AURORA, Ill. (January 21, 2011) – If history is any indication of what can happen in the future, the American Honda squad should be excited about the inaugural Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, at Dodger Stadium tomorrow night. American Honda has won a record 16 times in inaugural races at new venues, followed by Yamaha with 10 and Kawasaki with 8.
San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart, of Haines City, Fla., captured his 38th career Supercross win last weekend in Phoenix, tying him for third on the all-time win list with TwoTwo Motorsports Honda’s Chad Reed, of Tampa, Fla. A win this weekend for Stewart can secure his place in the record book and move him into the Monster Energy Supercross points lead.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto looks to continue his quest to retain his points lead as the team heads to their first trip to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how this track shapes up,” said Villopoto. “We haven’t seen the dirt that they will lay out and it will be interesting to see how close it is to Anaheim. I want to continue to improve my riding and hopefully remain consistent.”
Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey piloted his Yoshimura-equipped Suzuki RM-Z450 to a fifth-place finish in Phoenix. Teammate Brett Metcalfe rode a strong race on his Suzuki as well, scoring an eighth-place finish in the 20-lap main event.
“I’m really looking forward to Dodger Stadium,” said Dungey. “It’s been a while since we’ve had a new stadium on the circuit. From what I hear, the stadium is one of the oldest and in all those years we’re the first dirt event to be held there. That’s pretty cool. They say it’s new dirt being dropped this week so we’ll see what is in store, but I’m sure it will be some form of hard pack. It’s a baseball stadium so the playing field is a little larger so we should have a good layout and some good racing. We need to put the Rockstar Makita Suzuki back up front.”
“I’m looking forward to next week at Dodger Stadium,” said Metcalfe. “I think it’s going to be a real exciting venue. I didn’t get to ride much this past week and I’m going to get some practice time and a little testing in this week. Dodger Stadium is going to be fun. A new stadium for everyone and a new atmosphere and we also have press day on Thursday which gives us a little time on the track which is good for me because I’m kind of a slow starter. I’m looking forward to it.”
Trying to keep the momentum rolling, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Josh Hansen rides into his hometown of Los Angeles with a two-race win streak. With family and friends coming out to watch him race, Hansen has even more reason to go after his third consecutive win.
“I’m really excited for this race because I have a lot of friends and family coming out,” said Hansen. “I love L.A. and I can’t wait to see what the turnout is going to be compared to the Anaheim races.”
In his first two races with the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team, Broc Tickle has managed to grab both main event holeshots and finished as the runner-up in both races. Being the runner-up only makes Tickle hungrier for his first win of the season.
“I feel like I’ve been riding well, but have made a few mistakes that ended up costing me the win,” said Tickle. “I know that if I keep working and lessen my mistakes, the wins will come. I’ve been getting over a pretty bad cold and haven’t ridden much over the past two weeks, but it didn’t seem to affect me too much in Phoenix. Hopefully I’ll be rested up for Los Angeles.”
Coming off a practice crash that injured his wrist before Phoenix, Tyla Rattray made it through his second career supercross race with his first heat race win and a sixth-place finish in the main. He took the week to regroup and will hopefully be back to 100 percent for Dodger Stadium.
“My goal in Phoenix was to get through the race,” said Rattray. “I was so happy when I won the heat race. It has always been a personal goal of mine to race supercross and to know that I can race up front has been big for me since it’s not in my background at all. I am going to get my wrist checked out again before the L.A. race and can hopefully get back on the podium.”
Red Bull/KTM’s Ken Roczen is still shaking out the rookie blues after suffering a DNF last weekend in Phoenix.
“It was a disappointing weekend for me,” said Roczen. “I felt good in the main and felt like I could be inside the top three but while trying to take different lines and move forward, I clipped a tuff block and crashed. I felt a little dizzy afterward so I did not finish the race. I am just taking every race by itself and hopefully next week I will have a better result.”
In just his second race aboard the Red Bull/KTM 350cc machine, Andrew Short finished seventh in Phoenix and rolls into Los Angeles this weekend seventh overall in Supercross class points.
“I had a great start and finish to my heat race which gave me a boost of confidence for the main,” said Short. “Unfortunately, I didn’t get the same start in the main event and I had to fight harder for positions. I was happy to improve upon my Anaheim result but I am still not where I know and my team knows I can be. We know the direction we need to go and we will keep pushing to be stronger each week.”
A night of bad luck hindered Short’s teammate Mike Alessi. Alessi suffered mechanical problems due to a heat-race crash that forced him to contest the last chance qualifier. A typical great starter, Alessi was pushed wide through turn one and ran out of time in his pursuit to earn a qualifying position.
“I was riding really well in my heat,” said Alessi. “I had a good start and was moving forward. I felt like I could have finished top three in my heat but I crashed early in the heat and broke my front brake master cylinder in the crash. With no front brakes, I couldn’t finish the race so I had to go to the LCQ. My night got worse in the LCQ. I got a good jump out of the gate but went to the outside and got pushed out on the first turn and was sitting in last place by the time we rounded the second corner. I just couldn’t move forward quick enough and it ended my night. I am very disappointed with my Phoenix result and hope to make up for it in L.A.”
The Rockstar Energy Suzuki team chalked up a podium and top ten finishes in Phoenix. Ryan Morais had a strong ride on his Yoshimura-equipped Suzuki RM-Z250 in the 15-lap Supercross Lites class main event, finishing third. Teammate Martin Davalos finished ninth.
I’m really looking forward to Dodger Stadium,” said Morais. “A brand new venue for us and it should be pretty exciting. Hopefully this week leading up to L.A. I’ll be able to ride more and just put more time on my Suzuki, and I think I’ll be a lot better next weekend. I feel like I got a lot of weight off my shoulders now just getting that first podium. I should be able to ride a lot more relaxed and more confident.”
“I learned some things in Phoenix,” said Davalos. “Definitely something to take back home and work on this week. I’m definitely looking forward to L.A. and Dodger Stadium. It should be a real exciting race.”
For more information on the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, please log on to www.SupercrossOnline.com.