Oakland Supercross Insider 2013

January 28, 2013
Frankie Garcia
Frankie Garcia
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Competing in every discipline of motorcycle racing possible, when he isn't mastering his skill of social networking, the new kid will do just about anything to throw his leg over a bike and ride it until he simply cannot hold on anymore.

Monster Kawasakis Ryan Villopoto went back to back with another win in Oakland.
Monster Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto went back to back with another win in Oakland. He now sits third in the 450 point standings.

It was Kawasaki rider Ryan Villopto’s night on Saturday as the 2012 Supercross champion scored a commanding victory at Overstock.com Stadium in Oakland, California. After posting the second-fastest time in qualifying and winning his heat, the Monster Energy athlete went on to win the 20-lap main event ten seconds over Suzuki ace Davi Milsaps. The win marked Villopoto’s second consecutive victory of 2013 and moved him into third in the championship point standings, one point down from Trey Canard. Villopoto seems to be turning his season around after a series of bad luck during the first two rounds.

“It was a difficult balance for me tonight,” said Villopoto. “The track was very challenging and it was easy to fall into a groove where you go a little slower. I built a big lead early so without being pushed from behind, I had to concentrate on going fast and getting the lap times I needed.”

“We are always working to improve the bike,” added the Washington rider. “Every week we continue to work on our settings to get the bike dialed-in. We’ve been making progress each week and we need to build on this momentum.”

Villopoto’s Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate Jake Weimer was forced to skip out on the Oakland round due to a case of pneumonia. Weimer rode practice but the sickness made him weak as he was only able to click off a couple laps before losing strength. MotoUSA wishes Jake a speedy recovery and hopes to see him back in action this weekend at A3.

“I’ve been fighting this sickness all week,” said Weimer. “I haven’t been able to train or ride until today. After riding in practice I knew I could go hard for one or two laps but I didn’t feel strong enough to be able to go a full 20. After practice the team and I

Davi Millsaps held to second in Oakland and remains the points leader overall.
Davi Millsaps held to second in Oakland and remains the points leader overall.

decided to sit out this week and hopefully be ready for Anaheim. I’m on the upside of this thing so I’m hoping to get back to training and getting back onto the track.”

Current points leader and Round 1 winner Milsaps scored a runner-up finish in Oakland on his Suzuki RM-Z 450, but the second place finish was good enough for Davi to continue to carry his red-background number one plate to Round 5. This weekend marks the third and final time the series creeps into Angel Stadium for 2013. Milsaps currently leads the point battle by seven points ahead of Honda’s Trey Canard.

“It was a good ending to a day that started off not-so-well, explained Milsaps.” “The first couple practices didn’t go great for me but I managed to turn it around a bit in the final practice although I still didn’t feel great. I struggled in my heat as well so to come out with a second on the night definitely boosted my confidence. I’m ready for A3.”

Third place in the 450 class was Ryan Dungey on his Factory KTM 450SX-F. The Minnesota native battled his way through the field after a bad start that landed him in 12th position at the end of Lap 1. Earlier in the day we noticed a standard spring shock

Trey Canard  41  slipping through the early 450 SX pile-up in Oakland.
James Stewart got caught in an early race pile-up and was forced to retire from competition.
A second corner pile-up caused by Chad Reed got the best of Trey Canard (top) and James Stewart (bottom). Stewart was unable to finish the race due to a broken throttle. The crash also collected Justin Barcia who was unable to remount and scored a DNF as well. Reed went on to finish twelfth.

mounted up on the number five machine but by the night show the team had gone back to the works air shock we saw him using in previous rounds. Heading into Round 5 Dungey sits fourth in the points standings, 17 down from leader Milsaps and nine points from Villopoto.

A pileup in the second corner of the 450 main event got the best of some heavy hitters. The crash was started by TwoTwo Motorsports Chad Reed when he blitzed up the inside after the first set of whoops, knocking himself down along with Honda’s Justin Barcia, JGR’s Josh Grant and Oakland crowd favorite James Stewart. Reed would eventually remount and continue on to finish 12th, his worst finish of 2013.

As for Barcia and Stewart, things didn’t go as well as both were unable to continue, ending the night with DNF finishes. Initial reports say that Barcia was uninjured but severely knocked the wind out of himself as he fell the hardest. As for Stewart, a broken throttle tube kept him from continuing. This would mark Barcia’s second consecutive DNF moving him down in the points to ninth. Stewart’s DNF cost him valuable points as he now sits outside the top-10 in 11th.

“I tweaked my knee a little bit, said Stewart.” “I was going to get back on and finish it out and then I landed off the triple and realized that my throttle was broken. I was turning and the thing was sticking wide open and that’s why I pulled off. It’s definitely frustrating but I’m here to fight.”

MotoConcepts Smartop Racing had a notable night in Oakland as the team’s premier rider, Mike Alessi, scored a fifth place finish on the night. Alessi ran in fourth pressuring JGR’s Justin Brayton until the halfway point when the duo was split by Dungey and Alessi dropped off the pace.

Ken Roczen put himself at the head of the points battle after Eli Tomac recieved a DNF in Oakland.
Ken Roczen scored his first win of 2013 in Oakland and left with the 250 class championship point lead.

The 250 Supercross class boasted some exciting races Saturday night ending with some unexpected results. KTM’s Ken Roczen scored his first victory of 2013 when he crossed the finish line at the conclusion of the 15-lap main event.

“I’m so happy right now,” said an excited Roczen. “This is really what I wished for tonight. The whole day has been good. There was tons of bar banging on lap one and I almost went down before the finish. I charged hard and felt really fit. It was all about finding the right lines and closing the gap. I’m just so happy.”

One rider that didn’t have the night go the way he wanted was Geico Honda’s Eli Tomac. The point leader heading into Oakland had a slide out when he lost the front wheel in the first corner off the start. Tomac would remount only to later swap in the first set of whoops. The crash ended his night and left Eli with some sort of left knee injury which we have not yet received official word on. Tomac’s DNF handed the points lead over to winner, Roczen.

Cole Seely  43  ahead of Ken Roczen in Oakland. Roczen would eventually get past the Honda rider for the win.
Jason Anderson made the 250 SX podium in third in Oakland.
(Top) Troy Lee Design’s Cole Seeley was unable to hold of Ken Roczen for the win in Oakland.
(Bottom) Rockstar Energy Racing’s Jason Anderson scored his first podium of the year in Oakland as he finished third in the 250 Supercross main event.

Troy Lee Designs Cole Seeley showed us a repeat of last weekend’s race leading most of the Oakland contest until the Lap 10 mark when he handed the lead over to Roczen. Seeley went on to finish second. We are unsure if Seeley’s issue is fitness related or if he is not yet on the level of Tomac and Roczen.

“I think Ken’s GP skills are kickin’ in in the sand,” explained the Honda rider. “That seems to be where he made time on me but I can’t thank my team enough I got out to a good start and led some more laps I’m definitely getting a little more comfortable out front.”

Capturing third place with his first podium of the year was Rockstar Racing’s Jason Anderson. The Suzuki mount was a standout in practice and qualifying, setting the second-fastest time in the morning and afternoon sessions.

Anderson stated post-race, “This feels great, my whole Rockstar Energy Racing team has been behind me and I couldn’t be happier to be on the podium here in Oakland.”

The 2013 Monster Energy Supercross series heads back to Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California this Saturday night for the third and final time this year. For those not attending, the race can be caught live on Speed at 10:30 p.m. (EST). Make sure to follow MotorcycleUSA on Twitter and Instagram (@MotoUSA) for live race updates and photos from Supercross.

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