The single digit points Moto result.
It's like a scar in a line item of beautiful numbers. Even 10 points, which is 11th place, looks 10 times better than a 9. There's just so much space there. And when there's lots of space between numbers there's lots of space between riders.
Seven rounds into the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series, the Top 4 riders each have one Moto with single digit points. The fifth through eighth riders have at least two. The difference? Replace that one single digit points total Moto for any of the riders (with all else remaining the same) with the average points from the rest of their solid races and the series takes on a whole different perspective.
Top 10 riders through seven rounds of Motocross (single digit gains highlighted)
Points leader Ryan Dungey finished 12th at Budds Creek after a crash dumped him to the rear of the pack. He worked his way up to get at least a Top 15 and salvaged some points but still walked away with just nine. Remove that bad Moto and replace with a second-place worth 22 points, which is his average when discounting that nine point Moto, he now leads the field by 57 points with five rounds remaining. The talk at this point probably moves towards who stands to the left and right of the soon-to-be Motocross Champion.
Ryan Dungey survived this crash and salvaged some points
Earlier this year, Dungey held a 45 point lead over Trey Canard after Round 11 in Supercross and little did anyone know then that Canard's season would end a week later but no one really gave Canard much chance of making a run in the final six rounds.
Reigning Motocross Champion Ken Roczen is seeing the defense of his title slip away but it shouldn't be that drastic if not for one Moto. He's posted complete races every Round except for the first painful Moto to open the season giving him 2 points. He's done well managing the discomfort from his stress fractured back but that first gate was a different story. Since then he's averaged about 20 points every Moto so add 18 to his total and he's got 277 points for the season a more manageable 26 points behind Dungey rather than the daunting 44.
If Justin Barcia continues his tear for the rest of the year that goose egg to start the season could haunt him if he comes up short to either the Championship or runner-up spot. The Hangtown Moto 1 bad start was the least of his problems as dirt got in his eyes and he eventually cross-rutted and crashed. Give him his average for the season of 18 points and he's a tick away from Roczen and a heck of a lot closer to Dungey than 63 points.
Blake Baggett is a distant fourth despite strong racing and two podiums. High Point was forgetful as he not only got zero points but just 10 for Moto 2. However, his average is 16 so give him that instead of 0 in Moto 1 he's just 12 behind Barcia instead of 28.
Obviously winning or at least getting on the box week in and week out is vital for any title run but so is consistency. Jason Anderson sits in fifth-place thanks to three podiums and two third-place Moto finishes and a second-place. He also has three single point Motos including zero points in Moto 1 at Glen Helen.
At the end of Round 5 he was in third-place, this despite having, at the time, two single digit point Motos. Removing the three bad Motos gives Anderson a 17 point race average which if factored in to his total has him just two behind Barcia. Instead he's 43 points back from the position he held just two rounds ago and is 15 points behind Baggett in fourth.
Just one crash all season can prove to be a big difference in how a rider places
Sixth-place Brock Tickle moves into fifth-place if his two single digit Motos get replaced with his 14 point average and Christophe Pourcel who took second overall at Budds Creek with a (2-3) day moves into a strong fourth-place with 216 points. Instead, his three forgetful Motos have him in seventh 30 points behind where he could be.
Weston Peick is not left wondering what could have been if not for two Motos garnering him a whopping two points. His eighth-place turns into a sixth-place but tied with Anderson in points.
Though Supercross has more individual rounds, Motocross provides more Motos and thus more points. The 12 Round season is made up of 24 races and yet little room exists for error. Right now, Barcia is considered a threat for the Championship in what just a few weeks ago was a two-man race but his moment in the spotlight could easily retract with just one more bad Moto.
Look at it this way, Roczen beat Dungey last year by 14 points for the 2014 Motocross Championship. Roczen didn't have one Moto netting him less than 10 points (neither did Dungey) otherwise we might be looking at Dungey trying to repeat.
So even with 250 points still left on the table this year, Dungey is nearing the point of no return but another crash or bike stall that keeps him out of the Top 10 it's all the fuel Roczen and Barcia need to keep their hopes alive and force a final showdown at Ironman.
Written By: AndrewT