Supercross racers preview Atlanta

SX Atlanta Racer Quotes

The 2010 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, season is heating up heading into the eighth race of the season this weekend from Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. For the second week in a row, Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey, who has led the AMA Supercross class since the second week of the season, has company atop the standings.

Last weekend it was San Manuel Yamaha’s Josh Hill. This weekend it’s Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto, who won his third race over the last four weeks and holds the tie-breaker over Dungey by virtue of his three victories.

Villopoto is riding a big wave of momentum as the season reaches its midpoint, and he is happy with his position. He is undoubtedly the hottest rider in the championship and looks to maintain the control he’s established over the last month.

Ryan Villopoto Speaks…

"All along I’ve had my eye on the championship," said Villopoto. "I knew I needed to put myself in the right position to do that. Winning three of the last four races has been good, but I need to keep working hard and pushing so I can stay out front."

Villopoto’s teammate Nick Wey has stayed consistent with the team as he rides while Chad Reed recovers from a broken hand. In his four races with Monster Energy Kawasaki, Wey has scored four top-10 finishes.

Nick Wey Speaks…

"These top 10s are good, but I know we can do better," said Wey. "Every week we seem to find a little thing here and a little thing there that helps. Everybody on the team is great to work with and I’m getting good information to take with me when Chad comes back."

Although he wasn’t able to reassert control at the top of the standings, Dungey had a great weekend in Indy. The two-time race winner rode strongly, closing in on Villopoto in the closing laps. After a three-week hiatus from the podium, he returned to protect the points lead with a solid runner-up finish.

Ryan Dungey Speaks…

"I’m really looking forward to Atlanta," said Dungey. "I haven’t been there since 2007, and I’m really looking forward to going there and hopefully keep the momentum going."

Team Manager Roger DeCoster is optimistic about what the team is capable of this weekend.

Roger DeCoster Speaks…

"I think we will build on our results going into Atlanta," he said. "We have some momentum with Ryan and hope to move forward in Atlanta. We will be busy with testing leading up to Atlanta … I feel pretty good about our chances there."`

Last weekend, GEICO Powersports Honda’s Kevin Windham picked up his third podium finish of the season after staging an exciting duel for the lead early on in the race with Honda Red Bull Racing’s Davi Millsaps. Windham held onto the lead for nine laps before Villopoto and Dungey got by to finish in third place.

Kevin Windham Speaks…

"Three podiums this season, two of them coming back-to-back; I’m really happy with this result," said Windham. "My CRF450R keeps getting better every year and to be still scoring podium finishes at 32 years of age is a testament to the support I receive from everyone."

Honda Red Bull Racing’s newest recruit, Trey Canard, made his AMA Supercross class debut at Indy, and it wasn’t without its share of both excitement and angst. The rookie 450 racer set a good pace and showed lots of promise aboard the CRF450R but unfortunately crashed hard on lap six in the main and damaged his bike.

Trey Canard Speaks…

"It definitely wasn’t the debut I was hoping for, but at least I can draw some positives from this experience," said Canard. "I know where I need to be speed-wise and I know the level of competition in the big-bike class. I really want to make the most of this amazing opportunity that’s been given to me and I’m confident that with a little more seat time on the bike this week I can deliver good results for the Honda Red Bull Racing team."

In the AMA Supercross Lites class, Christophe Pourcel dominated the Eastern Regional Championship opener last week in Indianapolis and he doesn’t look to slow down in Atlanta. After having surgery in January, Pourcel was only able to ride four times before last weekend’s race. Though he wasn’t on the bike, he was working hard on his fitness.

Christophe Pourcel Speaks…

"I’m feeling really strong heading into the races," said Pourcel. "I worked really hard cycling and swimming and my fitness is paying off. I have a long track at my house and I know if I can run 15 strong laps there, I can do 15 laps anywhere."

Pourcel’s teammate Dean Wilson made his AMA Supercross Lites debut last weekend, and despite his inexperience, he showed he is going to be a contender.

Dean Wilson Speaks…

"I rode a little tight last weekend," said Wilson. "It mostly was because it was my first race and I didn’t know what to expect. I learned a lot and I’m taking what I learned and I’m going to work hard during the week to correct some mistakes."

Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Austin Stroupe got second in his first 250 race of the season and his time spent in the AMA Supercross class at the start of the season has really helped him get ready for the Eastern Regional AMA Supercross championship. He got first place in his heat and took second in the main event.

Austin Stroupe Speaks…

"We are going to open it up more and be more aggressive," said Stroupe. "Atlanta will be where we are going to try to get the win and go after the points lead. I’m really looking forward to it."

GEICO Powersports Honda rookie Justin Barcia made a dramatic debut by finishing third in his first-ever Supercross Lites race.

Justin Barcia Speaks…

"I can’t believe how good this feels," said Barcia. "I knew I had it in me to finish on the podium and that was my goal for this race. To be on the box at my first Supercross race in front of all these people is just awesome. I know where I stand in terms of speed now that I’ve got the first race out of the way, and I’m really pumped for the next race in my home state of Georgia."

2010 AMA Supercross Class Season Standings
1) Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 145
2) Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki, 145
3) Josh Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Yamaha, 135
4) Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Honda, 114
5) Kevin Windham, Centerville, Miss., Honda, 106
6) Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha, 105
7) Ivan Tedesco, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha, 97
8) Nick Wey, Murrieta, Calif., Kawasaki, 74
9) Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, Honda, 69
10) Tommy Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Suzuki, 61

2010 Eastern AMA Supercross Lites Class Season Standings
1) Christophe Pourcel, Groveland, Fla., Kawasaki, 25
2) Austin Stroupe, Lincolnton, N.C., Suzuki, 22
3) Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda, 20
4) Ryan Sipes, Vine Grove, Ky., Yamaha, 18
5) Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Honda, 16
6) Dean Wilson, San Jacinto, Calif., Kawasaki, 15
7) Kyle Regal, Kemp, Texas, Yamaha, 14
8) Nico Izzi, Albany, Ga., Yamaha, 13
9) Martin Davalos, Cairo, Ga., Yamaha, 12
10) Troy Adams, Homosassa, Fla., Suzuki, 11

SPEED will broadcast this weekend’s race from the Georgia Dome live, starting at 7:30 p.m. EST

Tickets are available at the Georgia Dome Box Office, all Ticketmaster locations, by phone at 800-745-3000 and at participating Yamaha Dealers. Club level tickets are available for $50.00; Gold Circle tickets $45.00; 100 & 200 level end zone seats $35.00; Supervalue 300 level seat tickets $10.00.

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One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007 and is currently Editor at Large at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of 365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).