2012 Phoenix AMA Supercross | Preview

2012 AMA Supercross

In the AMA Supercross Championship, winning the season opener provides a rider with much incentive for the upcoming season.

Incentive? Well, considering the winner of the season-opener went on to take that year’s championship an incredible 18 times in the history of Supercross, winning the first race can easily instill confidence in a rider.

And the man who took Round 1 of 17 last weekend in Angel Stadium, Anaheim, Calif., was the reigning Supercross Champion, Ryan Villopoto. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider put in a typical-impressive performance, winning the main event after a wire-to-wire victory.

With his win, Feld Motor Sports reports that Villopoto also became one of only six riders in the sport’s history to win this race in consecutive seasons. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider joins legends Johnny O’Mara, Jeff Ward, Mike LaRocco, Chad Reed and James Stewart in this elite group.

But Villopoto has much to prove to himself as the series heads into Chase Field, Phoenix, Saturday evening; the Washington native has never won a SX race there.

Ryan Villopoto (Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450F) says: “We will keep pushing and moving forward to Phoenix this weekend. There are a lot of races left so we just need to keep on with our program and try to be consistent.”

There will be plenty of challenges for Villopoto at Chase Field, though, especially from the riders who joined him on the Anaheim I podium – Two-Two Motorsports/Bel-Ray Honda’s Chad Reed and Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, respectively.

Following Anaheim Supercross, Reed, who owns Two-Two Motorsports, earned his 115th podium finish in 142 career starts.

Chad Reed (Two-Two Motorsports Honda CR-F 450 Supercross) says: “I’m excited how the Anaheim opener turned out. The goal was to be on the podium and to have a shot at a win, and we achieved both. I was a little off the pace of Ryan (Villopoto) but, I feel we can make up that gap in the coming weeks.”

With his third-place finish, Dungey gave KTM its first-ever win in the AMA Supercross class.

Ryan Dungey (Red Bull KTM SX-F 450 Supercross) says: “Finishing on the podium at the Anaheim opener was definitely a great way to start the 2012 supercross season. It was an honor to deliver KTM their first-ever US podium in the Supercross Class last weekend and hopefully it’s the start of many more to come.

“Working with an all-new race bike usually takes a team quite a lot of time testing and developing before you start to see podium level results. However, right off the bat we have had no problems dialing in the new KTM 450 and after just a few short months of seat time on the new bike, we are already showing very positive results against a field of very experienced competitors.

“It’s definitely a testament to KTMs determination to produce a championship-contending bike and the team’s commitment to ongoing development that positioned us amongst the top finishers at Anaheim. I’m really motivated to get on the podium again this weekend in Phoenix.”

Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX’s James Stewart got into a scuffle with Dungey, but crashed, pushing the two-time Supercross Champion back to eventually finish sixth.

James Stewart (Toyota/Yamaha/JGRMX YZ450F Supercross) says: “We learned a lot last weekend in Anaheim,” said Stewart. “First race with the new team, their first race with a new rider, first time I’d been racing since last year’s supercross season. I mean that was our first real competition together, and in end, it wasn’t all the bad. We found some things with the bike and those will help. But, we got a taste of what the competition is going to be like this year, and I think we’re ready for more.”

The other main threat in the Supercross class is American Honda’s Trey Canard. The CR-F450R rider was injured during the pre-season, but has announced via Twitter that he’ll return in Phoenix.

On his Twitter page, Canard says: “Alright folks, After careful consideration, prayer and riding,I’m in for This weekend. I’m excited to get back out there and do some racing.”

In the Supercross Lites class, Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda’s Cole Seely took his third-career victory. He was joined on the podium by Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray and Honda’s Eli Tomac.

Cole Seely (Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda CR-F250R) says: “I am definitely excited. It’s great to come out on top at a race that gets so much hype. My main focus this year is consistency, as long as I stay consistent each week I think I can win the championship.”

All the action will be broadcast live on SPEED TV beginning at 9:30 p.m. EDT Saturday, Jan. 14.

AMA Supercross Class Season Standings (After one of 17 rounds):

1. Ryan Villopoto, Seattle, 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, Wildomar, ID., 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, Hilliard, Calif., Suzuki – 12

10. Josh Hansen, Elbert, Colo., Kawasaki – 11

Western Regional AMA 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, NM, Suzuki – 14

8. Wil Hahn, Decatur, Texas, Honda – 13

9. Zach Osborne, Chesterfield, SC, Yamaha – 12

10. Travis Baker, Temecula, Calif., Honda – 11