2011 AMA Motocross
Round 2 of the 2011 AMA Motocross Championship gets underway at Freestone Raceway, Wortham, Texas, tonight, with two riders leading the 450cc grid – Two Two Motorsports Honda’s Chad Reed and Rockstar Maktia Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey.
Both riders shared a win and second-place finish last weekend at the Motocross season-opener in Hangtown. Taking third in both motos was this year’s Supercross Champion, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto.
Following are some pre-race Motocross Team stats as the grid heads into Freestone:
TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Racing Motocross
Chad Reed kicked off the 2011 season in the same manner in which he began 2010, by taking the overall win at Hangtown. Reed was strong from the start, securing a runner-up finish in the first moto, which put him in position for the overall. In Moto 2, Reed slotted himself into third during the early stages and, through line selection, gradually worked his way into the lead. After fending off defending champion Ryan Dungey in the late stages, Reed took the final moto victory and the overall.
Chad Reed (Honda CRF450R Motocross) says: “I’m really happy about last weekend’s opening-round win, and I couldn’t ask for a better start to my season. I plan to continue riding the wheels off my Honda for the entire season and put TwoTwo Motorsports on the podium at the next 11 rounds in the series.”
Rockstar/Makita Suzuki Motocross
Ryan Dungey picked up 2011, where he left off in 2010, with an opening moto victory. His dominance in the first race of the year looked to carry over into the final moto, but a tenacious Reed, battled it out with Dungey. After pacing his rival for most of the race, Dungey attempted to make one final pass on Reed to claim the overall, but to no avail. Despite the second place result, Dungey still holds a share of the points lead heading into Freestone.
Ryan Dungey (Suzuki RMZ450 Motocross) says: “Overall, our day was really good at Hangtown. I was able to get out in front and pull away for the win in the first moto, which was a good start to the season.
“I wasn’t able to get the job done in the second moto and ended up in second for the moto and second on the day. It’s a really good solid start for the season. We’ll keep moving forward and building from here and we’ll be good. Texas should be good. We’ve done pretty well there the last few years and I like the dirt there – It’s pretty much like what I grew up riding on.”
Brett Metcalfe’s return to action led to a promising start to his 2011 season. A pair of fifth-place moto scores slotted the Australian rider into fifth overall and now he returns to a track that helped generate considerable momentum towards his impressive 2010 season.
Brett Metcalfe (Suzuki RMZ450 Motocross) says: “It was really awesome (at Hangtown). It’s good to be back with my Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team after being out injured for a while. It is good to be back racing and I really like the outdoors, so that’s a plus for me. I wanted to get a good start to the season and I’m really happy with fifth overall.
“I’m really looking forward to the next round in Texas, so I can build on this result. Freestone can be one of the more gnarly events with the heat and humidity. I’m actually heading out there early to get acclimated a bit. Hopefully that will translate into a better performance.”
Monster Energy Kawasaki Motocross
In his first Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship race since 2009, Ryan Villopoto ran solid throughout both motos to finish third overall. The newly-crowned supercross champion ran up front early in the second moto, but eventually settled into the final podium spot. With a long season ahead, Villopoto sits in a strong position and heads to a track where he won, back in 2008.
Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki KX450F Motocross) says: “I was a little disappointed with my result at Hangtown, but I got some good points and there is still a lot of racing left. It was my first race back in almost two years so it felt good to finally get a motocross race out of the way after so long. I was a little sick, but I’ve been feeling better everyday and I’m getting closer to getting back to 100 percent.”
Hangtown was a fresh start to Jake Weimer’s 2011 season. After missing nearly the entire supercross championship due to injury, Weimer is back to full health and kicked off his rookie campaign in the 450 Class with a 12th-place effort. After a tough opening moto, Weimer rebounded in Moto 2, finishing sixth. He knows he has the speed to run up front, and will look to do so in Texas.
Jake Weimer (Kawasaki KX450F Motocross) says: “The second moto last week was really good for me to see that I could run up at the front of a very competitive class. I really want to continue to improve, and I think we can do well in Texas.”
American Honda Motocross
After deciding to compete at Hangtown at the 11th hour, Kevin Windham put forth a strong effort for American Honda. Despite very little testing and preparation for motocross, Windham found his way to the front of the field in the first moto and continued to run within the top five throughout the day. His 6-4 moto scores resulted in fourth overall and gives Windham confidence heading into Freestone.
Kevin Windham (GEICO Honda CRF450R Motocross) says: “I’m looking forward to Texas this weekend. I’m hoping the weather can be a little kinder to everyone there than what it’s been in the past. I’m feeling good, and last weekend’s fourth overall was a positive start to the motocross season.”
Muscle Milk/Toyota/JGR Motocross
Despite losing second rider Justin Brayton to injury for the first part of the season, the Joe Gibbs Racing team had a strong start to the season in Hangtown, thanks to Davi Millsaps. The first-year JGR rider rode to a strong fourth-place finish in the first moto, and followed it up with a seventh in Moto 2. The solid results put Millsaps in sixth overall, and he will look to keep the momentum going this weekend.
MotoConcepts Yamaha Motocross
Hangtown resulted in a promising start to the 2011 season for MotoConcepts. Tommy Hahn led the way for the team, riding strong in both motos to post a pair of eighth-place finishes for seventh overall. Right behind him, teammate Christophe Pourcel followed in eighth overall, posting 7-11 moto scores in his debut for the team and in the 450 Class.
Red Bull KTM Motocross
Hangtown was a rough weekend for the entire Red Bull KTM team. After posting the fastest lap of the opening practice session, Mike Alessi crashed in the final practice, suffering severe enough effects from the incident, sidelining him indefinitely.
Mike Alessi (KTM 350 SX-F Motocross) says: “I am very thankful that I am going to be okay. I had a really bad crash and was lucky to walk away with no broken bones. My doctors advised me to wait three to four weeks before returning, so I am hoping to make High Point my first race back.”
The team’s other rider, Andrew Short, also experienced some misfortune at the opening round. After a solid ninth place finish in the first moto, Short was relegated to 34th in Moto 2, finishing 17th overall. It wasn’t the start to the season the veteran had hoped for, but with the series heading to Texas this weekend, where Short resides, he hopes the familiarity with the climate will play into his advantage.
Andrew Short (KTM 350 SX-F Motocross) says: “I had a rough week in Hangtown. Although we struggled with some mechanical problems, there were lots of positives to take away. I had really good speed in the second moto and felt like I was where I belonged. Our plan is to put last weekend behind us and focus on my hometown race this weekend. I am really looking forward to Freestone, as I will have lots of family and friends in attendance.”