Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki Starts Supercross Season Strong in Anaheim Irvine, Calif. -- Monster Energy Kawasaki kicked off the new year with fresh faces in familiar places at Angels Stadium in Anaheim. Monster ...
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki Starts Supercross Season Strong in Anaheim
Irvine, Calif. -- Monster Energy Kawasaki kicked off the new year with fresh faces in familiar places at Angels Stadium in Anaheim. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's newest riders Jake Weimer and Ryan Morais swept the top two podium spots in the AMA Supercross Lites class at the first round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM Championship. Weimer earned his second career win with Morais grabbing his career best finish. In the AMA Supercross class, Ryan Villopoto won his first ever 450cc race, claiming his heat and finished his debut main event in fifth. Villopoto's Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate Timmy Ferry finished fourth.
One for One
Weimer joined Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki over the off season and at the first race of the season he showed he is a good fit the team.
"I couldn't have started the season any better," said Weimer. "Coming into Anaheim 1 with a new team is tough and this is how I wanted the season to start. It takes a lot of weight off my shoulders, there is a lot of pressure that comes with riding for the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team, and with Ryan (Morais) finishing second is awesome."
Villopoto's supercross class debut was one of the storylines heading into the 2009 season and the 20-year-old did not disappoint. In the heat race Villopoto rocketed into the first turn to take the holeshot and led wire to wire to claim the heat race victory. During the main event, Villopoto also showed his skills, earning a top-five finish in his first race.
"The night went pretty good for me," said Villopoto. "I won my qualifier which was great. In the main I got a bad start and then fell, so I had to work my way back up. It's not the way I wanted to start the season, but overall it was a decent night."
Villopoto wasn't the only one making a debut at Anaheim 1. The 2009 Kawasaki KX?450F started its first race and won in its debut. The new model features electronic fuel injection as well as a refined chassis to improve the handling on an already championship caliber bike.
"The fuel injection on the Kawasaki KX 450F is awesome. I love it," said Ferry. "It really makes a difference for us in supercross, I can't even imagine riding a carbureted 450F bike anymore. The new chassis on the Kawasaki is good too and I'm pretty excited for the rest of the season. We have a good solid bike and a great team."
After a great heat race, Morais was excited for the main event. Though he didn't get the holeshot, he rode a smart race to earn his best career finish.
"The main event was awesome," said Morais. "I wanted to get the holeshot, so I just dumped the clutch and got a little crazy out of the gate. I came out in about sixth and I just tried to stay patient and make good decisions. I was riding hard and getting close to the lead. I started to get excited. I just tried too hard and started making mistakes with the lappers. I just settled back in and held on for second. It is such a great feeling, and I feel like a huge weight is off my shoulders."
While his teammate Villopoto was making his supercross class debut, Ferry was starting his 13th season in the class. With that experience comes the knowledge that it is a long season and consistency typically pays off.
"This is a really good result," said Ferry. "Coming in I said I wanted to get in the top five. I'm riding well and this is a long series. I rode really well in the heat race and finished second. There are 17 races and fourth place is a good way to start."
In the first supercross lites heat race, both Morais and Weimer were lined up on the gate and it was Morais who shot out to holeshot and the early lead.
"The heat race was great," said Morais. "I ripped the holeshot and I was over the first double going into the whoops and I was like 'wow, I can't believe I got the holeshot.' I got really excited leading and started riding a little tight and Jake was able to get by me, but going one-two in the heat race was awesome."
During the heat race Weimer and Morais battled for the top spot, racing each other clean but still both fighting for the win. Weimer was able to pass Morais without incident and both of them earned good gate picks for the main event.
"I've done that in the past, I got carried away because everyone wants to win," said Weimer. "When you're in second you want to get that next guy. I was careful and I didn't want to bump him. The most important thing in the heat race is to qualify for the main event."
One of the secrets to getting supercross wins is learning something every time you're on the track. Weimer knew that and after not getting a good start in his heat race, he worked with the team to improve his technique.
"In the heat race, I didn't get off the line as good as I wanted too," said Weimer. "Before the main we talked about it and I made a few adjustments and it worked out great. I was right there for the holeshot and just missed it, but I stayed calm and made the pass. I rode as smart as I could and took it to the checkers."
Though he is listed as a rookie, Villopoto rode like a veteran during the race, overcoming an early fall to work his way toward the front.
"It's definitely tough," said Villopoto. "Your heart rate spikes and it really throws a wrench in the program. I tensed up a little during the main, but I knew I could salvage a good finish."