Monster Energy Kawasaki Battles through Los Angeles

Supercross/Motocross | 1/23/2012

Irvine, Calif. (January 23, 2012) - The weather was expected to play a hand in Saturday night's Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series event at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif., but the heated competition left the technical track dry and slippery. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Dean Wilson battled for 15 laps to finish second while teammate and early points leader, Tyla Rattray would finish just off the podium in fourth. Monster Energy Kawasaki's Jake Weimer grabbed the holeshot and lead the first five laps before crashing while trying to hold the top spot, he recovered to finish 11th. Weimer's teammate Ryan Villopoto was forced to come through the pack for the second consecutive week, and captured fourth after riding off the track on the first lap. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Broc Tickle had his best showing yet in the supercross class, finishing eighth in one of the most highly competitive fields to date.

[Determined to Win
After the first round in Anaheim, Calif., Wilson started his season with a deficit of 10 points. After two consecutive podium finishes, he now sits just one point back from the leader in the supercross lites points standings. Wilson got off to a top-10 start and immediately started pushing forward. By the end of the first lap, he had made his way into fourth and had some time to make up on the leaders if he was to finish on the podium. By the half way mark, Wilson made the pass for third with second place within striking distance. He stalked second, trying to push him into a mistake, and with three laps remaining was able to cut inside to take the position. The highly competitive Wilson is never pleased with anything short of a win, but is content that the championship is back within reach.

"Nothing feels as good as winning," said Wilson. "But second was good for me, it fuels the motivation for the week when I'm training in the gym and riding. I was struggling to piece together some of the sections like I knew I could. The track showed me some things I need to work on. After training a little bit different this week, I'm already excited to get back into my routine, work on my starts, and go to Oakland for the first time."

[Deja-vu
Last week in Phoenix, Ariz., Villopoto rode an incredible race to come from last place to third. After the first lap of the main event in Los Angeles, Calif., Villopoto once again found himself at the back of the pack. He was confident in his speed as he qualified first and won his heat race, but passing 17 riders is a different story. Just like last week, he steadily made his way through the field with a podium finish looking possible. He reeled in third place with a few laps remaining, but struggled to find a spot to make the pass on the tight track and would settle for fourth.

Over the past two rounds, Villopoto has had to make a total of 28 passes and now sits tied for second place in the points standings, just four points back from the leader.

"I made a mistake on the first lap and jumped off the track after the triple," said Villopoto. "I was last yet again and just had to pass as many people as I could. Fourth is all right, but isn't going to cut it. This track was a lot harder to pass on than last weekend and it would have been a fun track to race on up front. We have shown that my fitness and the speed of my KX™450F are there, so I just need to dial my starts this week."

[Red Plate
Rattray came into the weekend baring red backgrounds on his Kawasaki KX(tm)250F to identify him as the points leader of the supercross lites class. In his heat race, Rattray got a poor start and struggled to make up ground. His fifth-place finish gave him a poor gate pick for the main event. Despite his bad gate, Rattray blasted out of the gate and rounded the first lap right behind his teammate in fifth. He would battle back in fourth to maintain position and on lap 10 was handed fourth when a rider went down. Rattray would finish in fourth, just off the podium, which drops him to third in points.

"My result was not what I was looking for tonight," said Rattray. "I cased a triple and went off the track in the heat race, which left me with a bad gate in the main event. The track was really tough to pass on, and if you tried to be too aggressive the slippery conditions could cost you. We are still in the championship hunt, which is important; we just need to minimize the mistakes."

[A Step in the Right Direction
The competition in the supercross class is so fierce that many top riders are finding themselves in the last chance qualifiers or watching the main event from the sidelines. Tickle was one of the spectators last weekend and was looking for redemption at Dodger Stadium. The potential for rain forced promoters to shorten the practice and qualifying schedule, giving the riders only one 12-minute practice. Tickle quickly dialed-in the technical track, qualifying 12th. In the main event, he got off to a great start in sixth position and was able to match the pace of the top-five. A small bobble allowed a few riders by and Tickle would cross the finish line in eighth place.

