Stroupe's Super on his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki in New Orleans Austin Stroupe returned to the top step of the podium inside the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans dominating the main event on his way to his second win of the season....
Stroupe's Super on his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki in New Orleans
Austin Stroupe returned to the top step of the podium inside the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans dominating the main event on his way to his second win of the season. His Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teammate Christophe Pourcel fought his way through the field to finish fourth. Joining Stroupe on the podium was Canidae/Motosport/Kawasaki's Branden Jesseman. After winning his heat race, Jesseman rode a smart main event to score the runner-up finish. In the AMA Supercross class, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto finished ninth while Timmy Ferry missed the race after undergoing surgery on his fractured heel.
From the drop of the starting gate Stroupe controlled the main event. After flying out to take the holeshot, the 18-year-old began gapping the field as he pulled out a five-second lead. Once he built the lead, he rode consistent lap times to maintain the advantage. Stroupe's win in New Orleans is the third of his career.
"I did what I wanted to do tonight," said Stroupe. "I got the holeshot and put in some fast laps right at the beginning. I knew I had to ride smart and I was able to have a good race. Branden (Jesseman) rode strong all night and I knew I had to keep putting in good laps because he was back there."
After looking fast in afternoon practice, Jesseman got a good start in his heat race and rode to the Canidae/Motosport/Kawasaki team's first-ever heat race win. Riding the momentum of the heat win, Jesseman continued to impress in the main event, staying close to Stroupe while building a 13-second lead over third place.
"It's a great night for the Canidae/Motosport/Kawasaki team," said Jesseman. "I was happy to get them the heat win and also get up on the podium. It feels good to be up there. I've been working hard and I still want to go out there and win one."
Under the Weather
Villopoto was still feeling the effects of flu-like symptoms in New Orleans as the rookie rider gutted out a ninth-place finish. After getting through the first turn in last place, Villopoto steadily worked his way into the top 10.
"I didn't get a good start," said Villopoto. "It took me a while to get by some guys and I worked up to ninth place. It really wasn't the night I was looking for. I'm not feeling as good as I could and I was tired. It's a long season and that's something that is different for me and I have to deal with it."
It was a difficult evening for Pourcel as he rocketed out of the starting gate in his heat race, but was taken out by another rider. After getting up in 15th position, the French rider concentrated on getting into the main event. With just six laps in the heat race, Pourcel pushed his way into sixth place by the checkered flag to earn a transfer spot to the main event. In the main event, a slow start put Pourcel near the back of the pack again. After finding some passing opportunities and different lines in the heat race, Pourcel moved his way into fourth just missing out on a podium finish.
"My goal every week is to win the race," said Pourcel. "In the heat race I got a good start. Then someone ghost rode into me so I had to fight my way into the main. It was difficult coming up through the pack. There were guys going everywhere and I had to be patient and work by them as best I could. I just went out and worked hard to finish fourth and focused on getting as many points as possible."
After crashing on the first lap of the main event last week, Stroupe came back in New Orleans determined to get back on the podium.
"This week was a lot better than last," said Stroupe. "It wasn't any fun not racing in the main after the crash. It feels good to win and move forward from there. I'm just trying to make up as many points as I can."
The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team has won all five East Coast AMA Supercross Lites races. Combined with its efforts on the West Coast where they have won another three events, the team is proving the potential of the all-new 2009 Kawasaki KX 250F.
"My Kawasaki is the best bike ever," said Pourcel. "We all work really hard to win and everyone on the team wants to win every week. I'm really happy to be riding with the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team."
Once he saw the layout during the track walk, Stroupe knew he had to get a good start to get on the podium. The track's tight design left just a few passing opportunities and that dictated the strategy he would use during the event.
"It was a really technical track," said Stroupe. "I knew if I could get the holeshot and then put in good laps, it would be hard for anyone to catch up."
Once he got through the first turn, Villopoto knew he had a difficult task ahead of him as he had 20 laps to make his way to the front. The technical track rewarded patience and smooth riding and the rookie rider showed both traits as he worked his way through the field.
"The track was difficult tonight," said Villopoto. "It was tough to work my way up, but I expect to be racing at the front so I had to try and get there. I'm going to work on some things and put in some laps to get back up on the podium."
At selected events throughout the season, the race team visits Kawasaki dealers the Friday night before the race to meet fans and sign autographs. This weekend the team went to D&L Powersports just outside of New Orleans. With Ferry injured last week at Daytona, the team was a man down for the autograph session. Luckily, a young fan helped out as Sophia took a seat and started signing her name to Ferry's autograph cards for the fans. Though it was her first autograph session, she fit right in with the other riders.