of it yet. Should series leader Anderson miss some races or have multiple mechanical problems, Tomac isn’t so far out of second place that he couldn’t find himself improbably in the Supercross series lead. Tomac won Daytona last year, and it was part of his streak of seven wins in nine races. Tomac will need to mount an attack like that again if he wants to be back near the top of the standings, and we all know he is capable of doing just that.

4. Blake Baggett has to decide which Baggett he his going to be. Is Baggett going to be a podium regular as he was in three consecutive rounds (five through seven), or a guy who can’t do better than sixth place—as he has in every other race in 2018? Regardless, Baggett’s consistency, such as it is, puts him in third place in the standings—15 points behind Musquin. The bad news for Baggett is that he has lost 20 points to Musquin over the last four races. Baggett seems safe from fourth place Justin Brayton—but not from Tomac, who lurks just 13 points behind Baggett.

5. Justin Brayton will be looking to finish the season out in the top 5. Brayton is just seven points ahead of Tomac, so it’s a fait accompli that Tomac will pass Brayton sooner rather than later. Tomac shined at Daytona last year, while Brayton took a ninth place.

Of course, Brayton is doing much better in 2018, so he may hang on for two weeks. Instead, Brayton will be focusing on staying in the top 6, and making sure there’s space between his most concerning challengers—Weston Peick (eight points back) and Cooper Webb (19 points behind Brayton). Brayton does best with a good start—nothing unusual about that—so he’ll need one in Daytona to keep his dream season going.

6. Cooper Webb has some momentum, and will be looking to expand on it. Webb has a fourth place finish and two fifth-places in his last three races. Given that he was struggling to make the top 10 early in the season, this is a major step forward. With Anderson, Musquin, and Tomac working for a lock on the podium, it will be a tall order for Webb to podium in Daytona—he was injured last year—but a top 5 is certainly not out of the question.

7. Christian Craig is the great unknown at Daytona. He led laps in two of the three Mains at the Atlanta Triple Crown, so Craig has the speed. He could upset the apple cart and crash the podium in Daytona now that he has some serious 450SX racing under his belt this year. Craig will need a holeshot, or close to it, to be competitive in the Main, and he’s capable of doing just that. With a great start, we will find out if he can hang on for 20 minutes of top-flight racing.

8. Going into the second half, the list of injured Main regulars is distressingly long. Ken Roczen, Justin Barcia, Cole Seely, Josh Grant, Justin Bogle, and Jake Weimer.

9. On the upside, eight riders have scored points at every round. Jason Anderson, Blake Baggett, Justin Brayton, Weston Peick, Cooper Webb, Broc Tickle, Vince Friese, and Chad Reed.
2018 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Standings (after 9 of 17 rounds)

Jason Anderson, 207 points (4 wins)
Marvin Musquin, 165 (1 win)
Blake Baggett, 150
Justin Brayton, 144
Eli Tomac, 137 (4 wins)
Weston Peick, 136
Cooper Webb, 125
Cole Seely, 124
Broc Tickle, 118
Justin Barcia, 113
Ken Roczen, 102
Dean Wilson, 85
Josh Grant, 83
Malcolm Stewart, 82
Vince Friese, 81
Chad Reed, 70
Tyler Bowers, 60
Kyle Cunningham, 49
Ben Lamay, 42
Benny Bloss, 39
Jeremy Martin, 36
Kyle Chisholm, 30
Alex Ray, 22
Cole Martinez, 20
Christian Craig, 18
Justin Hill, 18
Matthew Bisceglia, 15
Adam Enticknap, 12
Justin Bogle, 12
Dakota Tedder, 10
AJ Catanzaro, 7
Cedric Soubeyras, 6
Justin Starling, 5
Jacob Weimer, 5
Henry Miller, 5
Austin Politelli, 4
Brandon Scharer, 3