Ryan Dungey (above) edged closer to Ryan Villopoto in the championship after recording his second win of the season.
In front of more than 70,000 fans the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship ripped up the red clay inside the Georgia Dome with Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey posting his second win of the season to tighten the championship picture. The contest went down to the final laps as Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto went all out against RD5, but ultimately had to settle for runner-up after making some small but costly errors. JGR Yamaha’s James Stewart rounded out the top-three in Atlanta after recovering from another bad start to finish more than 20 seconds behind Dungey.
Cole Seely surprised everyone by taking the holeshot during his first-ever 450 ride while filling in for Trey Canard at Honda. Dungey and JGR Yamaha’s Davi Millsaps were right behind the rookie as Villopoto struggled for position back in sixth after a small crash. As Seely completed the opening lap with the lead, Stewart was back in 15th and looking to quickly make up ground after getting in a small tussle with Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer. The night was starting off strong for Big Red as Justin Brayton helped put the second Honda inside the top-four during the opening laps. Meanwhile Seely continued to lead while Stewart made the pass on H&H Kawasaki’s Josh Hansen for seventh and started working on Millsaps. Shortly after, Villopoto and Brayton traded paint while battling for fourth with RV eventually getting the position.
Hansen’s position inside the top-10 was erased when he stalled it the following lap. Stewart kept his forward momentum by making another pass on Brayton for fifth as Dungey officially moved into the lead on Lap 8. On the next
Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto had a few mistakes in Georgia and had to settle for second. He still leads the series by 10 points.
lap JS7 got around his teammate, Millsaps, for fourth with Villopoto next in his sights. Despite being passed Seely was keeping pace with Dungey for a while, but the rookie started making mistakes and left the door wide open for Villopoto and Stewart.
With seven laps left RV really started picking it up to chase down Dungey. Stewart remained more than four seconds behind as Dungey made a few mistakes which allowed RV to close the gap. As the race entered the final laps VIllopoto made a huge mistake in the sand section, but another error by RD5 brought the two together. With the crowd in Atlanta on its feet the duo went at it on the penultimate lap. Under intense pressure to make a move, Villopoto slid out in a turn but stayed upright. The error gave Dungey a major advantage heading into the final lap, and a few more mistakes allowed Dungey to claim the win a few bike lengths ahead.
“To get that first win right off the bat (for KTM) in Phoenix was nice, but it took a while after that,” said Dungey. “But, to back it up here in Atlanta, it was a great night. We’ve been looking for that one for a while. The whole team has been working hard and things haven’t gone our way with testing and stuff, but we’re coming around to it and I think things are progressively getting better.”
After losing a close battle with Dungey, Villopoto holds onto a 10-point lead in the series as it approaches Round 9.
“I just made a little mistake, and early on in the race I fell over and that cost me, huge,” said Villopoto. “The track was tough tonight, you could really see (that) and I just slipped up and washed the front end out. Overall, we had a good night. It just wasn’t the best of weeks coming into this (race), so to come out with a second is good.”
Stewart made good work of a difficult start to salvage another podium this season, leaving him now 34 points behind Dungey. Millsaps took the checkers behind his teammate in fourth, as Brayton and Seely closed out the night for Honda in fifth and sixth, respectively.
After starting outside the top-10 James Stewart made solid passes to finish on the podium in third.
Cole Seely earned the holeshot in his first-ever 450 race and went on to lead for eight laps before finishing in sixth.
Atlanta AMA Supercross Results:
1. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
2. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki)
3. James Stewart (Yamaha)
4. Davi Millsaps (Yamaha)
5. Justin Brayton (Honda)
6. Cole Seely (Honda)
7. Jake Weimer (Kawasaki)
8. Kevin Windham (Honda)
9. Brett Metcalfe (Suzuki)
10. Nick Wey (Kawasaki)
11. Kyle Chisholm (Kawasaki)
12. Mike Alessi (Suzuki)
13. Matt Goerke (Suzuki)
14. Robert Kiniry (Yamaha)
15. Josh Hansen (Kawasaki)
2012 AMA Supercross Championship Points:
1. Ryan Villopoto, 180
2. Ryan Dungey, 170
3. James Stewart, 136
4. Chad Reed, 128
5. Jake Weimer, 106
6. Kevin Windham, 105
7. Brett Metcalfe, 100
8. Justin Brayton, 96
9. Davi Millsaps, 94
10. Mike Alessi, 90