Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki Scores Second-Straight Double Podium in Anaheim Monster Energy/Pro/Circuit/Kawasaki's second trip to Angels Stadium in Anaheim produced similar results to its first as Ryan Morais and Jake Weimer both ...
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki Scores Second-Straight Double Podium in Anaheim
Monster Energy/Pro/Circuit/Kawasaki's second trip to Angels Stadium in Anaheim produced similar results to its first as Ryan Morais and Jake Weimer both visited the podium on Saturday night. Morais jumped out to the holeshot in the main event and held on to finish second, just one spot ahead of his teammate Weimer. In the supercross class, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto earned the best finish of his young career, finishing fourth. His teammate Timmy Ferry was eighth.
For the third straight race, Morais finished on the podium. After rocketing to the holeshot in the main event on his Kawasaki KX?250F, he led the first three laps and held on to match his career best finish of second.
"I didn't have the greatest jump," said Morais. "I just thought, I'm better off holding it on and trying to risk going wide, rather than staying in the middle of the pack with the way the turns were, especially where they split. That is the first holeshot of my career in a main event and the first time I've ever led a main event so it is a big step for me and I feel like I did well tonight."
New Training Program
Morais was unable to ride during the week leading up to the race as a flu bug sidelined him, keeping him on the couch and in his house. His preseason preparations paid off, as he didn't seem to miss a beat on his way to the podium.
"Considering everything I have gone through this week," said Morais. "I didn't ride at all since the race in Phoenix. I've just been on the couch sleeping trying to get over what I have. Today was the first day I got off the couch and got out of the house. I've done this before, but it never worked out this well. I'm just thankful for this team and everyone working so hard."
Though Villopoto has only three supercross class races under his belt, he showed the competition he is ready to compete for wins. The 20-year-old put together a solid race and stayed at the front throughout the 20-lap main.
"It was a good night," said Villopoto. "I was able to run all night with the guys up front. I went into the main and got a good gate pick and a good start. I was right there in fourth. I got past Josh (Grant) and I was working on Kevin (Windham). The track was tough. It was hard to pass and to make a pass you had to really set it up. I wasn't able to get Kevin and I saw Chad (Reed) catching me and I was tightening up a little bit. I was able to finish fourth. I'm making progress, but we are still not where we want to be."
Weimer joined Morais on the podium finishing third in the main event. For the third race in a row, Weimer went out and won his heat race, this time grabbing the holeshot. With his performance in the main event, Weimer sits third in the points standings.
"Winning the heat gave me some confidence," said Weimer. "I want to win every race I start. My speed and everything is there, but tonight just wasn't my night. As soon as we stepped foot on the track for the track walk, I wasn't psyched about the track. I understand everyone has to ride it and everyone has to deal with it, but it just didn't fit me. I didn't feel good and I'm just going to have to come back at the next race ready to lay wood."
Ferry got out of the starting gate well, but was bottled up in the first tight section coming out in 11th. He was able to make some early passes and was charging to get up into the top five before a fall cost him time.
"My lap times were good," said Ferry. "I feel like I rode well. I fell out there. I just washed the front end out. I was riding behind Ivan (Tedesco) and Andrew (Short) and I thought I could get both of them and get up to sixth. I would have been happy with that. The track was tough; it was hard to pass out there. Eighth just isn't too good. When I see that, I feel like I have better speed than that and I need to be in the top five."
Morais' lack of riding during the week changed his strategy a little to try and sprint out and then hold on for the best finish he could get. The strategy paid off as Morais earned his third podium of the season and moved up to second in the championship standings, just six points back of the leader.
"I rode as hard as I could for the first seven laps," said Morais. "Then I started getting pretty tired and I was coughing. I saw I had a gap back to Jake, so I took a couple of laps to regroup and then got back after it. Jake got caught up in some lappers, which gave me a break as well."
Supercross track design is almost as much of an art as it is a science and the racing has been exciting all year. It seems track design is helping to keep the racing close. Ferry is in his 17th supercross season and he knows the racing is as close as its been in a while.
"You can almost say the first three races this year have been on some of the tightest track I've ever raced on," said Ferry. "This track, I'm not really sure what to think of it. It had some neat sections, and it had some sections that I thought didn't make a lot of sense. Part of racing is being able to adapt to the track and the racing was close. I could hear the fans yelling during the race so you know they were excited. My fastest lap was less than a second off of the winners and I finished eighth, so you know there is some good racing on the track."
Villopoto's best finish of the season came as he debuted his Thor signature gear. Dressed in a stylish design incorporating his race number on his pants and sleeves, Villopoto looked as good as he raced.
"I really like having a signature gear," said Villopoto. "Riding on the Pro Circuit team, we all had to wear the same stuff, same colors, so it was cool to be able to pick out the style and color I wanted. Having the number two on the leg made it special. It was my first time wearing a signature gear and it was cool."
With the tight track, getting out of the starting gate well was paramount to getting a good finish. Ferry got his best start of the year, but as the tight first turn funneled into a split section, Ferry was squeezed into the slower line.
"I feel like I got down to the first turn pretty well," said Ferry. "I just got banged around and got the short end of the stick. I was probably about five spots higher than where I came out. I tried to be as aggressive as possible, but it was really one lined."
Extra Half Lap
The track layout for the second of three events gave the riders a little extra time to race. Because the finish line was located close to the start the first lap of each race didn't start until the leader crossed the finish line. That meant each race went an extra half lap through the tightest section as well as the technical rhythm section.