Supercross Insider Indianapolis

March 2, 2009
Coverage Provided by Vital MX

Indianapolis Supercross Track
The Mike LaRocco designed track proved difficult.

This week’s race in Indy featured a new venue, the shiny new Lucas Oil Stadium that replaced the now-imploded RCA Dome that was the site of the prior Indy Supercross events. 61,538 fans agreed, placing Indy among the top venues from an attendance standpoint.

With a spot for the paddock that was underneath the stadium, some teams opted to pit there, while others preferred the comfort and security of their own trucks…but it was a long haul back to the parking area if they needed parts.

As for the track itself, most riders agreed that it was one of the more technical tracks of the season. Being the local hero and past champ that he is, Mike LaRocco got the nod on the design, and he threw a little bit of everything at the riders, including a wicked section that featured a sand corner leading into a very long whoop section, which was capped by a wall jump at the exit. There was also a large double exiting the first turn (with a small jump that broke up the flow a little bit), and a very cool double in a left-hand corner that forced the riders into some extra style. Even the rhythm sections seemed to have quite a few options for making them work, so they definitely kept the riders on their toes.

Jason Lawrence - Indianapolis
Jason Lawrence making his return on a 450.

Boost Mobile / ampm / Monster Energy / Troy Racing’s Jason Lawrence was supposed to make his 450 debut in Indy, and while he did get in time in both practice sessions, a stomach muscle that was bothering him shortened his first practice session. After laying down the fifth-fastest time of the day in the second session, Jason got sick, and was too ill to compete, and the last we heard, he was seeking medical treatment. Will the enigmatic rider be in Daytona? That remains to be seen.

As for racing? Ah yes, and we had one of the more interesting Supercross main events of the season. Coming into the race, James Stewart had a three-point lead, and a seven-race win streak. But Chad Reed grabbed the holeshot and took his first win of the season…though James Stewart had one crash while closing on Reed, and another one later, after he’d passed Reed for the lead.

Chad Reed - Indianapolis
Reed (1) takes his first win of the season.

Reed’s win brought the series back to even, as the two riders are now tied at 199 points each. Following the race we talked to Chad, and he told us, “I had a terrible practice run today. I think we found some things with the bike that I needed to switch up a little bit. I think being patient tonight was the key, because I could have lost my mind after practice. I felt okay, but I wasn’t able to do it lap after lap and turn after turn. Obviously that’s a pretty important thing to have coming into the race. We made some cautious decisions, and hat’s off to all the guys (on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team). I think they all sat down and we all had to make good, smart choices.”

After qualifying in fourth spot, Reed and Stewart had actually already met in their heat race. Chad said, “I think being in the heat with James tonight actually helped us. I was able to get out with him and see the pace.”

Following the heat race, Chad had taken a good long look at the whoops, and he explained, “The whoops are something that I love, and they’re something that can make or break a race. I felt really good in them tonight. In the heat race I’d seen James making a lot of mistakes… I actually made quite a lot in the main event. It was just how it was. You had to be aggressive but cautious as well, because they could catch you off guard, and the sand before it made it real tough.”

As for the main event itself, he told us, “I think the important thing was getting that holeshot. I felt good on the start, and that’s important. All year long I’ve felt okay on the start, but just haven’t been in the right place at the right time.” He also confided, “To be honest with you I felt like I rode like crap out front. I just rode and was watching him. My times weren’t very good, and as soon as he got around me I just charged and rode better. He’s got seven wins in a row and I got second. It felt different to be out front and leading. So I just had to be patient and go through the process of learning how to be out front again.”

Reed  1  leading Stewart  7  - Indianapolis
After a few mistakes by Stewart (7), Reed (1) was able to establish a comfortable lead.

Once Stewart went by Reed, it was apparent that he wasn’t just going to let him go, and did his best to keep the pressure on. “As soon as he went past me I just put my head down and push… push in places that I was comfortable, and try to make the gap as little as possible in the places where he was really good. It worked out. I think that the lap that he crashed I was quite close to him there, and whether that played a role or not, who knows, but like I said at the beginning of the year to you, you’ve got to be in it to win it, and James is amazing. He’s fast and you can’t take anything away from him. He rode a solid race tonight, but I felt that I was in a good position when it counted.”

“Even though I’ve been getting seconds week in and week out, I feel like I’ve been pretty calm and confident knowing that there’s been some issues that I needed to work on with myself, and that was the main thing. I know that I’ve done the work, and it wasn’t that I wasn’t in shape or prepped well, or the bike was off or anything like that. I just didn’t feel like I was riding it well. When you’re in a situation like that, you can get confused and lost. I just tried to hold my head high and not go chasing something that wasn’t there, because I felt that it was me and no one else.”

After the main event, James Stewart explained his crashes like this. “I just lost the front end in the first one. It was really slippery over there all day, and I’d made a mistake over there earlier. On my part it was tough, because I felt like I had a good race in me and just lost it. On the second crash, I was never going to the inside all race, and I had to go there a couple times when he was behind me, and I just got too close to that bale. But I got too close and hit my front brake – a carbon copy of what happened two years ago.”

“Honestly, it was one-lined and everybody’s been talking about how you can’t pass, but it just shows that when you’ve got to get it done, you can get it done. At least I feel like I can. For me, the start was good, and everything else was good, but I was on the ground twice and lost by two seconds. That should say enough for me right there. I have the speed, I have endurance, I’ve just got to make some better decisions next time.”

