In front of a near capacity crowd in Phoenix the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series returned with Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey securing the first-ever win for his team. The former champ pulled the holeshot and ran away with all 20 laps as Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer and Ryan Villopoto rounded out the podium.
Dungey had the holeshot by a mile ahead of Weimer and Honda’s Kevin Windham. Major drama took place early as RV and JGRMX Yamaha’s James Stewart both suffered bad starts, followed shortly after with Villopoto crashing in the sand section along with Hart & Huntington’s Ivan Tedesco. Meanwhile Dungey was putting his excellent throttle control to good use up front over Phoenix’s slick surface. Before the close of the opening lap Weimer, Windham and Yamaha’s Davi Millsaps were all fighting for runner-up as Palmetto Suzuki’s Jimmy Alberston had to pull out of the race early.
Further back Honda’s Trey Canard was pressuring Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe for fourth. As Villopoto recovered back in 15th, Alessi was off the track and also recovering from a fall. TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed began the fight inside the top-10, the Aussie pushing hard to overtake Canard as Stewart closed in behind. RD5 continued to gain distance while riding his own race up front as another classic battle between Reed and Stewart was taking shape. In typical JS7 fashion, however, Stewart knifed the front end in the sand and went down, falling all the way back to 14th.
Reed hardly had time to breathe, however, before Villopoto was attacking him for seventh. The Aussie wasn’t able to keep up his defense for long as RV flew ahead and quickly went after L&M Honda’s Andrew Short. For the second week
in a row Short’s defense proved strong as RV consumed time finding his way around the Colorado native. After doing so, RV was gaining ground on Canard and Windham as Stewart began to reel in Hart & Huntington Kawasaki’s Josh Hansen for 10th.
In the final laps Villopoto continued to improve his position by passing K-Dub for third. For the first time in history the checkers waved for KTM as Dungey finished more than six seconds ahead.
“This was a big step in right direction for KTM,” said Dungey. “They’ve been behind me the whole way and believed in me. We’ve come a long way since the off-season, but there’s still a lot of racing to go. I got off to a great start and (moved) into the lead early, which made it nice on myself. If it wasn’t for all these people (at KTM) working their butts off every week, this wouldn’t happen, so I owe this all to them.”
Weimer earned his best-ever finish in the Supercross class in second, followed less than two seconds later by Villopoto. In the end the defending champ made the best of a bad situation by going from last all the way up to third.
“It was a tough night,” said Villopoto. “Ivan Tedesco went down in front of me in the sand and I went right into him. It happened on first lap, and when that happens, you have your work cut out (for you). There are 20 laps to do it, so you’ve got to make quick work of it. The bike was working great though. I salvaged a lot of points tonight, so it was good.”
It was also a strong ride for Windham as the veteran improved from his eighth-place finish in the opening round. Reed rounded out the top-five riders – the former champ distinctly lacking enthusiasm in his performance at Phoenix. Following his crash, Stewart ended the night in eighth as he continued to struggle with his consistency. Also worthy of mention is Canard’s seventh place result after returning from injury.
Phoenix AMA Supercross Results:
1. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
2. Jake Weimer (Kawasaki)
Villopoto’s bad luck in Phoenix was off-set by his determination as the defending champ rode well to finish on the podium.
3. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki)
4. Kevin Windham (Honda)
5. Chad Reed (Honda)
6. Andrew Short (Honda)
7. Trey Canard (Honda)
8. James Stewart (Yamaha)
9. Brett Metcalfe (Suzuki)
10. Josh Hansen (Kawasaki)
11. Ivan Tedesco (Kawasaki)
12. Kyle Chisholm (Kawasaki)
13. Davi Millsaps (Yamaha)
14. Justin Brayton (Honda)
15. Chris Blose (Kawasaki)
2012 AMA Supercross Championship Points:
1. Ryan Dungey, 45
2. Ryan Villopoto, 45
3. Jake Weimer, 38
4. Chad Reed, 38
5. Kevin Windham, 31
6. Andrew Short, 29
7. James Stewart, 28
8. Justin Brayton, 25
9. Brett Metcalfe, 22
10. Josh Hansen, 22