This Week in Monster Energy Supercross: Oakland
Catch Back-to-Back Anaheim Coverage on CBS Sports and SPEED
AURORA, Ill. (January 25, 2013) – Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, heads to California’s Bay Area on Saturday night for the fourth race of the 2013 season from Oakland’s O.Co Coliseum. Last week in Anaheim, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto became the third different winner in three races this season as the reigning back-to-back 450SX Class Champion dominated en route to victory. Rockstar Energy Racing’s Davi Millsaps will lead the field into action as the championship points leader, looking for his second win of the season. Broadcast coverage of both the 450SX Class and 250SX Class will air back-to-back on Sunday, January 27, beginning with the 450SX Class on CBS Sports at Noon ET, followed by the 250SX Class on SPEED at 1 p.m. ET. SupercrossLIVE!® will stream three hours of practice and qualifying at www.SupercrossOnline.com beginning at 5 p.m. ET.
Villopoto has battled his way from a misfortune-plagued 16th-place finish at the season opener three weeks ago to not only stand atop the podium for the first time this season, but also move into fourth in the 450SX Class point standings. He enters Oakland with arguably the most momentum of any rider in the championship, and will look to make it two in-a-row tomorrow night.
“It feels good to finally get the first win out of the way,” said Villopoto. “We got the ball rolling now so when we head to Oakland we’ll look to keep the wins coming. Looks like it might be a bit wet, but Saturday looks clear and the track looks fun.”
Fellow Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Jake Weimer also continued his strong start to the 2013 season in Anaheim. Weimer has posted top-10 finishes in all three races this season and currently sits sixth in the points. Although he had to battle through illness last weekend in Anaheim, he’ll look to keep up his strong performances in Oakland.
“Last week’s race was probably one of the best Main Events I’ve had,” said Weimer. “I was sick last weekend, but felt much better this week and was able to ride more. I know what the pace is up front now and I plan to be up there in Oakland.”
Coming into Anaheim last weekend, Millsaps stood as the only rider to finish on the podium in each of the first two races of the season. At the site of his impressive season-opening victory, Millsaps was once again in the thick of the battle for the podium, and after a lengthy battle with Chad Reed, he ultimately settled for a fourth-place finish. Nevertheless, Millsaps still maintains possession of the red number plate heading to the Bay Area and will look to get back atop the podium inside the Coliseum.
"The day started off good,” said Millsaps. “I had good qualifying times and felt good on the bike. The bike felt great. The track was pretty gnarly. I got a good jump in the Heat Race and blew an engine down the starting line; just a freak accident. There isn't anything anyone could have done. I went over the bars going into the first turn which is kind of weird. I hit my head a little bit, hurt my wrist, my hands, my fingers, my back and my shoulders. I won the LCQ, got a decent start in the Main Event, and worked my way into third. I rode in third for 18 laps and ended up going down with two to go. All in all it was a good race and I'm happy with the result. I would have been happier with third but with how the day was and how it ended it was pretty good."
After letting a surefire podium finish slip away from him in Phoenix following a late crash, Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Trey Canard bounced back to once again contend for the win inside Angel Stadium. Canard capitalized on a strong start to lead the early stages of the Main Event before ultimately giving way to Villopoto and securing his second runner-up finish in three weeks. Canard occupies second in the championship, three points behind Millsaps, and will look to become the fourth different winner of the 2013 season.
“Tonight was great and I am very thankful to even be here,” stated Canard. “It was an uphill battle all week and even today with being sick, but I was able to set that aside and make it on the podium. A year ago tonight I was being taken away on a stretcher, so I believe it is only by God’s hand that I am able to race today. I can’t thank the whole Team Honda Muscle Milk crew enough for everything that they do and for everyone who has supported me.”
Canard’s American Honda teammate Justin Barcia didn’t experience the type of race he was hoping for one week removed from winning his first career 450SX race in Phoenix. After a strong start, Barcia experienced trouble upon takeoff from one of the tracks triple jumps and landed short, forcing his head to slam the handlebars. After attempting to resume competition, Barcia pulled off the track in apparent pain, ultimately suffering a laceration to his eyebrow and nose. While the extent of his injuries have yet to be confirmed, Barcia is expected to be back on track tomorrow night, looking to climb his way out of eighth in the points.
As a result of overcoming Millsaps in their heated battle in Anaheim, TwoTwo Motorsports Honda rider Chad Reed captured his first podium finish of 2013 on the heels of back-to-back fourth-place results to start the season. Reed has been one of the most consistent riders this season and appears to be ready to challenge for wins, entering Oakland third in points, just seven points out of the lead.
“It has been a rough couple of weeks with two fourths,” stated Reed. “Finally now being up on the podium, I guess I’ll take third. We are getting closer within that window but it’s been frustrating. I want to win and challenge for wins. Tonight I rode better and the bike was better, but something was still a little off so hopefully we can get things dialed this week before Oakland.”
One week after suffering from misfortune at Phoenix en route to an eighth-place finish, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey was once again struck with bad luck in Anaheim, getting caught up in incidents not of his doing in both his Heat Race and Main Event. After making his way into the Main Event via the final transfer spot, Dungey was forced to battle his way through the field for the second consecutive week in Anaheim. Dungey’s resiliency resulted in a sixth-place finish, but caused him to fall to fifth in the point standings. He’ll look to end a two-race podium drought in Oakland.
