AURORA, Ill. (February 3, 2012) – The 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, season is off to an historic start as each of the four past world champions have took the checkered flag through the first four races. Tomorrow night, the “Big Four” of Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Honda’s Chad Reed, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto, and Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s James Stewart will once again invade Angel Stadium, in Anaheim, Calif., for another memorable night of action.
Saturday night’s race is a significant one in terms of championship importance. With the aforementioned riders entering the evening as the favorites to win the race and the title, whoever can find a way to gain the upper hand inside Angel Stadium could very well generate enough momentum to carry through to the championship. From 1974 to 2011, the 38 seasons of Monster Energy Supercross, the first rider to win twice has gone on to win the title 23 times.
Dungey enters Saturday night’s race as the co-holder of the coveted red number plate that signifies the current championship leader. He, and Reed, sit atop the standings and following his first finish off the podium this season, Dungey will be looking to get back on the box.
This Saturday marks the 57th time the gate will drop for a Supercross Class race in Anaheim
Photo Credit: Hoppenworld.com
“My goal was to be on the podium last weekend and I fell just short of that by finishing fourth in Oakland,” said Dungey. “I got a bad start and was somewhere around 17th place on the opening lap so I had to work hard to get back to fourth by the races end. I definitely need to make sure I get a better start this weekend at Anaheim 2. I can’t afford to be giving Villopoto, Reed and Stewart head starts like last weekend because we’re all fairly similar when it comes to race pace so I need to put myself in a better position to battle for the win verse battling my way through the pack.
“It’s nice to be ahead in the points early in the season and my goal is to keep putting KTM and the new 450 on the podium going forward.”
Chad Reed will be racing for his seventh win in Anaheim this Saturday at Angel Stadium
Photo Credit: Hoppenworld.com
Reed backed up his win inside Dodger Stadium with a strong runner-up effort in Oakland, fending off a hard-charging Villopoto for a significant portion of the race.
“The starts are so important,” said Reed. “Hopefully we can keep building on these last couple weeks, keep getting the starts and accumulating those points.”
Villopoto’s night in Oakland was a solid one, despite missing out on the win. He secured his third podium effort of the season behind Stewart and Reed, and now sits just two points out of the championship lead as the schedule returns to the site of his season-opening victory one month ago.
“It was tough at Oakland,” said Villopoto. “The track was pretty rutted and got worse with every lap. The dirt was really soft underneath and it caused the ruts to mushroom out. I was on the outside of the track most of the race looking for a place to pass. I kept reeling them in, moving out of the main line to pass, then having to fall back in line behind them around tight sections of track. If I had got a better start that would have fixed the problem so I put in a lot of time this week working on starts.”
Last weekend in Oakland, James Stewart earned his 43rd Supercross Class win; it was his first win of the 2012 Monster Energy Supercross season
Photo Credit: Hoppenworld.com
Stewart’s long-awaited maiden victory with JGR was an impressive one. The two-time champion capitalized on his best start of the season to put himself in position to slip by Reed for the lead, and once out front, Stewart was flawless through to the finish, gaining very valuable points in the championship.
“Coming off a win, it’s always a good feeling you know; it’s like you go into the new week a little more eager for what comes next,” said Stewart. “In Oakland, things were working good for us and we showed everybody that we are here to win. Yeah the start to season was tough, but we never lost sight of that. And we won’t. But, the Oakland race is in the past now and we’ve got to keep working to stay headed towards our best. It’s pretty exciting actually.”
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer continues to enjoy a strong start to his first full season of Supercross Class competition. In Oakland, he got a mid-pack start and was forced to fight his way through the pack on the deteriorating track. He finished the night in eighth and currently sits fifth in the championship points.
“Last weekend was a bit of a struggle,” said Weimer. “The track layout was good, but the dirt was really rough and inconsistent. It got pretty rutted by the main event so I was having a difficult time connecting the track. You know it just wasn’t the best race for me, but I was happy to leave the event healthy and am ready to get to Anaheim.”
GEICO Honda’s Kevin Windham showed impressive speed in Oakland with a fourth-place overall qualifying time in practice. He also put together a solid main by finishing in sixth place
“The night was good, it was a nice rebound for me after Dodger Stadium,” said Windham. “I spent most of the week focusing on trying to come out and get my job done after last weekend. I saw the whole thing with Trey and it was really difficult for me. It felt like I had a good heat and great times during the day and I am pleased with my finish but I am really looking to get GEICO Honda on the podium.”
Supercross.com/Honda Racing’s Andrew Short had a solid outing in Oakland as well, capitalizing on a strong start in the main event to finish fifth, while American Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Brayton redeemed himself from a DNQ in Los Angeles to fight his way to a night-place result.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe captured a fifth-place finish in his heat race and was in the top 10 in the main when he had a minor get-off. He remounted to finish 14th.
“Looking back on Oakland, I had a bit of a bummer of a night, but still some positives to take, you know our setup now is really good,” said Metcalfe. “The Yoshimura Suzuki is working great out there; I’ve got a good bike underneath me and practice times went really good, and that was a good indicator that hopefully we’re going to have a good night. I actually got a really great start and the Suzuki launched out of the gate and I was up there early on and I got passed in the first couple of laps and went back and tried to make a pass and move up a spot, went out wide, washed the front end out and went down on lap three and that put me back you know, right at the back of the field, everyone went by. After that, the race was pretty tough, then we had a little issue with the front end, which I was feeling a little uncomfortable with, so I chose not to push it too hard and risk going down again. We finished 14th, which was a real big disappointment but you know we have to look forward to Anaheim 2 and rebound and come out strong.”
