After an exciting start to the season in front of a sold-out Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, heads to Phoenix this weekend for the second race of 2012 from Chase Field. Reigning champion, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto, dominated last Saturday night, posting a flag-to-flag win and starting his title defense on a high note.
Last weekend, Villopoto made a statement to his rivals with his impressive performance. After grabbing the Nuclear Cowboyz® Holeshot in the 20-lap main event, Villopoto sprinted through the opening laps, setting an exceptionally quick pace and opening up a healthy advantage over the field. Behind him, TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Honda’s Chad Reed, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, and Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s James Stewart engaged in a captivating battle for the runner-up spot that kept the capacity crowd on its feet, in an uproar. Ultimately, a crash by Stewart allowed Reed and Dungey to duel for second, with Reed prevailing.
After playing integral roles in the most competitive season in Monster Energy Supercross history in 2011, each of these four riders proved that there is more hotly-contested racing in store for 2012.
"It was a phenomenal night for me," said Villopoto. "I didn't have the heat race I wanted, so I didn't have a great gate pick. Once I was out front, I wanted to lay down fast laps and make no mistakes. I did make one small one, but overall, it was a great race for me."
The dominant effort by Villopoto not only gives the Washington native the early points lead, but also puts the pressure on his three closest rivals since none were able to contend with the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider once the gate dropped.
Reed added, “Villopoto made us look silly out here tonight. I am just happy to get second place tonight in this (deep) field of riders."
While Villopoto’s early sprint made it difficult for his competitors to challenge for the win, the “big four” showed their exceptional talent as the only riders in the entire 20-man field to post a lap under 1:02.000 on an extremely technical and challenging track.
Even though Villopoto has delivered the first blow in the championship battle, there is no doubt that Reed, Dungey, and Stewart will be putting in extra hours both on the track and in the gym this week to come back stronger than ever inside Chase Field and respond with their own winning effort.
In the opening race of the Western Regional Supercross Lites Class Championship, Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda’s Cole Seely took advantage of a top-three start to grab his third professional victory and lead the point standings for the first time in his career.
Seely battled Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray throughout the opening stages of the 15-lap main event, but took over the lead on Lap 4 and never looked back. Rattray fended off the advances of his teammate Dean Wilson to hold on to the runner-up spot, while GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac fought his way from a 10th-place start to pass Wilson for the third and final spot on the podium.
The Western Regional Supercross Lites Class is exceptionally deep in young talent, and it showed last Saturday. Seely will look to keep the momentum going this weekend in Phoenix, while is counterparts will also look to assert themselves in the short eight-race championship.
Last year in Phoenix, Villopoto was in search of back-to-back victories to start the season, and was on the heels of Stewart for the lead throughout the main event. However, a fall by Villopoto allowed Stewart to pull away and take the win. In the Supercross Lites Class, Josh Hansen captured the win for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki.
SPEED will broadcast the Supercross class race LIVE at 9:30pm EST on January 14, 2012.
Tickets are available at the Chase Field 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 begins at 7:00 p.m. Club Level tickets are $65 Adult/Child; Gold Circle $42 Adult/Child; Mid-Level $30 Adult / $10 Child; Supervalue $22 Adult / $10 Child; Treadhead $10 Adult/Child. Fans can also get into the Pits for FREE from 12:30-6 p.m. Race Day when they recycle a MONSTER Energy Can at the stadium Pit Entrance (valid only with event ticket).
Stewart holds the record for most wins in the Supercross Lites Class and is tied with Ricky Carmichael for the most wins in the Supercross Class at four.
Supercross Class Results: Anaheim
1. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki
2. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Honda
3. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM
4. Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., Honda
5. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki
6. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
7. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda
8. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda
9. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki
10. Josh Hansen, Elbert, Colo., Kawasaki
Supercross Class Season Standings
1. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki – 25
2. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Honda – 22
3. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM – 20
4. Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., Honda – 18
5. Jake Weimer, Rupert, Idaho, Kawasaki – 16
6. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha – 15
7. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda – 14
8. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda – 13
9. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki – 12
10. Josh Hansen, Elbert, Colo., Kawasaki – 11
Western Regional Supercross Lites Class Results: Anaheim
1. Cole Seely, Murrieta, Calif., Honda
2. Tyla Rattray, Wildomar, Calif., Kawasaki
3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda
4. Marvin Musquin, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
5. Ryan Sipes, Ekron, Ky., Yamaha
6. Dean Wilson, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki
7. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Suzuki
8. Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Honda
9. Zach Osborne, Chesterfield, S.C., Yamaha
10. Travis Baker, Temecula, Calif., Honda
Western Regional Supercross Lites Class Season Standings
1. Cole Seely, Murrieta, Calif., Honda – 25
2. Tyla Rattray, Wildomar, Calif., Kawasaki – 22
3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda – 20
4. Marvin Musquin, Murrieta, Calif., KTM – 18
5. Ryan Sipes, Ekron, Ky., Yamaha – 16
6. Dean Wilson, Menifee, Calif., Kawasaki – 15
7. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Suzuki – 14
8. Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Honda – 13
9. Zach Osborne, Chesterfield, S.C., Yamaha – 12
10. Travis Baker, Temecula, Calif., Honda – 11
Past Winners in Phoenix
January 15, 2011: James Stewart
January 15, 2010: Ryan Dungey
January 10, 2009: James Stewart
January 12, 2008: James Stewart
January 13, 2007: James Stewart
January 14, 2006: Ricky Carmichael
January 15, 2005: Ricky Carmichael
January 10, 2004: Kevin Windham
January 11, 2003: Ezra Lusk
January 26, 2002: Ricky Carmichael
January 27, 2001: Ricky Carmichael
January 29, 2000: David Vuillemin
January 23, 1999: Jeremy McGrath
Supercross Lites Class
January 15, 2011: Joshua Hansen
January 15, 2010: Jake Weimer
January 10, 2009: Ryan Dungey
January 12, 2008: Jake Weimer
January 13, 2007: Christophe Pourcel
January 14, 2006: Nathan Ramsey
January 15, 2005: Broc Hepler
January 10, 2004: Ivan Tedesco
January 11, 2003: James Stewart
January 26, 2002: James Stewart
January 27, 2001: Ernesto Fonseca
January 29, 2000: Casey Lytle
January 23, 1999: Nathan Ramsey