Phoenix: Kawasaki Racing race report

Weimer Leads Monster Energy Kawasaki Desert Storm Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Jake Weimer won for the second straight week in the supercross lites class, this time in dramatic fashion as he took the lead with just a little more than...

Weimer Leads Monster Energy Kawasaki Desert Storm

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Jake Weimer won for the second straight week in the supercross lites class, this time in dramatic fashion as he took the lead with just a little more than one lap to go at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz. His teammate Josh Hansen rocketed out to the main event holeshot, but crashed in the second corner. After a stop in the mechanics area, Hansen rejoined the race and finished 20th. In the supercross class, Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Ryan Villopoto won his heat race and returned to the podium in the main event where he finished second, while Chad Reed crashed early injuring his left hand and finished 19th.

Finishing Strong
Weimer's race didn't start the way he wanted, but a late race charge moved him from a podium position to the top of the box. In the final four laps, Weimer moved from third to first to secure his second win of the season.

"At the beginning of the race I was excited and got my heart rate really high," said Weimer. "I was missing my lines and it was a tough track. Once Morais got by me, I just tucked in on his rear fender and we both got up to Wharton. At one point I thought maybe I could get second, and as the race progressed I started hitting good lines and I knew I could get the win."

Coming off a fifth place finish in Anaheim, Villopoto was ready to get back on the podium. After posting the fifth fastest time in practice, the Washington native won his heat race and then got a good start and rode a steady race to finish second.

"It feels good to get back on the podium," said Villopoto. "It hasn't been a lot of races for me, but it has been a long time after not racing this summer. I didn't get the result I wanted at Anaheim, but now that we got on the podium, we want to stay there. The Phoenix track is normally slippery. I knew I just had to be consistent with my lap times. I'm happy with how I rode today. I would make up a lot of time in the whoop section. It was a good night. I lost my energy just a little bit and I'll be back into racing shape as the season moves forward. I know I'm not very far off."

Tough Night
After practice and his heat race, Reed was poised to return to the podium, but a crash in the main event sent him to the medical center with a broken hand. Reed was mired in the pack and looking to move up when he got together with James Stewart.

"I went in on the inside and James was on the outside," said Reed. "He turned down really quick to pass a couple of guys and I had nowhere to go. We collided and went down and that's when I broke my hand. This season has been difficult. It is hard to put into words how I feel. My personal life is great right now, I'm so happy. I'm about to be a dad. My professional life is a struggle right now finishing 19th the last two races. I've never been in this position before, but I want to get to 100% healthy and come back strong."

At Phoenix, Hansen showed he had the speed to win, setting the fastest lap time in practice, winning his heat race and even grabbing the holeshot in the main event. A small mistake sent him crashing off the track.

"I tripled into the first rhythm section and came up short," said Hansen. "A couple of guys came up on me, but I was still in the lead. I just tucked the front wheel and it jabbed me in the stomach and flipped me over the bars. That was pretty much the end of my race. I still went out and did some laps, but my race was over on the first lap. I was fastest in practice and I won my heat race. I think I should have won the main, so I was kind of bummed out. I did have a good day today, the main just didn't go my way."

Making a Move
On the slippery track in Phoenix, Weimer had to pick his spots to make passes. As the laps were winding down, Weimer stayed patient and took advantage of every opportunity to get into the lead.

"It looked like Morais was a little quicker than Wharton," said Weimer. "I thought he would make a move. Usually when two people are pretty close in speed, when one of them makes a pass they both usually slow down. So I knew I would have a chance to at least move up one spot. I ran Morais up high on the berm and just squared up the turn to take the lead."

Launching Pad
One of the keys to success in supercross is getting a good start and so far this season Villopoto has been able to get out of the starting gate near the front of the field.

"My Kawasaki KX 450F is awesome off the gate," said Villopoto. "My starts have been good so far this year. Because the pace is so fast, it is important to be at the front and not have to fight through the field. I want to get a couple of those holeshot awards."

-source: kawasaki

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About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Chad Reed , James Stewart , Jake Weimer , Ryan Villopoto