Cooksey, Straight To The Point: Halfway, 70% Of The Time They Win Every Time! 5

Is the lead at the halfway point a good predictor of title success?

Cooksey, Straight To The Point: Halfway, 70% Of The Time They Win Every Time!

As we head into the dog days of summer, the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series has passed the halfway mark. With Eli Tomac and Adam Cianciarulo leading their respective series, what are the chances they end up as champions? Looking back over ten years of the series history, the rider leading in points at the halfway mark becomes the champion 70% of the time. What I found interesting was not a single USA-born rider surrendered a lead in the last ten years. Every rider who lost after leading at the halfway point was foreign-born. They are Christophe Pourcel (2009, 20010), Chad Reed (2011), Ken Roczen (2013), and Marvin Musquin (2015, 2018). You might make something of this, but I think it’s simply a coincidence.

Eli Tomac is 26 points up on Marvin Musquin this year, so using the past as a predictor his championship is guaranteed, right? Tomac is the two-time and defending champion born in the USA, but despite what the past ten years tells us this title is not on lock. Tomac has looked normal this year, in six rounds he has only had two overall wins and one of them came with less than stellar 3-2 moto finishes. 

Eli Tomac.

When the season started Ken Roczen looked to be Tomac’s biggest challenger, but Roczen seems to have succumbed to the heat. Roczen has been transparent about dealing with a health issue similar to chronic fatigue, but after his early successes I wondered if he was cured. After his results at Southwick it’s apparent whatever has been bothering him is getting much worse. It might be time for him to step away and give his body time to rest. This leaves Musquin and Tomac to decide another championship. 

Ken Roczen.

Musquin has kept Tomac honest the last two years and Tomac doesn’t seem like the dominant rider he was in '17 and '18. While I still think Tomac is the odds-on favorite to win the 2019 crown, it feels like destiny and momentum are on Musquin’s side. Musquin is soft-spoken off the track but on track I don’t think anyone fights harder or wants it more. What I can guarantee is Musquin will battle to the end, he never quits. If someone forced me to pick the 2019 450 champion right now, I’d choose Musquin.

Marvin Musquin

If I told you a 250 rider won five of six races and got third in the other the championship would appear to be a runaway, but not so fast. Despite having five wins, Adam Cianciarulo only has a 23-point lead over Justin Cooper and 37 points over Dylan Ferrandis. In fact, Eli Tomac has a larger lead in the 450 class with only two wins. Adam Cianciarulo has been spitting fire despite his less than impressive point lead. His epic Supercross championship collapse won’t be forgotten but Cianciarulo is doing his best to bury it underneath a pile of victories and an outdoor championship. Unfortunately, until I see him finish this title without making mistakes I am not completely convinced. 

Adam Cianciarulo.

The Star Yamaha team has been all over the top five this year and Justin Cooper has consistently battled Cianciarulo at almost every race. Unfortunately, they are just a little off of Cianciarulo’s pace. Cooper is having a good season and forcing Cianciarulo to ride his best. Unfortunately I don’t see him straight-up beating Cianciarulo for this title. Ferrandis on the other hand could get the job done, but his starts have been awful! Anytime he gets a top five start he wins the moto, but this as only happened twice for Ferrandis. He has been open about suffering an emotional letdown after accomplishing his lifetime goal of winning a Supercross championship. Even if he finds the intensity he had in Supercross, it might be too little too late. This is Cianciarulo’s title. 

Justin Cooper.

Despite my predictions, one of my favorite things about motocross is the unpredictability, it’s never over until it’s over. If you need proof, just ask Mike LaRocco about 1992 or Christophe Pourcel about 2010. Both lost championships on the final day of the season while entering the day with huge leads. With two motos and 50 points available each day, every race can change the series landscape. Will this season provide us with a historic finish or will Tomac and Cianciarulo run away? We shall see…

Follow me @chriscooksey61 on Instagram and Twitter and @Cookseymedia on Facebook.

Chris Cooksey is life-long motocross enthusiast, racing professionally in arenacross, motocross and supermoto. Chris obtained his degree from Arizona State, majoring in business and communications. After college Chris immersed himself in the business and social media aspects of the industry. Chris enjoys sharing his opinions. Sit back and enjoy the view from his perspective.

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