2013 Monster Energy AMA Supercross
This weekend, the 2013 Monster Energy Supercross series heads Northwest for round 15 of 17 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. For the man currently in the points lead, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto, the Washington round is a home race.
And Villopoto will be looking to redeem himself from last year’s race. During last season’s Seattle Supercross, Villopoto crashed, tearing up his ACL. Though he had already secured the championship, he was forced to miss the final two rounds of 2012 SX due to the injury.
As for 2013 Supercross, the KX450F rider began on a sour note, finishing 14th in Anaheim I. But since then, he took podium finishes 11 times, which included an impressive eight wins with five of those being consecutive.
But last week at Minneapolis Metrodome, Villopoto’s consecutive run of race wins came to a halt when the home favorite there, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, took his second win of the season. With the win in Minneapolis, which was absent from the AMA SX schedule since 2008, Dungey also took second in the championship point standings. The KTM SX-F 450 rider now trails Villopoto by 22 points with three rounds remaining.
This race for the championship was the top conversation at the pre-race conference ahead of Seattle Supercross. Following is the official pre-race report from Feld Motor Sports.
During last week’s Minneapolis Supercross, Minnesota native Ryan Dungey made his hometown proud when he used a come-from-behind performance to stop Villopoto’s streak. The enthusiastic crowd fueled Dungey’s fire as he reeled off his second win of the season and moved into second place in season standings.
“It was pretty amazing,” said Dungey following Saturday night’s race. “Even when I was two seconds behind him [Villopoto], the crowd was on their feet screaming as loud as they probably could. This win is very special … I have a lot of friends and family here.”
Dungey trailed Villopoto for the first 16 laps before he made his first pass that ignited a battle, but on Lap 17, Dungey made the final pass for the win.
“I was leading there and was feeling the pressure from him,” said Villopoto. “I really didn’t know where he was making up the time. I need to keep putting in solid performances like I did tonight.”
Prior to Minneapolis, Dungey earned four consecutive podium finishes and has an average finish of 3.4. What was the difference maker in Minneapolis that put him on the top spot?
“Since Indianapolis, the speed has been there and getting better every week,” added Dungey. “We just haven’t been able to capitalize and get the win. It was also important to be there [up front] from the start because I haven’t been up there. With tonight’s start, we were able to make a couple of passes really fast.”
Rockstar Energy Racing’s Davi Millsaps, who led the point standings through the first nine races, has been struggling with a knee injury. With a 3.5 average finish this year, the affects of the injury were obvious at the Daytona stop, where he finished a season-worse 10th place and handed the points race to Villopoto.
“We’ve got to go back and make a few tweaks on my bike and myself to improve and move forward,” said Millsaps after Minneapolis. “I just struggled a little bit tonight, all day, actually, in practice, in the heat and the main. Hopefully I can pull it together in the next race. It is definitely good to get another podium.
“I’m not complaining by any means. A lot of people are looking at the bad this year because I was in the points lead and now I’m in third. I’ve never led the points. I’ve never been on the podium nine times in one season. It’s really been an accomplishment for myself and my team to be up in the front as much as we are. I still feel like we’ve made a statement. We’re here and we’re not going anywhere, and we’re going to keep pushing to move forward.”
For the second consecutive week, Justin Barcia finished just shy of the podium with a fourth-place in the Main Event. “I’m not completely happy with how tonight went,” stated Barcia. “The track was pretty tough and had a lot of different lines. I’m tired of getting fourth; I want to be on the podium, and I want to win. I know I can, so I have some things I need to work on heading into Seattle.”
Despite undergoing knee surgery less than three weeks ago, TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed put in a solid performance, placing fifth overall.
“I wasn’t sure I was even going to be able to race tonight,” said Reed. “I wasn’t 100% since it has only been a few weeks since my surgery and my knee is still weak. I’m not disappointed with a fifth and we can definitely build off this.”
Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Trey Canard finish a respectable seventh-place overall. “I am grateful to be leaving here healthy and moving onto the next race,” said Canard after the race.
“Starts are so important and I didn’t get the best one tonight which made it difficult. I gave all my effort, which is all I can really do.”
Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart will miss the final three races of the season due to a wrist injury he suffered in Minneapolis.
“The decision to sit out of the last three races is a tough one for all of us,” said Stewart. “The supercross season hasn’t been going the best, but I’ve been having a great time racing, thanks to the fans and my Yoshimura Suzuki team. They’ve all been supporting me the whole time. So to have this last little injury – I hurt my wrist in the Heat Race and then again in the Main Event – was a disappointment. I think this is the smart decision for us overall, and now I am going to focus on recovering and getting ready for the motocross season.
Villopoto’s teammate Jake Weimer is also looking for success in Seattle. After a year littered with injury and bad luck, Weimer wants to finish strong.
“We are coming down to the end of the season and I want to get on the podium,” said Weimer. “I’ve had some good races where I felt I could compete for a podium spot and I want to taste the champagne before the end of the year.”
GEICO Honda rider Wil Hahn continued to put together consistently strong results Saturday night, grabbing another second-place finish. Hahn will enter the final race of the Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship in Las Vegas with a five-point lead over Marvin Musquin.
“I’m getting a little tired of finishing second, but fortunately we’ve had such a great season that we’re still in control over the title chase,” explained Hahn. “It’s right here in front of us now, and I am going all-in in Vegas. It’s going to come down to the wire, but being this close is really exciting. GEICO and Honda have been by my side this whole time and I really want to win this for all of them.”
With Musquin claiming his fourth win of the season, the championship scenario is set. If Musquin wins in Las Vegas, Hahn must finish second to win the title. If Musquin wins and Hahn finishes third, the title will go to Musquin by way of tie-breaker, which defaults to the rider with the most of wins.
In the 250SX Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray and Martin Davalos return to action after the break.
“It has been a long break, but I have been working hard,” said Davalos. “We started working on outdoor setups, but I still was putting in laps on the supercross track too. I’m looking forward to trying to get a win in these last three races.”
CBS will broadcast the 450SX race on Sunday, April 21 at 1 p.m. EDT, while SPEED will broadcast the 250SX race at 5:30 p.m. EDT.
For additional information, log onto SupercrossOnline.com, the official website of Monster Energy Supercross.