|This Week in Monster Energy Supercross: Los Angeles|
AURORA, Ill. (January 20, 2012) – Ryan Dungey’s second trip to the top of the podium inside Phoenix’s Chase Field, the sight of his inaugural Supercross Class victory, has created an early deadlock atop the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, standings. Dungey, along with Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto, currently share possession of the red number plate with 45 points apiece. Tomorrow night, they lead the world’s best into action for the second time inside Los Angeles’ legendary Dodger Stadium.
"It was awesome to earn KTM their first-ever U.S. Supercross class win last weekend,” said Dungey. “The team has worked incredibly hard over the past few months with lots of long days and late nights going in to achieve this result. The crew did a great job getting the new bike set up for the Phoenix track conditions which allowed me to pull the holeshot and establish a solid lead from the get go. I was really happy with the way I rode, laying down 20 solid laps. That's what it is going to take to be in the hunt for the championship this season.”
”I'm also really excited to debut the red points lead plate on the KTM this weekend at Dodger Stadium. Sporting the red plate is another first for KTM."
Villopoto will carry the red number plate for the second time in 2012, on the heels of an impressive performance in Phoenix in which he battled his way from dead last to third in the 20-lap main event. Villopoto is the defending race winner at Dodger Stadium, and looks to stay undefeated at the historic venue.
“Last weekend I ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Villopoto. “I was able to salvage points and felt good about the ride. I’m looking forward to getting back to Dodger Stadium where I won last year.”
Villopoto’s Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate Jake Weimer posted a career-best effort in the Supercross Class, landing on the podium for the first time since making the move up with a runner-up effort.
“It has been a while since I stood on the podium,” said Weimer. “I have been working so hard to get up there, it feels good to have it finally pay off. There are still a lot of races left his season, and I have a lot of work to do, but I’m feeling pretty positive going into Los Angeles.”
TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Honda’s Chad Reed followed up his podium effort in Anaheim with a fifth-place result in Phoenix. Reed was forced to battle from a mid-pack start in the desert and made some progress, but simply ran out of time to battle at the front of the field. Despite that, he enters Los Angeles locked into a tie for third in the championship.
GEICO Honda’s Kevin Windham led the way for the entire Honda contingent in Phoenix, bouncing back from an eighth-place finish in Anaheim to nearly land on the podium. Windham occupied the third position throughout the main event, but was passed by Villopoto in the closing stages. The effort was a momentum builder for Windham, who will look to carry it over into Dodger Stadium.
“You do all that prep and the difference is one little section of the track,” said Windham. “Nevertheless, it's extremely early in the season and it gives me a lot to build on.”
The Honda duo of Andrew Short and Trey Canard dueled it out throughout the entire main event in Phoenix. Short has gotten off to a great start for the new Supercross.com Honda team, sitting sixth in the championship, while Canard’s 2012 debut was one to be proud of. The 2011 rookie of the year still has to dial in his conditioning for the pace of his competitors, but a seventh-place effort coming off an injury is a good place to start for the Team Honda Muscle Milk rider.
“We had a great bike in Phoenix,” said Short. “My Honda CRF 450 put me up front, and we are getting better each week. I am excited to ride in Dodger Stadium next week and improving on what we learned last weekend.”
“I am excited to be here, and I’m excited to be riding,” said Canard. “It is a bummer for me personally because I am not right up with the guys that I normally compete with, but overall it was a very successful weekend and I’m ready for the rest of the season.”
Justin Brayton, the final member of the Team Honda Muscle Milk squad, suffered misfortune in Phoenix after kicking off the year with a very strong effort in Anaheim. The 14th-place effort last weekend has dropped Brayton to eighth in the championship, but he’s proven he can run up front and will look to do just that inside Dodger Stadium.
“My weekend started out pretty good, but didn’t end like I would have liked,” said Brayton. “I spun really bad on the start and then locked bars with Stewart in the beginning of the main (event) and ended up crashing twice. It was an off weekend but I am excited to get back to work this week and have some fun in LA.”
Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s James Stewart, was feeling a little under the weather in Phoenix, but that didn’t stop him from posting one of the quickest laps of the day in practice and winning his second consecutive heat race. However, in the main event, Stewart fell while surging his way through the field and by the time the checkers flew, he could only work his way back into eighth. As a result, the two-time Monster Energy AMA Supercross Champion sits 17 points out of the lead in seventh, and will be looking for nothing less than a win inside one of the most storied stadiums in America.
"I wasn't upset with my riding in Phoenix,” said Stewart. “Besides being a little under the weather, I felt good on the bike, much better than in Anaheim. But with a good start we'll be battling for wins. You can't win if you have to fight through the pack each main (event)."
Consistency was the key to Team Yoshimura Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe’s night in Phoenix. Although a bit under the weather, Metcalfe put up a good fight all night long. In the 20-lap main event, Metcalfe got a great start and battled with the front-runners for the first half of the race. In the end, Metcalfe stayed strong and kept his Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 in the top 10 with a ninth-place finish.
