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2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Preview

After one of the most competitive series in history, the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series returns on Saturday, January 7 in Anaheim, California.  Four former champions will again be expected to battle at the front each week, including two-time champions Chad Reed (Honda) and James Stewart (Yamaha), as well as defending champ Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki) and 2010 champion Ryan Dungey (KTM).  The grizzled old veteran known as Kevin Windham (Honda) is also back and capable of surprising the other front runners on any given weekend, particularly if the track gets technical or slippery.

Villopoto has to be the favorite, as he not only won the 2011 crown, he swept the Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas in October to take a $1,000,000 prize.  He also returns with the same team and bike, the Kawasaki KX450F that he is so familiar with.

Ryan Dungey moves to the KTM squad this year, but is returning to the mentorship of Roger DeCoster, his former team manager at Suzuki.  Dungey isn’t always the fastest guy on the track, but he tends to ride smart and consistent laps that find him on the podium nearly every weekend.

James Stewart will ride a Yamaha again this year, but he changes teams to the Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX team.  Stewart is unquestionably one of the fastest riders in supercross history, but he has not won the title since 2009.  He has been plagued by crashes, injuries and general inconsistency.  He claims he is focused this year and intent on winning.

Chad Reed, in addition to his two championships, has more podium finishes than any supercross rider in history.  He finished second last year in the championship to Villopoto during the debut season of his privately owned team Two-Two MotorSports.  He will again campaign a Honda, although his stellar results last year mean he will have much more Honda factory support from the start of this series.

Young Trey Canard returns with the Honda factory team after scoring three wins in his rookie season last year.  Canard seems to have natural speed on a 450, but he is coming back from a broken femur, and may need time to get up to the pace.

If last year is any indication, predicting the outcome of the 2012 series is a crap shoot.  Can Stewart find the speed and consistency he showed a few years ago?  Is Villopoto now the class of the field? Can DeCoster re-ignite Dungey’s winning ways? With more factory support this year, can Reed take the championship back? Will Canard be even faster in his sophomore season? Weigh in with your thoughts below.

14 Comments

  1. Dale says:

    I can’t speak as to why others “dislike” him but can share my view. Wasted talent and being a “punk” offtrack just about cover it for me.

    As far as talent/speed goes I’ve never seen anyone faster on a Supercross track. The G.O.A.T. Ricky Carmicheal had to pick up speed just to run with him when James first came up to the 250′s. I don’t think that Ricky was ever faster than James but Ricky could usually run on the ragged edge the whole race… James, when pushing that hard, would make mistakes often apparently due to poor conditioning (relative to Ricky but in fairness it seemed the whole field of outstanding athletes paled in comparison to Ricky’s fitness). When Ricky retired James should have had his way for years but he seems to be his own worse enemy when trying to win Championships. If you haven’t noticed the fact that I’m such a huge GOAT fan may have some influence on my perception of James Stewart the Racer.

    As to his offtrack demeanor, I’ve never met him. I do know People that have worked with/around him and their stories don’t paint a good picture, either Personally or Professionally. I would have knocked him into next week if I had seen what I’ve “heard” about. Again, never met the Guy but he seems quite the punk from what I’ve heard (from reliable sources).

    PS Can you believe that some are using the term G.O.A.T. to describe other than RC? Maybe when I watch Rossi lap the field in difficult conditions like RC has I’d consider it…

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  2. Gutterslob says:

    Hmm….

    I don’t live in the US so I don’t get quite as much coverage on AMA Supercross as you guys. Can someone enlighten me on why there’s so much dislike for Stewart? The few times I’ve watched Supercross, he seemed to be quite the racer.

    From my angle, it sorta seems like he’s in a similar spot F1′s Lewis Hamilton is in. Very talented, a lot of raw speed and a hard racer, but a bit of a showman and a mighty twat in the PR department. Another similarity is both were “molded” by a manufacturer/factory from a young age, always getting the best equipment and sponsorship. True?

    • Halfbaked says:

      It is mostly bloggers that don’t like James he has tremendous support with the majority of fans. Not really any analogy with Lewis. James is a great representative for his sponsors intelligent and well spoken. He is labelled a punk because some people believe he crashes intentionally or because he is irresponsible (or both). I’m sure the negativity directed towards James has nothing to do with his ethnicity though.

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  3. Philip says:

    I think it’s awesome to have a series where 5 guys could win on any given night and another 5 have an outside shot of a win or a podium. All I can say is that my time invested in watching Supercross over the past ten years has always been paid back in spades by the racing. I am a street rider with only a little time in the dirt but I love motorcycles and motorcycle racing and the two AMA Supercross and Motocross series are the best thing going right now. I would highly recommend it to any two-wheeler!
    Good luck to all the riders, and I hope they all stay healthy.

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  4. OLDMX4 says:

    Stewart will crash before the season starts while training and then He will start His Nascar career. His MX days are over.

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  5. craig says:

    Fantastic season ahead. Ryan Dungey will ride conservative and smart as usual, Chad will be consistently fast as usual, RyanV will be the man to beat, and James Stewart will win the championship for a third time. Trey will be in recovery mode and I wish him to have a strong comeback season. Small brained people should choose another sport to spread fear and insecurity. I suggest men’s figure-skating for you Irv and your pea-brained friends. Let’s go racing!

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    • Dale says:

      “Small brained people should choose another sport to spread fear and insecurity. I suggest men’s figure-skating for you Irv and your pea-brained friends.”

      ???

      Or maybe Motorcycle Road Racing? Not Sure where you’re going with that but I can guess. To make your statement, based on Irv’s statement is a Real reach. In fact, some might think of it as revealing your mental abilities or shortcomings…

      I would add to Irv’s statement: “lackluster” between “his” and “nascar”. “Bubba’s” had his fifteen minutes of fame, good riddance.

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    • Irv says:

      Rest assured, your place on the Men’s synchronized swimming team is safe. JS was a no show at the monster triple race. No outdoor racing. Riding around his private sx track is one thing, performing in a pack of racers is another. The lack of wheel to wheel track time is not going to improve his lack of consistancy. I think Yamaha should have spent their millions on a next generation two stroke rather than buy a no. 1 plate from this eratic case.

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    • NJ Steve says:

      looks like the “truth” hurts” Craig & the absolute truth is that JS crashes (a lot) & also doesn’t have a lot of passion for riding or winning anymore….. I looked that up in Webster’s & it says “H-A-S B-E-E-N!

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  6. Jason says:

    Would really love to see Reed upset the apple cart & show that a privateer can be champion (although privateers don’t get factory “assisstance” like Reed will likely get this year). While I’m ranting, Windham makes all of us old guys cheer – hopefully by winning a few events this year. Carnard isn’t done cooking yet (but will have a great future), Dungey needs to be a sponge when he’s around DeCoster (but it’s not likely he can magically learn this quickly to ride like Roger did), and Villopoto seemed to have the championship kinda fall into place because he started strong (& the help from Stewart: trying to take out Reed, whoever he feared most at that moment, and himself).
    As TheWeez said, anyone but Stewart…

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  7. TheWeez says:

    Anyone but Stewart!

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  8. Irv H says:

    JS crashes out after a few races and starts his nascar career.

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