When quizzed about the point standings being back to even again, James said, “As long as we’re not even in Vegas, I’m all right. I feel like I rode good tonight, and he rode really good. I made mistakes and that’s why I lost. I lost the race ’cause I lost the race. For me, that feels good. My Yamaha was working good. There were a few sketchy moments, but everyone was having sketchy moments. But again, the time I made up, three times or whatever it was, I’ve got to take that and run with it. I’m going to work hard like I always have, and come to Daytona prepared.”

Lites class Crash - Indianapolis
A nasty pile up in the first corner of the Lites class race.

One of the other cool moments of the night was Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mike Alessi scoring his first-ever 450 class podium.

In the Supercross Lites main event, it took two attempts to get it started. The first one was red-flagged after a huge first turn pileup that included a large chunk of the field. It appeared to start when Division 7 / Star Racing / Yamaha’s Darryn Durham clipped Christophe Pourcel. From there it was a chain reaction, and probably in the range of over half the pack was involved. Separate from the primary crash, the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki duo of Pourcel and Stroupe got tangled and went down, and Stroupe suffered some pretty nasty burns from a hot exhaust as he was in the melee.

Lites Podium - Indianapolis
Pourcel’s win streak was cut short by Austin Stroupe.

When they got the bikes untangled and lined up again, it was Pourcel jumping out front, but he was passed by Stroupe, who took over the lead on lap three. Austin hung on to the end, grabbing his first win of the season. Pourcel continues to lead the championship, and has a ten-point lead over Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Nico Izzi, who finished third on the night.

Next week the series moves to Daytona, where the race will be on Saturday night under the lights at the famed superspeedway. Be sure to check back here for full coverage.


2009 Monster Energy Supercross
Indianapolis, IN

Supercross Lites Heat 1
1. Wil Hahn
2. Darryn Durham
3. Levi Kilbarger
4. Phil Nicoletti
5. Austin Stroupe
6. Jacob Saylor
7. Kyle Keylon
8. Brad Ripple
9. Martin Davalos

Supercross Lites Heat 2
1. Nico Izzi
2. Steven Clarke
3. Branden Jesseman
4. Christophe Pourcel
5. Daniel Blair
6. Vince Friese
7. Matt Lemoine
8. Shane Sewell
9. Ryan Smith

Supercross Heat 1
1. Davi Millsaps
2. Mike Alessi
3. Ryan Villopoto
4. Kevin Windham
5. Timmy Ferry
6. Ivan Tedesco
7. Michael Byrne
8. Nick Wey
9. Matt Boni

Supercross Heat 2
1. James Stewart
2. Chad Reed
3. Andrew Short
4. Benjamin Coisy
5. Ryan Sipes
6. Tyler Bowers
7. Broc Hepler
8. Heath Voss
9. Josh Grant

Supercross Lites LCQ
1. Kyle Gills
2. Tyler Wharton

Supercross LCQ
1. Josh Hill
2. Robert Kiniry

Supercross Lites Main Event
1. Austin Stroupe (Kawasaki)
2. Christophe Pourcel (Kawasaki)
3. Nico Izzi (Suzuki)
4. Branden Jesseman (Kawasaki)
5. Steven Clarke (Suzuki)
6. Levi Kilbarger (Honda)
7. Daniel Blair (Honda)
8. Matt Lemoine (Yamaha)
9. Shane Sewell (Yamaha)
10. Kyle Keylon (Honda)
11. Vince Friese (Honda)
12. Brad Ripple (Honda)
13. Kyle Gills (Kawasaki)
14. Ryan Smith (Suzuki)
15. Wil Hahn (KTM)
16. Jacob Saylor (Yamaha)
17. Tyler Wharton (Honda)
18. Phil Nicoletti (Honda)
19. Darryn Durham (Yamaha)
20. Martin Davalos (KTM)

Supercross Main Event
1. Chad Reed (Suzuki)
2. James Stewart (Yamaha)
3. Mike Alessi (Suzuki)
4. Josh Grant (Yamaha)
5. Ivan Tedesco (Honda)
6. Benjamin Coisy (Honda)
7. Davi Millsaps (Honda)
8. Michael Byrne (Suzuki)
9. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki)
10. Timmy Ferry (Kawasaki)
11. Andrew Short (Honda)
12. Matt Boni (Honda)
13. Heath Voss (Honda)
14. Ryan Sipes (KTM)
15. Josh Hill (Yamaha)
16. Nick Wey (Yamaha)
17. Robert Kiniry (Kawasaki)
18. Tyler Bowers (Honda)
19. Broc Hepler (Yamaha)
20. Kevin Windham (Honda)

Supercross Lites East Point Standings
1. Christophe Pourcel 72
2. Nico Izzi 62
3. Austin Stroupe 57
4. Wil Hahn 36
5. Martin Davalos 35
6. Steven Clarke 35
7. Blake Wharton 34
8. Matt Lemoine 29
9. Daniel Blair 26

Supercross Point Standings
1. James Stewart 199
2. Chad Reed 199
3. Andrew Short 150
4. Josh Grant 138
5. Ryan Villopoto 138
6. Ivan Tedesco 132
7. Davi Millsaps 116
8. Mike Alessi 113
9. Kevin Windham 112
10. Timmy Ferry 98

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