This Week in Monster Energy Supercross: Anaheim
Catch Back-to-Back Anaheim Coverage on SPEED and CBS
AURORA, Ill. (January 18, 2013) – Through two weeks, Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, has seen two different winners. Last week in Phoenix, Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia raced to his first career 450SX Class victory, joining championship points leader, and Rockstar Energy Racing rider, Davi Millsaps in the win column. Tomorrow night, the championship returns to Angel Stadium for the third race of the 2013 season, the sight of Millsaps’ season-opening triumph. Broadcast coverage of both the 250SX Class and 450SX Class will air back-to-back on Sunday, January 20, beginning with the 250SX Class on SPEED at Noon ET, followed by the 450SX Class on CBS at 1 p.m. ET. SupercrossLIVE!® will stream three hours of practice and qualifying at www.SupercrossOnline.com beginning at 5 p.m. ET.
Barcia dominated en route to his maiden victory, leading wire-to-wire in the 20 lap Main Event. Earlier in the evening, Barcia also put forth an impressive Heat Race effort, setting the stage for his memorable night. By virtue of his win, Barcia jumped from seventh to third in the 450SX Championship standings and enters Anaheim with momentum.
“This feeling is honestly unreal,” said Barcia. “It was a good night for me, especially for how talented this class is. I don’t want to say I didn’t think it would happen this fast because I knew I was capable of winning, but I didn’t expect it happening at [Race] 2. I got a good start in the Main [Event] and just tried to put together a solid 20 laps, which I was able to do, and take the win. This is so awesome and hopefully I can have a few more this season to contend for the championship.”
Barcia’s Honda teammate Trey Canard was in position to make it a 1-2 sweep for the factory effort at Phoenix, asserting himself in the second position throughout the Main Event. However, on the final lap Canard experienced misfortune when the slick track resulted in a tip over. The third-year rider was able to get back into action, but lost three positions in the process. Canard dropped from second to third in the championship, but will look to get back on the podium Saturday.
“I got about a fifth place start and made sure to try and ride patiently. The dirt there was pretty slick, so it’s easy to over ride the track and lose traction,” said Canard. “I felt really good all the way to the last lap and did the same thing as the week before. I got too cautious and excited on the last lap and ended up going down, but still got fifth and I’m just grateful to be here. I’m having a great time and I’m excited to see Justin get the win. Everyone here at Team Honda Muscle Milk deserves it and works hard.”
Millsaps knew he would need to be consistent in order to maintain his grasp on the 450SX Class points lead and in Phoenix, he was exactly that. The Suzuki rider rode at the front portion of the field throughout the Main Event, ultimately taking advantage of Canard’s misfortune to grab a third-place finish. After two races, Millsaps remains the only rider to finish on the podium in each, and it’s perhaps the biggest reason why he’s still holding the red number plate heading back to the venue he won at just two weeks ago.
TwoTwo Motorsports Honda’s Chad Reed is easing into his comeback from a serious injury suffered last season. The veteran rider and former two-time Monster Energy Supercross Champion has always been known for his consistency and through the first two races of the season, that trademark has stayed true. After a fourth-place effort in Anaheim, Reed backed it up with another fourth-place finish last weekend and currently sits fourth in the championship standings. With a return to the stadium where he has experienced considerable success, Reed has his sights set on the podium.
“I am still not completely happy with how the race went [in Phoenix],” stated Reed. “I want to be on the podium and get that win, so this week I will be testing and hopefully working out the kinks before Anaheim.”
Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey is another one of the sport’s most consistent riders and after finishing third at the opening race, he was hoping for a third career win inside Phoenix’s Chase Field. Unfortunately, Dungey was hit with misfortune on several occasions last Saturday, ultimately needing to qualify for the Main Event through the LCQ. Dungey got caught in a first-turn pileup in the Main Event and had to fight his way from the back to earn an eighth-place finish, dropping him to fifth in 450SX Class points.
After a difficult season-opening race in which he finished 16th, defending back-to-back Monster Energy Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto rebounded with a strong performance in Phoenix. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider was able to overcome a mid-pack start in the Main Event to challenge Canard for second on the final lap. When his rival went down, Villopoto took advantage and captured a much-needed podium result to vault into seventh in the championship. He’ll look to take that next step on Saturday night in Anaheim.
“Every weekend we’re moving in the right direction,” said Villopoto. “Second place in Phoenix was really good and if we can stay on the box every weekend from here on out, win on our good weekends, and second and third on our bad weekends, we’ll be in a good spot.”
Villopoto’s teammate Jake Weimer continued his strong start to the season with a solid fifth-place effort inside Chase Field. Currently, Weimer and Villopoto are separated by a mere four points in the 450SX Class standings, sitting sixth and seventh, respectively. Weimer will look to keep things going in the positive direction tomorrow.
“Last weekend I felt good coming in, but didn’t perform how I wanted,” said Weimer. “We had a really productive week leading up to Anaheim 2 and made some progress with the bike, so I’m excited to transition that into results.”
Yohsimura Suzuki’s James Stewart once again displayed an incredible toughness and discipline in Phoenix. After tweaking his knee in Anaheim, Stewart came back in Phoenix to once again post the fastest lap in afternoon practice, from which he then went on to win his Heat Race. In the Main Event, Stewart slotted his RM-Z450 solidly inside the top 10 and rode a consistent 20 laps to finish seventh. His strategic approach to the Main Events has worked out for Stewart thus far, as he currently sits in a tie for seventh with Villopoto and Chaparral Honda’s Andrew Short.
