The following is from Feld Motorsports…
With three different winners in each of the three Supercross Class main events this season, the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, has started off better than anyone could have imagined. Thanks to his third podium effort of the season, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey leads the world’s best riders into action on Saturday night from Oakland, Calif., and O.co Coliseum in sole possession of the red number plate.
“We’re making good inroads testing and developing the new 450, and that progress is translating into podium finishes on the racetrack,” said Dungey, who is the only rider in the Supercross Class to finish on the podium through the first three races. “Our 3-1-2 podium results so far this season have earned us the red plate, which is a great way to start the season.
“After getting KTMs first win in Phoenix, I was happy to back it up with second overall last weekend in Los Angeles. Everything is definitely heading in the right direction and our goal is to keep putting the new KTM 450 SX-F on the podium throughout the season.”
Coming off his impressive win inside Dodger Stadium last weekend, TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Honda’s Chad Reed has moved into a tie for second in the championship, sitting just four points behind Dungey along with reigning champion, and Monster Energy Kawasaki rider, Ryan Villopoto.
“It feels awesome to get a win, especially at the third race,” said Reed. “We are early in the season, so I am trying to stay consistent to hopefully get more wins.”
For the second consecutive week, Villopoto was forced to overcome an incident on the opening lap, crossing the line at the tail end of the field in Los Angeles. However, just like in Phoenix one week prior, Villopoto found a way to battle through the pack and contend for the podium, just missing out on a third-place finish following a race-long battle with Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s James Stewart. â€¨â€¨”After coming from the back of the pack the past two rounds, this week I really concentrated on my starting technique.” said Villopoto. “Saturday night, I’d just like to get out front right away and minimize any chance of mistakes. The track will be dry this year so it should have a better result.”
Fellow Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Jake Weimer led the Supercross Class Main Event in its early stages at Los Angeles, but the second-year Supercross Class rider fell in an incident with Stewart. After an 11th-place finish, Weimer sits in a tie for fourth in the championship and will look to bounce back in Oakland.
“I really felt comfortable running the pace up front last Saturday and had I not gone down, I feel I would have been on the podium,” said Weimer. “I’ve never raced in Oakland before, but I always liked San Francisco, so I hope to be right back up front.”
Stewart’s third-place finish inside Dodger Stadium was his best of the young season and signified a step in the right direction for the entire JGRMX team. The two-time champion remains undefeated in heat races and with a strong start, he could very well be in the mix for the win, potentially giving Monster Energy Supercross four winners in four races after Oakland.
“You know, the podium last week was definitely a positive, especially after what happened in practice,” said Stewart. “I’m really happy we got up there, I think we all were. But we want more, we want to win. And that’s what we’re working towards. There’s a lot of work that goes into this and we haven’t stopped working yet. But it feels like we’re starting to build some good momentum. That’s exciting, now we need to stay focused and push forward.”
GEICO Honda’s Kevin Windham didn’t have the night he was hoping for inside Dodger Stadium, finishing ninth. However, the veteran rider still sits fifth in the standings and will look to build some momentum heading into the second quarter of the season.
Supercross.com/Honda Racing’s Andrew Short had a decent start in Los Angeles, but unfortunately went down in the first corner. He had to work his way up from that back of the pack, finishing 14th.
Team Yoshimura Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe continued his upward progression in the championship, posting a season best fifth-place effort at Dodger Stadium. As a result of his effort, Metcalfe is now seventh in the Supercross Class standings and is looking to keep the momentum going in Oakland.
“The whole day was the best we’ve had so far,” said Metcalfe. “The Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 was working awesome. I think I had one of the best bikes on the track all day. The heat race went well, and I ended up fifth. But I rode really well and I think it’s the best ride I’ve had all year.
“Going into the main, the RM-Z450 was working great out on the track. I got a better start on the re-start, and I was up there early. After being sick, I knew I was going to be short of breath, so I just wanted to hit 20 laps consistently, and ride hard – but not to the point where I’d push myself to the limit and start going downhill. So I just maintained myself the whole race and came home fifth, which was by far the best result of the year.”
After failing to make the main event one week earlier, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Broc Tickle achieved his career best finish in the Supercross Class, with an eighth place finish.