Since his move to the Supercross Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Broc Tickle has been working hard to get comfortable on the bigger bike. In the heat race at Oakland, Tickle got a good start and pieced together a solid race to finish sixth. When the gate dropped for the main, Tickle got pinched off around the first turn and found himself near the back of the pack, but worked through the field to finish 13th.
“I really felt like I was struggling last weekend,” said Tickle. “I crashed early in practice and just couldn’t get comfortable on the track. The heat race went good and I felt good about the start, but in the main I got a bad start and just had a tough time. I’ve been working hard to improve and hopefully I can come back at Anaheim 2 and prove myself.”
Western Regional Supercross Lites Class leader Eli Tomac holds a 15-point advantage over the field heading into Anaheim’s Angel Stadium this Saturday.
Photo Credit: Hoppenworld.com
In the Western Regional Supercross Lites Class, GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac became the first rider in either class to take a second win following a dominant outing in Oakland. He brings the red number plate as the championship leader into Anaheim with a 15 points advantage over the field
“After the front two guys made some pretty big mistakes, I wanted to make sure I stayed consistent once out front,” said Tomac. “I didn’t do anything crazy and was able to ride a solid race. I’m excited, the red backgrounds look good on a Honda.”
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson came into Oakland second in the championship points, only one point behind the leader. After taking the win in his heat race, Wilson was aiming to take over the points lead and coveted red plate. In the main event, he got a great start on his Kawasaki and quickly moved in behind the leader. He began looking for a place to pass, but on the second lap, he crashed, leaving him at the back of the pack. Wilson battled through the field to finish 10th, and salvaged enough points to hang onto the number two spot in the points standings.
“I was pretty disappointed last weekend,” said Wilson. “I got a good start in the main and I thought I had the holeshot, but someone slipped past me on the inside. Early in the race I made a push to get around the leader, but made a mistake and went down. It just sucks because I lost points when I should have taken over the lead. I’ve been working hard this week and I’m going to get after it in Anaheim.”
Fellow Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Tyla Rattray came to Oakland sitting third in the points, only three points behind the leader. During practice, Rattray attempted to dial in the track, but couldn’t get into a rhythm and qualified in 10th position. In the heat race, Rattray crashed while trying to come through the pack and was injured, knocking him out of the competition for the night.
“I’m really bummed out about my injury,” said Rattray. “But I’m very thankful that it didn’t end up worse. I just want to thank everyone for their tremendous support. Hopefully I’ll be back soon.”
Marvin Musquin rebounded from a misfortune-stricken previous round for Red Bull KTM, landing on the podium for the second time this season and tying a career-best finish in second.
“I was happy to be on the podium again last weekend,” said Musquin. “I am having a lot of fun racing Supercross and I think I am doing a good job for KTM especially as this is my first time racing in the US Supercross Lites series. I’m looking forward to racing at Angel Stadium again this weekend as we already raced there this year and it will be good to go to a stadium that I am already familiar with. That’s one of the toughest parts about racing for the first time in a new series; getting to know the tracks.”
For Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki, Martin Davalos came tearing out of the gate in Oakland to capture the holeshot and lead the first few laps of the Supercross Lites Class Main Event. Davalos gave it his all and battled for a podium spot for most of the race before a few minor mistakes saw him finish ninth.
“I got great starts this weekend,” said Davalos. “But I made a couple of mistakes and almost went down when I was leading, and I got passed. I know I have what it takes to be up front; I just can’t seem to put it together in a main event. So I’m going to work on a couple of things and try to make everything fall into place for Anaheim 2 this weekend.”
His Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki teammate Jason Anderson was also one to watch in the Supercross Lites Class Main Event in Oakland. After winning the LCQ, Anderson got a decent start in the main and then charged through the field to second place before a run-in with another rider set him back. Undaunted by this, Anderson kept his head down and finished the race in 12th position.
“Overall, this weekend was good,” said Anderson. “I kept building my pace and building my pace. In the main, I started out around eighth and I got up to second, but then I got tangled up with another rider. But all in all, it was a good night and I’m just pumped to keep pushing through to Anaheim 2.”
Star Valli Yamaha’s Ryan Sipes celebrated his best result of the year in Oakland, carding an impressive fourth-place finish in the Supercross Lites Class Main Event.
“We’re getting better each weekend,” said Sipes, who finished sixth in his heat race. “I had about nine solid laps in the main, three at the beginning and six at the end. But I think we were one of the fastest guys on the track toward the end. I’m ready to go 15 solid laps and put it up there for Anaheim 2.”
Teammate Nico Izzi was right there with Sipes as well in Oakland. Izzi also captured a sixth-place result in his heat race, and then followed Sipes home to a seventh-place effort in the main.
“The Oakland race was a good one for us,” said Izzi. “We had a good main event, a good heat race and came out healthy in the end, and that’s all that matters. I’m looking forward to Anaheim 2 – all the Anaheim races are great and next weekend should be fun.”
Tune into the enhanced exclusive weekly video content from Supercross LIVE! during the entire 2012 season on SupercrossOnline.com, the Official Website of Monster Energy Supercross.
Weekly Supercross LIVE! Video Content Schedule
The Official Supercross LIVE! Pre-Show Race Days at 11 AM Local Race Time
Behind the Scenes with Supercross LIVE! All Day on Race Days
2 Minutes on the Track Race Days at 3:30 & 5:30 PM Local Race Time
And on the Podium Tonight Following Each Round’s Main Events
The Official Supercross LIVE! Post-Show Saturday Nights at Each Round
Toyota Tailgate Talk Wednesdays at 5 PM ET
After The Checkered Flag Thursdays at 5PM ET