AURORA, Ill. (April 20, 2012) – The 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, season returns to the Pacific Time Zone this weekend, with Seattle’s CenturyLink Field set to host the 15th race on the schedule tomorrow night.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’ Ryan Villopoto, the 2012 Supercross Class Champion, makes a triumphant homecoming to his native city, celebrating his back-to-back titles in front of the hometown crowd, in addition to looking for his 10th win of the season and fifth in-a-row. Villopoto’s first career win in the premier class came at Seattle in 2009 and since then, he’s gone on to win half of the races he’s entered.
“I’m looking forward to Seattle this weekend,” said Villopoto. “It should be good regardless, but I’m hoping the weather holds out for us. I’d love to get a win there in front of my home crowd and keep adding to an already great season.”
Villopoto’s Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate Jake Weimer experienced his toughest outing of the season in New Orleans last weekend, experiencing misfortune en route to a 20th-place finish. Weimer has been a consistent threat for the podium since the opening race in January, and would like nothing more than to join his teammate on the box and potentially break through for a win tomorrow night.
“It was a frustrating way to end the night last week,” said Weimer. “I felt really good all day, but a small mistake cost me the main event. I continued to put in the work this week and look forward to having another good weekend in Seattle from start to finish.”
The impressive rise of Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s Davi Millsaps over the second half of the Monster Energy Supercross season has become one of the most prominent storylines over the past few weeks. Millsaps’ evening in New Orleans wasn’t ideal, but he was able to put forth a strong come-from-behind effort after an incident in the first corner. As a result of his resiliency, Millsaps has moved into second in the championship behind Villopoto and is looking to solidify his best career finish in the championship.
Keeping Millsaps honest in the battle for second is Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Brayton. Like Millsaps, Brayton has been one of the bright spots of the second half of the season and sits third in the Supercross Class standings, just five points out of second. He’ll continue to carry the flag for Honda tomorrow night, looking to back up his third podium finish of the season from a week ago.
It’s been five races since Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey has been on a Monster Energy Supercross track, but tomorrow night, the 2010 Supercross Class Champion will make his anticipated return to action. Dungey has recovered quickly from a broken collarbone suffered prior to the St. Louis race in February and is going to take advantage of his speedy healing process. Since stepping away from competition, Dungey maintained control of second in the championship standings until last weekend in New Orleans. Sitting a mere 14 points out of the spot with three races remaining, Dungey still sits within striking distance of reclaiming the position he’s occupied nearly the entire championship.
“I’ve eased my way back by riding outdoors,” says Dungey. “My recovery has gone really well and I still have my fitness as I’ve kept up on cardio and strength training since the surgery. I’m only 14 points off second place in the championship and 9 points from third, so I will be giving it everything I have at the remaining rounds in hopes of finishing top three in the series.”
Just one week after wrapping up the penultimate race of the Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Championship, Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen will line up alongside Dungey in the premier class. Roczen, who has one win this season in the Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class, will pilot the KTM 350SX-F in his official debut this season aboard the big bike.
“I’m really excited about riding the 350 this weekend!” said Roczen. “I got to ride it in the Supercross Class at two races last year and both times I finished in the top 10. The team really wants me to have fun this weekend, so that’s what I’m going to do.”
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe was back in top form in New Orleans, posting a strong ride to fourth place, just one spot off the podium. The 2012 Monster Energy Supercross season has brought some ups and downs for Metcalfe, but he’s knocking on the door for his first podium of the season and will look to break through tomorrow night.
“It was nice to have a weekend off and come back with a fresh start in New Orleans,” said Metcalfe. “I wanted to come and try to do some good there, and I felt like we did. The Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 was great. I’m looking forward to Seattle. We’ve been working hard this week to come out and keep this momentum going.”
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Broc Tickle has been gaining momentum each week and is looking to break into the top-five in Seattle. Tickle ran near the front in both his heat race and main event in New Orleans, but a run-in with another rider early in the main dropped him to the back of the field. He was able to fight his way back up to 10th by the checkered flag and moved into 10th in the points standings. Seattle is the sight of Tickle’s first career win in Supercross, so he hopes it will continue to bring good luck.
“I’m looking to make it another good weekend in Seattle,” said Tickle. “I got my very first Lites (Class) win in Seattle, so I’m excited to go back. I want to be top-five, if not on the podium. With the class so thin, there is no reason why I shouldn’t be up near the front.”