“Each weekend we’re making steps towards the front and I’m excited to keep progressing,” said Tickle. “I won in Oakland last year in the Supercross Lites Class and the dirt up there is awesome. I’d like to have a certain stadium that I look forward to every year and since I already have a win in Oakland, I’m feeling good going into this weekend.”
Much like the Supercross Class, parity is driving the Western Regional Supercross Lites Class with three different winners through the first three races. The division’s latest winner, GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac, moved into possession of first place in the championship standings following his victorious effort, and will carry the red number plate into Oakland.
“I was finally able to get out there, ride like myself and ride how I should,” said Tomac. “I’m excited for the win tonight and I’m happy to be leading the points going into round four. “If I can get consistently good starts, I believe I can win like I did tonight. I am comfortable out front and plan to stay there.”
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson backed up his Phoenix win with a runner-up effort in Los Angeles and now, with just one point separating he and Tomac in the championship, he’ll be looking to become the first two-time winner of the 2012 season on Saturday.
“This is my first time riding the Western Regional Supercross Lites Class, so it’s a little bit different going to a new stadium every weekend. This weekend, I’d like to just get a good start and if I can get that, I feel my chances of getting a win in Oakland are much better.”
Fellow Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Tyla Rattray finished just off the podium at Dodger Stadium. Coming into the race, Rattray was the points leader, but just missing out on a third-place finish has dropped him to third. Despite the fall, Rattray still sits just three points out of the lead and hopes to grab that elusive first Monster Energy Supercross win on Saturday night. â€¨
“I made too many mistakes last weekend,” said Rattray. “So this week, I concentrated on keeping focused and hitting my lines every lap. I’m looking forward to going to Oakland. The dirt is always good there and it will be dry so it should make for a good track.”
Marvin Musquin had a tough outing in Los Angeles aboard his Red Bull KTM. The Frenchman was running at the front of the field throughout the main event, but a late crash ended his night early, dropping Musquin to seventh in the championship.
“Crashing out of the main last weekend in the final stages of the race while in third spot was definitely not the way I wanted to finish the race,” said Musquin. “I had good speed and was setting up a pass for second when I landed in a soft wet spot which just sent me flying. The Asterisk guys did a good job taking care of me at mobile medical center and tests clarified I didn’t break anything. I just winded myself and suffered bruising to my chest.
“The Lites championship is only eight races long so a DNF kind of squashed my chances at winning the title. However, it does mean I have nothing to lose going forward so I will just turn my focus toward trying to get my first win in the USA. That’s purely my goal now.”
Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki’ Jason Anderson had a stellar night in Los Angeles. Anderson rode well the entire night, first winning the LCQ and then going on to capture his best result so far the year in fifth.
“Although I had to go to the LCQ, I won that,” said Anderson. “In the main, I just tried to put my laps in and I got into fifth. The Rockstar Energy Racing bike is working great and I’m feeling good, and that’s an awesome combination that we’ve got going. I’m just trying to keep improving and I feel like I’m doing that every weekend. Oakland should be fun and I’m just excited to get out there and race again.”
His Rockstar Energy Racing Suzuki teammate Martin Davalos also had plenty to smile about at the end of the night. Davalos went out and won his heat race and then ran in second place for the first third of the main event. Although he made a small mistake that saw him finish ninth, Davalos still brought home a solid top-10 finish.
“We got great starts all night,” said Davalos. “We got the heat race win and in the main event, I was running second. But then I made a stupid mistake and lost my front end. After that, I tried to get into a rhythm but I couldn’t get going because my front end was twisted. But overall, I feel really positive about the night. Now I’m just looking forward to Oakland and hoping for good weather there.”
Star Valli Yamaha’s Nico Izzi and Ryan Sipes both put in valiant efforts at Dodger Stadium. Izzi finished fourth in his heat race and 11th in the main event, while Sipes won his heat race and finished 12th in the main.
“Oakland this weekend should be a good,” said Izzi “I’ll be trying to stay off the ground, during the first turn in the main. I just need to keep working on my starts, putting in some good heat races and trying to get one of those good starts in the main and put in some good laps. The track looks pretty good for this weekend, so just looking forward to that!”
“LA didn’t go great for me,” said Sipes. “I felt like I rode well and just had a small mishap in the main when I got together with a guy in the first lap and went down. I felt like I rode good and found my old speed, so looking forward to Oakland and taking that heat race win success into the main.”
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