|Villopoto Carries Three-Race Winning Streak and Championship Lead into Monster Energy Supercross Stop from Atlanta|
Barcia Sets Tone for Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class
AURORA, Ill. (February 20, 2011) – Since opening the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, season with four different winners in four races, only one rider has stood atop the podium for the past three weeks. Reigning Monster Energy Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto has kicked his title defense into high gear thanks to three consecutive victories. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider boasts a total of four wins this season, but his recent dominance has helped him pull 13 points ahead of the field in the championship. This weekend, the championship makes its annual trip to the southeast and the hugely-popular stop from Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, for the eighth race of the season.
Media day is Thursday, February 23 from Noon-2:00 p.m. The Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX team of James Stewart and Davi Millsaps, in addition to the Privateer Journey and Rock River Yamaha, will be in attendance.
At the championship’s previous stop last weekend inside Cowboys Stadium, in Arlington, Texas, Villopoto was able to grab a strong start out of the gate, and took over the lead prior to the conclusion of the opening lap. While he looked to be in control of the top spot, Villopoto was stalked closely by TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Honda’s Chad Reed. The lead duo paced one another throughout the opening laps, bringing the crowd of over 50,000 to its feet.
Unfortunately, as he looked to be gaining enough ground on Villopoto to challenge for the spot, Reed suffered a frightening crash on Lap 6 that left him unable to continue. The DNF resulted in a 20th-place finish for Reed, who fell to third in the standings, 30 points out of the lead. To this point, the extent of the effects of Reed’s crash has not been revealed, and his championship status remains uncertain.
While Villopoto took a relatively unchallenged win, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer provided some late-race fireworks in their battle for the runner-up spot. Dungey overcame a 10th-place start to pass Weimer on the final lap to take his second runner-up finish of the season, and fifth podium of the year.
By virtue of his strong run and Reed’s misfortune, Dungey assumed control of second in the Supercross Class standings, 13 points behind Villopoto.
Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s James Stewart, the fourth rider to win a race this season, started the main event just outside the top five, along with teammate Davi Millsaps. On Lap 3, Millsaps washed out coming out of a turn, leaving Stewart nowhere to go and causing him to stall his bike. Stewart re-entered the race in 19th, but battled his way up to an impressive sixth-place finish. He’s 42 points behind Villopoto in the standings heading into Atlanta.
Last season’s Monster Energy Supercross visit to the Georgia Dome resulted in possibly the most memorable race of the entire 2011 championship. A captivating duel between heated rivals Stewart and Reed resulted in a 19-lap battle for the win that came down to an explosive final lap in which the two riders came together and hit the ground. The incident allowed Villopoto to steal the victory, while continued battling between Stewart and Reed ultimately resulted in Dungey’s move into the runner-up spot. Atlanta is always the site of memorable action, and that trend is sure to continue on Saturday night.
GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia kicked off the Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Championship with a convincing win at Cowboys Stadium. The reigning division champion picked up where he left off on year ago to outrun a slew of new faces in the talented class.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Darryn Durham made his debut effort for the Mitch Payton-led team a memorable one by leading the opening stages of the main event. While he was passed by Barcia on Lap 9, Durham maintained his control of second to post a career-best effort. Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen began his first full season on U.S. soil with an impressive effort of his own, following up his heat race win with a third-place finish.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett, who finished fourth in last season’s Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Championship and entered the 2012 season as a title favorite, experienced misfortune on the opening lap of the main event, recording a 15th-place fnish.
Last season in Atlanta, Dean Wilson took a big win for the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team during a wild main event that saw five different riders in contention for the checkered flag.
The first supercross race ever held in Atlanta was March 5, 1977, and Bob Hannah won on a Yamaha. On February 22, 1986 Honda rider Keith Turpin won the first-ever Supercross Lites Class Main Event in Atlanta. Ricky Carmichael is first on the Supercross class’ all-time win list at the Georgia Dome with five. Carmichael, Brian Swink and Christophe Pourcel share the Supercross Lites Class’ all-time win record with two. A new face will grace the top step of the podium in the Supercross Lites Class on Saturday night.
SPEED will broadcast Monster Energy Supercross from Atlanta LIVE at 7:30pm EST on February 25, 2012.
Tickets are available at the Georgia Dome Box Office, all Ticketmaster Outlets, charge by phone at (800) 745-3000, www.supercrossonline.com, or online at www.ticketmaster.com. Practice and qualifying begin at 12:30 p.m. and the main event starts at 7:00 p.m. Club Level tickets are $52 Adult/Child; Price Level 2 $45 Adult/Child; Price Level 3 $35 Adult/Child and Supervalue tickets are $10 Adult/Child. . FREE Pit Passes are available at over 500 Atlanta area Subway locations around Atlanta beginning Feb. 3rd when you buy a 32 oz drink.
Supercross Class Results: Arlington
Supercross Class Season Standings
Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class Results: Arlington
Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Class Season Standings
February 26, 2011: Ryan Villopoto
Supercross Lites Class
February 26, 2011: Dean Wilson
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
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