"This weekend showed that my goal of a top-five finish is right within reach," said Tickle. "I didn't feel that I rode great tonight but I was having fun again, so if I ride to my potential and continue to start up front we'll make progress towards to the front. We're going to be testing some different suspension settings on my KX450F this week so I'm excited to head back to Oakland. "

[Welcome to the Big Boys
It's safe to say that Weimer is real contender in the supercross class. After a career-high second-place finish at Chase Field a week ago, Weimer continued on where he left off. In the main event, Weimer ripped a flawless start to grab the holeshot and quickly tried to inch away from the pack. He would lead for a quarter of the race before being challenged for the lead. Once in second, Weimer was still running a comfortable pace with the leaders and looked to have another podium finish until being blocked hard in the corner before the triple, forcing him down. Weimer would re-mount in 14th place, but could only make it back to 11th before the checkered flag.

"Tonight's track was tough to pass on and unfortunately I fell victim to that," said Weimer. "But I don't want to dwell on it, it's a long season and I felt really good up front. For me, it was a little bit easier to have someone to pace off of and I think I would have been on the podium tonight if I hadn't gone down."

[Red Flag
In the supercross main event the race had to be restarted before completing one lap when two riders came together over the triple. This was beneficial for many who might of gotten poor starts but was unfortunate for Villopoto and Weimer as they held first and second, respectively.

"I didn't expect to have to do two starts tonight which is unfortunate, but much more unfortunate for those that were injured," said Villopoto. "It's part of our sport and I wish the best for both guys that got hurt."

[Stormy Forecast
Coming into the weekend, the weatherman had called for a storm to hit in the early evening hours, but he may have been referring to the storm on the track. The top three on both leaderboards are separated by less than five points with many more title contenders behind. The series heads to Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, Calif. for Round 4 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series. There is always a chance of rain in Oakland, Calif., but the rider's will be ready for anything Mother Nature has to throw at them.

Results
Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship
Dodger Stadium - Los Angeles, Calif.
January 21, 2012

******[AMA Supercross Results**
1. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Honda
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM
3. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
4. RYAN VILLOPOTO, SEATTLE, WASH., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI
5. Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki
6. Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha
7. JOSH HANSEN, ELBERT, COLO., DODGE/HART &HUNTINGTON KAWASAKI
8. BROC TICKLE, HOLLY, MINN., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
9. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda
10. Mike Alessi, Hillard, Calif., Suzuki
11. JAKE WEIMER, WILDOMAR, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI
12. KYLE CHISHOLM, VAIRICO, FLA., JWR KAWASAKI
13. NICK WEY, MURRIETA, CALIF., KAWASAKI
14. Andrew Short, Smithville, Tex., Honda
15. WESTON PEICK, WILDOMAR, CALIF., KAWASAKI

AMA Supercross Lites Results
1. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda
2. DEAN WILSON, MENIFEE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
3. Zach Osborne, Chesterville, S.C., Yamaha
4. TYLA RATTRAY, WILDOMAR, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
5. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Suzuki
6. Max Anstie, Hemet, Calif., Honda
7. Michael Leib, Menifee, Calif., Honda
8. Matt Moss, Sussex inlet, N.S., Aus., Suzuki
9. Martin Davalos, Cairo, Ga., Suzuki
10. Billy Laninovich, Riverside, Calif., Honda

AMA Supercross Points Standings
1. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 67 pts.
2. RYAN VILLOPOTO, SEATTLE, WASH., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 63
3. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Honda, 63
4. JAKE WEIMER, WILDOMAR, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 48
5. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha, 48
6. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda, 43
7. Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki, 38
8. Andrew Short, Smithville, Tex., Honda, 36
9. JOSH HANSEN, ELBERT, COLO., DODGE/HART &HUNTINGTON KAWASAKI, 36
10. Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Yamaha, 28

AMA Supercross Lites Points Standings
1. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 63 pts.
2. DEAN WILSON, MENIFEE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 62
3. TYLA RATTRAY, WILDOMAR, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 60
4. Cole Seely, Murrieta, Calif., Honda, 47
5. Zach Osborne, Chesterville, S.C., Yamaha, 47
6. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Suzuki, 44
7. Marvin Musquin, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 42
8. Max Anstie, Hemet, Calif., Honda, 32
9. Nico Izzi, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha, 32
10. Billy Laninovich, Riverside, Calif., Honda, 27