2012 Monster Energy Cup
At Friday’s Monster Energy Cup press conference, TwoTwo Motorsport’s Chad Reed says he can’t lie, he’s not really racing for the million dollars at the 2012 Monster Energy Cup at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas.
While Reed may just be happy to be back racing on two wheels after suffering catastrophic injuries in a February crash and looking to test out his new bike, last year’s defending Cup holder Ryan Villopoto, and this year’s AMA Motocross champion Ryan Dungey both sound hungry. Like Reed, Villopoto returns to racing after recovering from injuries sustained during the SX season and this is the first race back for both.
Commenting on the track designed by former multi-time Supercross and Motocross champion Ricky Carmichael, Villopoto expressed concern that the split start, with two 11-rider gates sending the racers down two Monster Alleys, too-quickly merges the riders together without enough of a berm between them. The 2012 Supercross champion hopes for no pile-ups.
Having had just two weeks on his KTM before the inaugural Monster Energy Cup last year, Dungey comes into Saturday’s race as perhaps the best-prepared rider, having ridden uninjured for most of the 2012 race season. Dungey recently lead Team USA to a third place finish in the Motocross of Nations.
Justin Brayton, who rode the 2012 Supercross and Motocross seasons for Muscle Milk Honda, returns to the tuning fork as part of the Joe Gibbs Racing Yamaha for 2013. Brayton says he is comfortable on the YZ450F and looks forward to racing it again.
Moving up to the premier class for 2013, Justin Barcia is looking forward to racing against guys he’s never raced before at Saturday’s Monster Energy Cup. Barcia, a two-time AMA East Regional Supercross Champion, will be riding a CRF450R for Muscle Milk Honda.
He acknowledged the difficulty of going up against strong competition and welcomes the challenge. Adam Cianciarulo, the celebrated mini rider, will step up to the big bikes for the first time at the Monster Energy Cup. Cianciarulo will be riding a Kawasaki KX250F in the Super Amateurs class. While sitting next to Villopoto, Dungey, Barcia, Reed, and Brayton, Cianciarulo acknowledged the pressure of moving up. Villopoto also recalled his transition from mini rider to a racer of full-sized motocross bikes.
In exciting news for young riders, Todd Jendro from Feld Motorsports announced that KTM’s Junior Supercross Challenge will be returning to Monster Energy Supercross in selected markets after a five-year hiatus. Ryan Dungey recalled riding in the event as a nine-year-old in 1999 and finishing second. A website, http://www.ktmjrsx.com, has been set-up for those interested in entering.