Yohsimura Suzuki’s James Stewart confirmed in the days leading up to Anaheim that he suffered a torn ACL at the opening race of the season. Despite the injury, Stewart has continued to give it his all out on the track and while he has yet to have a chance to battle at the front of the field, Stewart still posted top-10 results through the first two weeks. Last weekend, Stewart encountered misfortune and had to settle for a 12th-place finish, leaving him in ninth place in the championship. As the defending race winner in Oakland, Stewart is looking for big things on Saturday night.
“The day didn’t go the way I hoped it would at Anaheim, but it started out good,” admitted Stewart. “The Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 was working great in qualifying and my Heat Race. But in the Main, I got a bad start and then I got tangled up with another rider a couple of times and I fell over the second time. It was frustrating because I felt good going into the Main Event. But now I’m just focusing on Oakland this weekend. I like racing there and I’ve done well there in the past, so we’ll see if we can’t turn things around.”
After an illustrious career that featured 18 career 450SX victories and an incredible 102-race Main Event streak, GEICO Honda’s Kevin Windham formally announced his retirement at Anaheim. The veteran rider’s career spread across three decades and Windham has had the privilege of competing against arguably the most successful riders in history over the last 20 years.
"I would love nothing more than to ride forever, and the choice to retire was going to be hard no matter when I did it,” stated Windham. "To the fans of Supercross, this might seem to be a hasty decision, but I've been talking to a lot of people for a lot of months. I thought I would be able to come into the season and ride myself out of that funk and that mental hurdle I was having to overcome. With every passing lap whether it be it at the test track, my home track, or the stadium, it became more and more difficult to ride with the clarity I needed to be safe, fast, and successful. I want to thank all the fans who have supported me and everyone at Honda for all they have done throughout my career.”
Windham’s vacancy in the championship will be accompanied by fellow veteran Andrew Short, at least for the time being. In a press release on Thursday, L&Mc Racing announced that its Chaparral Honda effort will cease operations for the remainder of the 2013 season, citing circumstances beyond the team’s control. As a result, Short, who currently sits seventh in the championship, will be without a ride for the foreseeable future.
Through three weeks of competition in the Western Regional 250SX Class Championship, GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac has posted a perfect 3-0 record to start the season. Tomac has been impressive in each of his winning efforts, but in Anaheim he battled his way past fellow title contenders Ken Roczen and Cole Seely en route to victory. Tomac’s points lead sits at nine points heading into Oakland.
"It was a good battle," said Tomac. "Roczen and Seely are probably my two best competitors in the class right now. It made for good racing. I had some good lines out there and it was a fun race for sure. I still need to work on my starts because I am not completely happy with them, but overall this was a great night and I am excited to keep the red number plate for another weekend.”
Tomac’s teammate Zach Osborne boasted a strong performance in Anaheim despite being a little under the weather. Osborne took advantage of a good start to post his best finish of the season in fourth, moving into fourth in the championship standings.
"I want to be in the front with the leaders; that's what I've been hired to do," Osborne said. "I really feel like it’s coming soon. I am getting more and more comfortable each week. I'm still struggling with my shoulder a little. I got off to about a 10th-place start and worked my way forward. By the time I got up to fourth, the race was so far gone ahead of me; I couldn't do anything about it.”
Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen has had a strong start to the season in his own right, posting a trio a runner-up finishes. If not for Tomac’s perfect start, Roczen would be in the thick of the championship battle. Nevertheless, he sits only nine points from the top spot and will look to break into the win column on Saturday.
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda’s Cole Seely looked as if he might emerge victorious at Anaheim, leading the majority of the Main Event. After a late pass by Tomac for the lead, Seely battled with Roczen for second, but ultimately settled for this second podium finish of the season to maintain his third position in the points.
“I love racing here in Anaheim,” stated Seely. “The dirt is good and it's a fun environment. The energy of the crowd really pumps you up and all my friends and family get to come and watch.”
The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki was led by Tyla Rattray in Anaheim, as the South African rider tied his best finish of the season with an eighth-place result. Rattray sits sixth in the championship and will look to break into the top five at Oakland.
“We made some good changes going into Oakland,” said Rattray. “We’ve made the bike better every weekend and Oakland should see even more improvement. I had my big crash in Oakland last year, so I want to get there and conquer that place.”
Fellow Pro Circuit rider Martin Davalos was unable to duplicate his podium effort from Phoenix following a tough start in which he got caught in an incident on the opening lap. Despite the slow start, Davalos still battled his way through the field to finish 13th. He currently sits 10th in the championship, but will look to return to the podium tomorrow night.
“I’m ready to move on from last weekend,” said Davalos. “I got caught up in another crash last weekend, which was a bummer but we’ll bounce back in Oakland and shoot for the podium.”
After missing out on qualifying for the Main Event in Phoenix, Rockstar Energy Racing rider Jason Anderson bounced back to grab a seventh-place finish in Anaheim and get some momentum heading into Oakland.
"The weekend was alright,” said Anderson. “I had a good Heat; matched my career best Heat Race finish with a second place. Going into the Main, I was really focused on my gate selection with the third pick. I ended up coming around the first corner in eighth. I crashed in the second turn and again at the end of the first lap and got stuck on a tuff block. I got up and made it all the way back to seventh."
Teammate Ryan Sipes experienced misfortune in the Main Event at Anaheim, getting caught in an incident on the opening lap that ultimately forced him to retire from the race. With the misfortune behind him, Sipes will look to bounce back with a strong result in Oakland.
"The race was a real bummer because I felt like I had what I needed to win,” said Sipes. “The Heat Race was awesome but in the Main I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Its tough because there was nothing I could do. I will be back strong in a few weeks though. Can't thank the Rockstar Energy Racing Team enough for sticking behind me."
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.
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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