After another wild weekend in Toronto, the 2011 AMA Supercross Championship changed dramatically as some of the top contenders were hit with some misfortune. I was able to get the start that I needed and ultimately won my first race of the season, which felt amazing.Based on what happened behind me, I also ended up benefiting from the change in the points and I entered this past weekend’s race in Dallas (Arlington, Texas) just eight points out of the lead.Last year, Dallas was one of my biggest wins of the season, so on Saturday I felt really confident heading into the night show after a pair of strong practices. I posted the fourth-fastest lap, which gave me a good gate pick for the heat races. The track at Dallas was extremely difficult.The whoops were extremely big and hard to get consistency through while the fastest way through the rhythm lane was a tricky triple-triple combo that could easily force you to lose ground if you missed it.I felt good in the heat race and I was looking to just settle into a rhythm, post a good finish, and get a solid gate pick for the main event. Unfortunately, I pushed a little harder than the track could handle and I went down pretty early. As a result, I was forced to work a little harder than I had planned, but in the end, I felt like I recovered well and ultimately I was really happy to come away with second place.My Rockstar Makita Suzuki RMZ-450 got awesome traction out of the gates for the main event and I was where I wanted to be coming into the first corner. Unfortunately, I got together with Mike Alessi and it forced me to check up and lose some ground. I had an inside line through the first triple and it put me in good position to move past a lot of guys. Before I knew it, I was back with the leaders.I knew the track was really slick so I bided my time behind Chad Reed and James Stewart. Both guys were very fast and ready to battle. I didn’t want to force the issue so early in the race so I did my best to run consistent lines and keep them within reach. The next thing I know, James loses control and runs right into Chad. Both riders went down and I set my sights on the lead now that I was in second.I felt like I was running my fastest laps of the entire day and then I came up to Michael Byrne. I misjudged what line he was going to take and unfortunately we made contact and I went down.I got up pretty quick, but Ryan Villopoto had slipped by already. From there, I just wanted to get that spot back. I charged hard and I knew I was closing in on Ryan, but in the end I couldn’t get through traffic quick enough to get to him and make a move.Regardless, I walked away with another podium and I was really happy with the ride despite going down. I’m doing everything in my power to keep chipping away at this Championship and now I’m only seven points out of the lead. I really feel like my Rockstar Makita Suzuki team is hitting its stride and it couldn’t be at a better time.I’m excited about St. Louis this weekend. I was able to get a win there last year and I know my Rockstar Makita Suzuki team can help me do it again.
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!