“We had a really good week leading up to Phoenix,” said Metcalfe. “I came in a little more confident. In qualifying, I got an awesome start – the Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 just flew down the straightaway. In the main event, I tried as hard as I could (and) about halfway, I started getting passed but I tried to hang tough and hold down a top-10. I was a little under the weather last weekend and it was a tough 20 laps for me, but I managed to get through. This was a much more positive direction for us, and I’m looking forward to having another solid week on the bike and moving up in the field.”
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s 2011 AMA Supercross Lites Western Region Champion Broc Tickle battled in the LCQ for a spot in the main event, but ran out of laps before making the pass on second and wasn’t able to transfer to the main event.
“I just didn’t put it together in Phoenix,” said Tickle. “I kept over jumping and felt my timing was off. I’ve been working hard like everyone else so it was disappointing to not make the main. I’m going to get back on my feet and try to redeem myself in Los Angeles.”
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson took his first win of the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season at Chase Field, rebounding from a last-lap crash one week prior in Anaheim. Looking to claim the first Supercross Lites Class title of his career, Wilson is determined to leave Los Angeles with the coveted red plate. He currently sits third in the points, just two points off the leader.
“The win in Phoenix really meant a lot to me,” said Wilson. “I was able to connect my lines consistently all day, set the fastest qualifying time in my class, and won all my races. I know I have what it takes to win, but now I know what I need to do to make that happen.”
Fellow Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider Tyla Rattray grabbed the holeshot in Phoenix, and went on to score his second podium in as many races with a runner-up effort. As a result of his strong start to 2012, Rattray currently sits at the top of the Western Regional Supercross Lites Class standings, meaning this weekend he will carry the red number plate for the first time. Rattray will also be looking to take the next step up and claim his first career Monster Energy AMA Supercross victory.
“I’m happy with my performance so far this season,” said Rattray. “I have been getting good starts and have been feeling pretty solid on the track. I was feeling a little under the weather in Phoenix so I’m looking forward to going into the next race healthy.”
Marvin Musquin made his own bit of history last weekend by grabbing his first career Monster Energy AMA Supercross podium aboard his Red Bull KTM. Musquin has shown a lot of speed the first two weekends, and in Phoenix, he put it all together. Now, the Frenchman will look to build on that momentum and improve upon his fourth place position in the standings.
"I am so happy to get my first podium racing Supercross,” said Musquin. “The whole team and I are working very hard to get good results this year so I'm happy I was able to give them a podium result in Phoenix. Coming to the U.S. it was my goal to put KTM on the box and to do it at only the second race of the season is great. Supercross is definitely challenging and I'm enjoying learning to race on the tighter indoor tracks. It’s very different to the long outdoor GP tracks that I'm used to racing in Europe but I think I'm doing a good job learning the ropes. I'm excited for this week’s Dodger Stadium race. The weather reports are predicting a good chance of rain sometime during the day so I'm sure that will add another element of unknown for me."
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda’s Cole Seely wasn’t able to make it back-to-back wins to start the season, but he still put forth a solid effort inside Chase Field, finishing fifth. While he no longer has control of the red number plate, he sits just one point out of the top spot.
GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac has been one of the fastest riders in the field through the first two weeks of the season, however, his starts have forced the second-year rider to come from behind each time. Last weekend, Tomac fought his way into fourth, but still sits just fifth in the championship after two races. This weekend, Tomac will look to put it all together inside Dodger Stadium.
"If I ever get out front it's going to be game over," said Tomac.
For Rockstar Energy Suzuki, Jason Anderson started the night with an impressive third-place result in his heat race and then followed that up with a seventh-place finish in the 15-lap Supercross Lites main event. Teammate Martin Davalos had a get-off in his heat race, but went on to win the LCQ. Unfortunately, he struggled with some issues during the main and was unable to finish the race.
“Phoenix was a good race for me,” said Anderson. “I got a good start in my heat race and ended up third. In the main, I struggled at the start but I ended up seventh. Hopefully, I’ll improve on that next week. But I’m really happy with where we’re at, and I feel like the things I need to work on can be found in the next week. I’m excited about racing at Dodger Stadium next weekend and hopefully, it will be another good weekend for us.”
Star/Valli Yamaha’s night in Phoenix wasn’t what the team had hoped for, with Ryan Sipes failing to make the main event, but Nico Izzi put forth a solid effort for the team, finishing with a top-10 effort in eighth despite a scary get-off earlier in the day in practice.
“I was spitting up some blood,” admitted Izzi. “But, I got checked out and decided to come back and race. I had a decent heat – I rode smart and smooth, and that’s what I wanted to do. In the main, I didn’t get a great start but I just kept trying to move forward. Now, I’m looking forward to racing at Dodger Stadium this weekend, so I’m going to go home and work on my weaknesses.”
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