The 2011 AMA Supercross Championship may just be starting but for some riders it's already over.
Only two rounds of the 2011 Monster Energy AMA Supercross
series are in the books but already fans have seen the rise and fall of numerous riders. In preparation for the upcoming round at Dodger Stadium MCUSA delivers a Fantasy Supercross
breakdown of riders who are making the cut and those who are cracking under pressure.
- San Manuel Yamaha
’s James Stewart recently landed his first win of the 2011 season at Phoenix. As one of the fastest riders on the track Stewart has been on the podium both rounds so far and appears the title favorite. However, Stewart also displayed his overzealous nature at Anaheim as he fought back from a difficult start.
- A major development that has come out of the first two rounds is the impressive speed of Monster Energy Kawasaki
’s Ryan Villopoto. The racing world was without the Kawasaki star for many months as the 22-year-old recuperated from a broken leg, but since his return at Anaheim Villopoto has regularly battled for the fastest lap
Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto has already sent the message to competitors that he means business for 2011.
times. He lassoed a win at Anaheim and took second at Phoenix while facing direct pressure from Stewart. So far Villopoto’s future this season is looking bright if he can stay patient and keep Stewart at bay.
- Defending SX Champion Ryan Dungey
may be drowning in pressure during opening rounds of his title defense. While still too early to judge his chances of guarding the crown, the Rockstar
rider has clearly been off the pace of the frontrunners in both rounds. So far Dungey has managed a second-place result at Anaheim and fifth place at Phoenix, and on their own these initial results are solid considering the highly competitive field. However, compared with his efforts in 2010 his performance is lacking and in need of a jump start. It’s still early though and Supercross has a way of surprising.
- So far Red Bull KTM
’s Andrew Short has had some difficulties adjusting to the 350cc machine. In Anaheim Short took 10th and most recently he finished seventh at Phoenix following a difficult start. Short has stated that he is not where he wants to be in terms of his
Chad Reed (#22) and Ryan Dungey battled in Phoenix during the main. Reed eventually won the battle after finishing one place ahead of Dungey.
performance and is looking to Dodger Stadium for a breakthrough ride. Already 22 points adrift of Villopoto in the first two rounds, Short will have to make up ground quickly if he wants to turn this season around.
- Still toughing it out is TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed. The Aussie has yet to grab a great start in the 2011 season, but when he does much will be revealed about his chances this season. Up to this point Reed took fifth place at Anaheim and landed a slightly better start in Phoenix where he ended in fourth. Without seeing Reed directly battle Stewart or Villopoto it’s hard to assess his determination, but in Phoenix Reed already proved he could overtake Dungey. He still has his work cut out for him though as he remains fifth in the overall standings and more than 13 points adrift of Villopoto.
- Since shooting out of the gate at Anaheim one rider who has vastly exceeded expectations is Honda
’s Trey Canard. The 20-year-old is just starting his first full season in the premier class but already has two top-five finishes, including a podium result at Phoenix. It’s only a matter of time before Canard lands his first win in the 450 class, but in the meantime this Oklahoma native is content with getting solid starts and riding his own race.
Veteran Kevin Windham had an unfortunate encounter with a lapped rider in Phoenix and finished 19th.
- Now in his 18th year of professional racing, Geico Honda’s Kevin Windham
has already seen both good and bad luck this season. In Round 1 the veteran received a good start and ran a clean race to finish just outside the top-five in sixth. Things quickly went sour in Phoenix, however, where after getting a great start he collided with a lapped rider and went down hard. Despite his misfortune Windham is still healthy and looking to rebound at Dodger Stadium.
- Already stitched-up and on the mend is Honda’s Josh Grant, who sustained an injury to his knee at Phoenix and underwent arthroscopic surgery. Initial reports indicate that the injury wasn’t too serious and he’ll be able to return in a few weeks, but it’s a bad way to start a season in which Grant’s ultimate goal was to stay healthy and consistent.
- Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer was one rider scratched off the list before the season even started. Prior to Anaheim 1 Weimer broke his arm during Supercross testing while only moments away from his debut in the premier class. Already a few weeks into the recovery process, Weimer is expected to return later this season.
- Bad luck for the KTM squad continues with Mike Alessi. Normally a great starter in his heat races, Alessi failed to qualify for the main in Phoenix after he was pushed wide in the first turn during the LCQ. Prior to that the 22-year-old earned 14th place at Anaheim, and so far his lap times have been pretty far off the pace of the leaders.
Kawasaki's Jake Weimer (center) is still recuperating from a broken arm which he sustained during pre-season testing.
Although not taking part in our Fantasy Supercross contest this year, the Lites class has also seen some major developments with its riders.
– Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Josh Hansen has been tearing the Lites division to pieces. With back-to-back wins at Anaheim and Phoenix he has come out of the gate swinging and is hungry for the title. Hansen and team green now head to Los Angeles for Round 3 where they plan to continue their dominance over the field with another victory. With Kawasaki down an out a rider in the 450 ranks, perhaps Hansen could step up and race a 450 main when the East Coast series rolls around.
- Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen has had a rough introduction to the Supercross series in America. The German rider suffered a DNF in the last round at Phoenix and in the opening round the 16-year-old barely squeezed into the main through the LCQ. After casing a triple and landing hard on his heel during the main event in Phoenix Roczen has a badly bruised heel, but otherwise he’s ready for racing in Los Angeles.
- Before the gates dropped at Anaheim one rider already destined for the bench was Geico Powersports Honda’s Wil Hahn. In the first practice at Anaheim the 21-year-old landed on his back and suffered a compression fracture of his T-5 vertebra. Due to the severity of the injury it will be months before Hahn can resume any sort of practice routine, effectively removing his name from 2011 Lites Championship.
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