“[Race] 2 was a little bit better than [Race] 1,” said Stewart. “My knee was sore, but I was able to deal with it in the Main Event. I got a bad start, but I was able to pass a couple of people, and then I did what I did last week and just stayed there. I’m happy we got out of Phoenix without damaging anything and I felt a little stronger than I did last week. We have a couple of things to work on, but the Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 was awesome. In both Main Events this year it’s been phenomenal. Unfortunately, I’m just not riding up to par right now. One reason is because of the injury, but the other reason is I that just need to let it hang it out there a little more – there are some young guys out there that are just letting it go. We’ll be better. I had a chance to do some riding and testing this week and I can feel that I’m getting stronger, so we’ll be better at Anaheim 2, for sure.”
GEICO Honda’s Kevin Windham finished 11th in Phoenix and as a result, sits just outside the top 10 in points. Meanwhile, Short rode his way to a solid ninth-place effort and will look to gain ground on his rivals on Saturday.
"I’m still building up my confidence," Windham said. "It was a very quick pace for such a tight track design and it really placed a premium on being smart and staying upright. There were some things I did that really felt good and a few other areas where I need to improve, but I'm getting back to where I need to be. It's really more mental than physical and it takes a little time."
In two outings for the Western Regional 250SX Class Championship, GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac has been about as close to perfect as he could be. Last weekend in Phoenix, Tomac dominated his Main Event to extend his championship lead. The victory was Tomac’s ninth of his young career and he has his sights set on remaining undefeated heading back to Anaheim.
"You always hope to win by 10 seconds," Tomac said. "That's about as good as it gets in this sport, but you also know there are so many things that can happen. You have to just take it as it comes and ride hard the whole time. You can't worry too much about everyone else. [Phoenix] is the closest place we go on the supercross tour to my home in Colorado, so to do that with all my friends and family watching is really cool."
After suffering from a hard crash earlier in the day, fellow GEICO Honda rider Zach Osborne bounced back in the 250SX Class Main Event to finish in sixth place.
"Considering the way I felt at 3 o'clock today, I'm really happy to have finished sixth. I took a really hard hit and they gave me a few shots for the pain, but it still hurt quite a bit. I wasn't even sure I could ride the Heat Race. I got a good start in the Main Event that set me up for a decent ride and I just did the best I could.”
Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen was also strong for the second straight weekend, following up his runner-up effort from Anaheim with another second-place effort in Phoenix. The German rider now sits six points behind Tomac in the championship.
After a podium effort at the season opener, Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda’s Cole Seely was once again in the mix for a spot on the box in Phoenix. Despite another strong ride, Seely was unable to claim a spot on the podium, but still took home a solid fourth-place effort.
The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team hasn’t started off the 2013 season the way it was hoping for with its talented three-rider lineup. After getting involved in a pileup on the opening lap of the first race of the season, Blake Baggett suffered a fracture to his wrist and despite giving it a go in Phoenix, will be forced to miss an indefinite amount of time. In his absence, both Martin Davalos and Tyla Rattray gave their best efforts.
Davalos suffered a frightening crash in his Heat Race, but was fortunate to walk away. After transferring through the LCQ, Davalos led a significant portion of the Main Event, eventually posting a season-best third-place finish.
“After my crash last weekend in Phoenix, this week was tough,” said Davalos. “I was very sore, but I’m very lucky to come out with just some scrapes and bruises. I got some riding in towards the end of the week and I’m looking to come out swinging at A2. I led for a while last weekend and felt really comfortable. It should be a good weekend.”
Rattray didn’t fare as well, but still put in 20 solid laps on his way to finishing 12th. He’ll look to bounce back this weekend.
“I’m looking to improve on last weekend at Anaheim 2,” said Rattray. “I worked hard this week, stayed focused, and will be looking for more at Anaheim 2. I like going back to Anaheim so I’m looking forward to it.”
Supercross LIVE!® is back in 2013 with a three-hour mid-raceday program from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. local time. Hosts, Jim Holley, a former World Supercross Champion, and Kevin Barnett, a former member of the U.S. Men’s Olympic Volleyball Team and professional broadcaster, will provide in-depth analysis of the afternoon’s practice and qualifying sessions as the riders and teams prepare for the night racing, in addition to interviews and behind-the-scenes coverage. As the only place to follow live practice and qualifying coverage from Monster Energy Supercross, Supercross LIVE! provides fans with an inside perspective before the gate drops on the night’s qualifying and Main Events. Additionally, there will be video snippets made available throughout the race day that can be viewed on www.SupercrossOnline.com, the official website of Monster Energy Supercross, or the YouTube Channel www.YouTube.com/SupercrossLive. To access the live streaming broadcasts, go to www.SupercrossOnline.com/SupercrossLive or subscribe to the Supercross LIVE! streaming channel at http://new.LiveStream.com/Supercrosslive.
Fans can also catch racing action from this weekend’s AMSOIL Arenacross Grand Rapids race from Van Andel Arena on Sunday, January 20 by tuning into SPEED TV at 6:00pm EST.
For more information on the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, please log on to www.SupercrossOnline.com, the official website of Monster Energy Supercross. For all media requests, please contact Denny Hartwig firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-566-6305. To follow Monster Energy Supercross on Facebook and Twitter, log on to http://www.facebook.com/supercrosslive and http://twitter.com/supercrosslive.
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