James Stewart did his new team proud by taking wins in both motos at the FMF Hangtown Motocross Classic on Saturday.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart took the win at the FMF Hangtown Motocross Classic, Round 1 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series. Bubba was followed by JGRMX Yamaha’s Davi Millsaps in second place and Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey who rounded out the Moto 1 podium in third.
“I couldn’t ask for anything better,” said Stewart. “In the first moto I got a great start and I was in the lead on the first lap. I rode my own race, and got a good gap and was able to win.”
Stewart led uncontested for the entire race and appeared confident on his new RM-Z450. Millsaps and Chaparral Honda’s Andrew Short battled early on for second position, only to be bested by Yoshimura Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe mid-way through the race. The Yamaha and Honda rider didn’t let Metcalfe build too much of a gap though, and Millsaps eventually retook second place for the checkers. Ryan Dungey made a stellar comeback from a difficult start, coming all the way back from 10th place to score a podium finish.
Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Tyla Rattray, filling in for the 2012 Monster Energy Supercross and 2011 Motocross champion Ryan Villopoto, went out of the race early after injuring his hand. Rattray was unable to return to Moto 2. It was determined that his hand is broken and it remains to be seen how long until he returns to racing. Teammate Jake Weimer languished in 10th place.
Stewart made it two in a row with his win in 450 Moto 2. JS7 didn’t have as comfortable a lead as in Moto1 with Dungey just over 2 seconds behind the Yosimura Suzuki rider. MotoConcepts Suzuki’s Mike Alessi rolled across the finish line in third, much improved from his seventh place finish in Moto 1.
“I thought I’d come and struggle a bit, which I did a little,” said Stewart. “This (season) is one of those things where you continue to build and we got a good start on it. I’m just here to enjoy it. I didn’t come to be the fastest; I came to learn the motorcycle. Everything is new. We’ve got a long way to go. I’ve been away for a while, but I don’t realize how much I miss it till I’m gone.”
Short scored a fourth place finish and Metcalfe rounded out the top five. As in Moto 1, the two riders kept close, finishing within one second of each other in Moto 2 Monster energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer made headway in the points race by taking sixth.
Second place Moto 1 finisher, Millsaps, went down early in Moto 2 and scored a disappointing 14th. Millsaps announced later through his Twitter account that he had injured his elbow during the crash.
Stewart holds the early series points lead after his 1-1 finishes at Hangtown and he sent a bold statement to his critics as well as the 450 class competitors. Dungey follows close behind in second, and showed in Moto 2 that he will be a contender for the front of the pack if he is able to get a good start. There is a three-way tie between Alessi, Short and Metcalfe behind the current leaders; all three riders will be looking to score the points edge in the next Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship round at Freestone in Wortham, Texas on May 26, 2012.
Hangtown 450 Moto Results:
1. James Stewart (Suzuki) 1-1
2. Ryan Dungey (KTM) 3-2
3. Mike Alessi (Suzuki) 7-3
4. Andrew Short (Honda) 5-4
5. Brett Metcalfe (Suzuki) 4-5
6. Broc Tickle (Kawasaki) 6-7
7. Davi Millsaps (Yamaha) 2-14
8. Jake Weimer (Kawasaki) 10-6
9. Josh Grant (Kawasaki) 9-8
10 Nicco Izzi (Yamaha) 11-10
11. Kyle Chisholm (Kawasaki) 13-9
12. Robert Kiniry (Yamaha) 12-13
13. Jimmy Albertson (Suzuki) 17-12
14. Tommy Hahn (Honda) 8-27
15. Mathew Lemoine (Kawasaki) 19-11
2012 Lucas Oil Motocross 450 Series Points:
1. James Stewart, 50
2. Ryan Dungey, 42
3. Mike Alessi, 34
4. Andrew Short, 34
5. Brett Metcalfe, 34
6. Davi Millsaps, 29
7. Broc Tickle, 29
8. Jake Weimer, 26
9. Josh Grant, 25
10. Nico Izzi, 21