Star/Valli Yamaha’s Nico Izzi has been racing the premier class during the break in action and it has been decided that Izzi will continue in the Supercross Class for the remainder of the supercross season. Izzi was officially campaigning the Western Regional Supercross Lites Championship at the beginning of the season and sits fifth in points. In New Orleans, Izzi put in a spirited ride despite finding misfortune and posting a DNF.
“I’m looking forward to continuing on the 450 for the rest of the supercross season,” said Izzi. “I’ve shown some good speed in qualifying and have had some decent results. I’m looking forward to Seattle – it should be fun.”
In addition to the return of Ryan Dungey to the championship, the other major storyline this week surrounding the Supercross Class was the announcement from Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX that up-and-comer Gavin Faith will take the place of an injured James Stewart for the next two races in Seattle and Salt Lake City. Faith has posted impressive results as a privateer in the premier class and will look to take advantage of the opportunity for the next two weekends.
Following a two-month break in action, the Western Regional Supercross Lites Championship resumes tomorrow night with the final three races of the 2012 season. At the previous race from San Diego in February, the championship battle tightened up and now, just 15 points separate the top three riders in the standings. As the only championship in Monster Energy Supercross yet to be decided this season, all eyes will be on this group of riders as 2012 comes to an end.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson sits atop the field and brings the momentum into Seattle as the most recent winner in the Western Region. Wilson has eagerly awaited the opportunity to get back into action and is excited for the opportunity to potentially increase his advantage tomorrow night.
“I’ve been itching to get back racing for weeks,” said Wilson. “I’ve been working really hard in the time off to maintain my speed and can’t wait to get back out on the track.”
GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac ended the first half of the Western Regional Supercross Lites Championship on a low note, posting a DNF in San Diego after crashing in the whoops. Tomac is the winningest rider in the class, with three victories, and has led the championship for most of the season. He’ll look to bounce back in hopes of reclaiming the top spot tomorrow night.
“Seattle should be a good track for me,” Tomac said. “I like the ruts and the soft dirt. It should be a technical race, so it should be good for me. I’m going into this race more fired up than ever. Last year, I was only close to the points lead at the very last race of the season. Now, I’ve got three races to make my own destiny.”
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda’s Cole Seely sits third in the championship standings and is still within striking distance of his rivals. Since winning the opening race in January, Seely has had some ups and downs, but he’s bringing back-to-back runner-up finishes into Seattle and hopes to take another win, tightening the title fight even more. With some valuable time aboard the Team Honda Muscle Milk machine in the mid portion of the season, Seely has more racing under his belt than the other championship contenders, which he hopes will play into his advantage.
Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin has also gained considerable race experience during the break, competing in several races aboard the 350SX-F. Musquin had some strong performances aboard the bike, which should translate into even more speed in his return to the Supercross Lites Class tomorrow night. Musquin sits fourth in the championship and would hope for nothing more than a first career win on U.S. soil.
“I want to finish my season out strong,” says Musquin. “I’ve had some great and some not-so-great races this year. My goal is to be on the box at the final few rounds and finish my first season in the Lites Class out strong.”
Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki’s Jason Anderson finished up the first part of the Western Regional Supercross Lites Class sitting 10 in the championship. He experienced some tough luck over the first six races, but looks forward to improving his position over the last few weeks.
“I’m super excited to be heading into Seattle this weekend,” said Anderson. “I’ve never been to Seattle but my training has been going really good. The break for me has been overall really good. I’m just looking forward to showing everyone all the work I’ve done and hopefully come away with a top five or podium and I’ll be happy.”
His Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki teammate Martin Davalos hasn’t had the consistency he’d hoped for over the first six races of the championship. While he’s shown good speed, bad luck and poor main event results have prevailed. Davalos is looking to turn that around in Seattle.
“I’m actually very excited for Seattle,” said Davalos. “I got back to California a week-and-a-half ago and started training hard for supercross again. I feel really good. Obviously when we come to Seattle, there’s always a chance for rain. It can get really tricky up there with the weather and also Seattle’s known to sometimes be really rutted. I’m really positive and looking forward to racing again and want to finish this season on a good note with good results for the team and build momentum for the outdoors that’s coming up.”
Star/Valli Yamaha’s Ryan Sipes is anxious to get back at it. Although injury allowed him to race only four of the first six races in the Western Regional Supercross Lites Championship, Sipes managed two top-five finishes.
“I’m definitely looking forward to Seattle,” said Sipes. “It’s been a long layover for me. I’ve been off this season and been hurt, so it’s really going to be good to get back out racing and get back up there where I think I should be – up front. We’ll see if it’s muddy in Seattle, but I’m looking forward to it.”
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