This weekend, the Monster Energy Supercross series makes its way to the one and only Northern California stop in Oakland for Round 4 of the championship. With three rounds in the books and three different 450 class winners, it’s anybody’s game at this point.
Last year we saw James Stewart become the fourth different winner on a different brand (Yamaha). Stewart is going to have his work cut out for him this weekend as a knee injury at the opening round in Anaheim has put him in tough spot. At Anaheim 2, James stated post-race: “I felt much more confident on the bike today than I have in previous two rounds. I really like Oakland though so I’m confident that we will get all of his turned around next weekend in the Bay.”
Pre-season favorite Ryan Villopoto finally grabbed his first win of the 2013 season this past weekend in Anaheim aboard his Monster Energy Factory Kawasaki KX450F. The reigning Supercross champ broke his streak of bad luck and will be looking to build on that inside Overstock.com Stadium.
“I am so thrilled to get this first win out of the way,” said Villopoto after his A2 win. “We made tons of progress every weekend but the luck just wasn’t there. My starts were what they should have been since the first round which ultimately made the race easier. I took my time and was patient to make clean passes. It was nice to finally get this win and get some momentum for the rest of the season.”
With his victory in Anaheim, we predict the start of a win streak out of the Washington rider, but we will just have to wait until Saturday night to see.
Points leader Davi Millsaps is trying to prove that his main event win at Anaheim 1 wasn’t a fluke. The Rockstar rider has demonstrated podium-level speed and is one of the most consistent riders in the 450 field. Just look at the red number plates on his Suzuki RM-Z450.
Canard has made an astounding comeback this season after a near-life-altering crash last year at Dodger Stadium when he broke his back. At Round 1, the Factory Honda rider battled for the lead in the main event, passing eventual winner, Davi Millsaps for the lead at one point. At the second stop in Phoenix, Canard ran up front and looked to have a podium position in
the bag until a last lap crash set him back to fifth-place. Canard rebounded last weekend inside Angel Stadium to finish second, tying his best result this year. We all know Canard has the speed, but can he finally notch a win Saturday night in Oakland?
Canard’s Honda teammate, Justin Barcia has been a threat since he won the Monster Cup back in October. The rookie went into the opening round strong but a crash in the main resulted in a seventh-place finish. However he turned things around in Phoenix collecting the win and the full 25 points in the 450 class. Last weekend things turned for the worst for the Honda pilot when he cased a triple on Lap 2 of the main resulting in a broken nose, split eyebrow, and ultimately a championship-killing DNF for the night. Still Barcia claims he’s ready to race when the gate drops Saturday night.
This week Barcia tweeted: “Maybe broken nose, some stitches in the eye, and some glue on the nose; I will be all good, thanks everyone!”
One rider that is quietly on the move is TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed. The Australian has been slowly improving after a pair of fourth-place finishes in the opening two rounds followed by a solid third-place finish at A2 after pressuring Millsaps into washing out the front-end..
“I’m excited for this next week to polish up the settings a little bit and then try to be better and stronger for next weekend,” revealed Reed. I feel like it can only get better from here – I need to be consistent, but I also need to win races.”
We have received word that the L&Mc team will no longer be in seen in the Supercross pits (L&Mc Racing Pulls Plug on 2013 Racing Efforts). Rumors are that the team’s only rider, Andrew Short, has already signed with another squad for the remainder of the season though he hasn’t revealed who it is yet.
This weekend marks the halfway point for the West Coast division of the Monster Energy Supercross 250 SX class. Geico Honda’s Eli Tomac is in the driver’s seat of the championship having won all three races thus far. And considering how dominant each of his victories has been, barring any mistakes, it’s fair to say the title is his to lose.
“I’m slowly stretching out that points lead,” says the 20-year-old, whose CRF250R will continue to sport red backgrounds, signifying his championship point’s lead. “I’d like some more points right now, but you can’t ask for anything more than getting three wins this early in the season.”
“My confidence is really high right now,” continues Tomac. “I’ve been able to win from different positions, be it if I started up front or in the pack. Last week I was able to pass the second and third place guys in the points to take the win so that was good. I just need to stay mistake-free and hold onto this momentum all the way to the end.”
If Tomac does make a mistake, KTM’s Ken Roczen will be right there ready to capitalize. The 18-year-old has finished runner-up to Tomac in each race this season. We know his speed is there, as the German continues to be at, or near, the top of the timing sheets in afternoon practice. However, he’s going to have to get a holeshot if he has any chance of finally scoring a win.
Cole Seely surprised many of us last weekend in Anaheim after nailing the holeshot and leading the first ten laps of the race. The 22-year-old looked comfortable out front but appeared to run out of steam physically allowing Tomac to motor past with five laps to go. Seely claims he and his team have worked hard this week in hopes of being more competitive in the final stages of the race.
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil team rider Cole Seeley put in a strong run in Anaheim but his fitness had some degree of effect on his performance at the end of the race.
“I’m looking forward to this weekend’s race in Oakland,” tells the Troy Lee Designs rider. “I feel more comfortable after leading laps in Anaheim, and my team has done a great job of getting my bike more dialed in this week. We’re ready.”
Although Zach Osborne got off to a slow start this season, the former MX2 racer is getting back into the swing of American Supercross racing. Last weekend marked his best finish of the year and the Geico Honda rider is looking for more this weekend in Nor-Cal.
“I want to be in the front, that’s what I’ve been hired to do,” Osborne says. “But I feel like that is coming soon. I’ll just need to get a better start and I should be able to put it up on the podium. I have all the pieces; I just have to put them together.”
Unfortunately this weekend’s race will not be aired live on Speed TV. Instead fans will have to tune into CBS at Noon EST on Sunday, January 27, 2013 for the 450 class. The 250 SX race will air later that day on Speed TV at 5:00pm EST. To get live updates from the event make sure to follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@MotoUSA).