Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart notched another perfect weekend in his 2012 450 Motocross campaign. The Yoshimura Suzuki ace scored the coveted 1-1 byline, followed by KTM’s Ryan Dungey (2-2) and Suzuki’s Mike Alessi (5-3).
Moto 1 started out with Stewart’s former squad, JGRMX Yamaha, taking the holeshot. Kyle Regal launched his YZ450F into the lead which helped make up for the disapointing news of his teammate Davi Millsaps forced to DNS due to internal bruising suffered during a weekday practice crash. It wasn’t long before bad luck reared its head again as Regal washed out the front end and came off his bike on the first lap, losing the lead. He remounted but would eventually pull into the pits with mechanical issues. By the start of Lap 2 it was Stewart was out front with Nico Izzi in second and Dungey close behind.
JS7 posted another nearly flawless run, scoring his third win in a row so far this season. Dungey didn’t let the Suzuki ace gain much of a gap, staying within one second for much of the race. In the final laps, it appeared as if the KTM rider would make a pass, but lapped riders and Stewart’s defense kept Dungey at bay. The two kept well ahead of third-place finisher, Jake Weimer, the Kawasaki rider lagging more than 28 seconds behind at the finish line.
Weimer moved through the pack to earn his first 450 moto podium, ousting Izzi from the third spot. The Kawasaki rider developed a sizeable gap over the Yamaha-mounted Izzi, finishing over 12 seconds ahead. Alessi kept the pressure on as he battled for fourth place, but was unable to secure the position as Izzi collected his best career 450 result as well. Alessi finished in fifth, crossing the line six seconds behind the Yamaha rider.
“I just concentrated on my own lines,” said Stewart. “It was tough out there.”
In Moto 2 Stewart and Dungey battled it out again in the front, with Stewart coming through with his fourth moto win of the season. Dungey took second just over one second behind the Suzuki ace and was followed by Alessi in third place. Jeff Ward Racing Kawasaki’s Josh Grant made a push late in the race to take fourth place from Team Chaparral Honda’s Andrew Short who came in fifth.
Dungey and Stewart battled in both motos, with JS7 out pacing the KTM rider by just seconds in Texas.
“I thought my day went good,” said Stewart, who’s 18th-career overall ties him for fourth on the all-time wins list. “It was a tough one, but fun. I got two good starts, made quick passes, and set the tone with a good pace. Ryan rode really well, but I did my own (thing) out front. I knew he’d be there the whole time. I felt like we were even today and if he had gotten out front, he could have done the same thing.”
Dungey remained within striking distance of Stewart for most of the race, at one point riding side-by-side with JS7. The KTM rider held the fastest lap for the majority of the race, (until Stewart pulled a 2:04.642 in the final minutes) but couldn’t find a way to take the lead.
“I got off to good starts in both motos,” said Dungey. “I tried to make a pass happen the whole moto, but there was maybe more I should have done. It just didn’t come together. James is a tough competitor and it’s good for the both of us to push each other to new limits.”
Alessi started off strong and remained in contention for second until Dungey finally pulled away and started to build a substantial cushion. Alessi held on to third with little pressure from behind.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe was off to a much better start in Moto 2, holding seventh place, but then went down and had to battle back from outside 20th. The Suzuki rider was able to claim 10th by the finish. Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Broc Tickle also had hopes of a top-10 finish before falling as well, though Tickle was unable to return to the race.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Weimer fell from his Moto 1 podium position to take sixth place behind Short in Moto 2. The Honda rider was followed by Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Tommy Hahn who posted his best finish of the day in seventh. JGRMX Yamaha’s Regal had a much better showing in Moto 2 with a finish in eighth.
Stewart remains on top of the championship points leader board, followed by Dungey and Alessi. Weimer shot up the list from eighth to fourth place. Shorty slipped down to fifth and Grant went from ninth to sixth after his 6-4 finish.
450 podium: James Stewart (center) in first, Ryan Dungey (right) in second and Mike Alessi (left) in third.
The 450’s get ready to take on the second round of the 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.
Freestone 450 Motocross Results 2012:
1. James Stewart (Suzuki) 1-1
2. Ryan Dungey (KTM) 2-2
3. Mike Alessi (Suzuki) 5-3
4. Jake Weimer (Kawasaki) 3-6
5. Josh Grant (Kawasaki) 6-4
6. Andrew Short (Honda) 10-5
7. Tommy Hahn (Honda) 9-7
8. Brett Metcalfe (Suzuki) 13-10
9. Nico Izzi (Yamaha) 4-25
10. Ryan Sipes (Yamaha) 8-17
11. Michael Byrne (Suzuki) 12-15
12. Robert Kiniry (Yamaha) 17-11
13. Justin Brayton (Honda) 14-14
14. Broc Tickle (Kawasaki) 7-40
15. Kyle Regal (Yamaha) 25-8
2012 Lucas Oil Motocross 450 Series Points:
1. James Stewart, 100
2. Ryan Dungey, 86
3. Mike Alessi, 70
4. Jake Weimer, 61
5. Andrew Short, 61
6. Josh Grant, 58
7. Brett Metcalfe, 53
8. Broc Tickle, 43
9. Nico Izzi, 39
10. Tommy Hahn, 39