Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto made a fantastic comeback to take the opening victory at Anaheim ahead of Ryan Dungey.
The 2011 AMA Supercross
season officially greeted 45,000 Southern California fans Saturday night as the much-anticipated opening round blasted into Angels Stadium. Under chilly conditions the night’s action culminated with Monster Energy Kawasaki
’s Ryan Villopoto
taking charge in the main for a terrific comeback from injury last season to beat out his competitors by more than three seconds. Meanwhile, in the Supercross Lites division Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Josh Hansen rode a determined race for the first win of the season ahead of teammates Broc Tickle
and Tyla Rattray
, making it a spectacular overall evening for the green team.
The Supercross main event was full of action. Hart and Huntington Kawasaki’s Ivan Tedesco
earned the first holeshot of the year in the premier class with Villopoto, and Rockstar Makita Suzuki
teammates Brett Metcalfe
and Ryan Dungey
in pursuit. It was a difficult night for San Manuel Yamaha's James Stewart
and Honda-mounted Chad Reed
in terms of their starts. Both riders were outside the top-10 heading into the first turn and faced an uphill battle for the majority of the race.
Villopoto made quick work of Tedesco in the opening laps with Hot Sauce nearly crashing out trying to hold a podium pace. As Metcalfe held off Dungey in third, Stewart began an assault on the time charts. By Lap 6 Stewart was running in seventh and pressuring Kevin Windham
. Making the debut on his TwoTwo Motorsports team, Reed steadily climbed through the ranks and was up to 10th on Lap 7. Under great strain from Dungey, Tedesco soon faltered and handed second over to the Suzuki pilot who started chipping away at the 6.4-second gap separating him from Villopoto. Stewart added even more excitement to the contest when he charged for the front and grabbed hold of third ahead of Tedesco, the two having a nasty exhange in the earlier heat race. Stewart was the man on a mission as he mounted an awesome comeback, lapping Heat 1 winner, Justin Brayton
, on Lap 15, but was unable to catch the two leaders.
Ryan Dungey placed second in his first race as the defending Supercross champion.
In the end Villopoto snagged the first win of the 2011 season ahead of his 2010 Supercross rival, Dungey.
“This is a nice way to start out the season,” said Villopoto. “Starting out this way makes things much easier. I hope I can start putting together some more wins and a championship this year.”
Stewart claimed third and his impressive speed promises some great future battles.
“I almost went down a few times,” said Stewart. “Next week, I’ll work on my starts and be prepared for Phoenix. I tried my best to get up there. Once I got into third, I tried to make up some time on Ryan (Dungey) but ran out of laps.”
Also taking an impressive finish was Trey Canard
, who just missed the podium in his first premier class appearance as a full-time factory Honda rider. Chad Reed lodged a solid performance on his privateer Honda debut, rounding out the top-five.
The Red Bull KTM
duo of Andrew Short
and Mike Alessi
were significantly slower than the rest of the field in the opening race. Short finished 10th during his first ride on the KTM 350 SX-F while Alessi placed outside the top-10 in 14th.
2011 AMA Supercross Anaheim 1 Results:
1. Ryan Villopoto, (Kawasaki)
2. Ryan Dungey, (Suzuki)
3. James Stewart, (Yamaha)
4. Trey Canard, (Honda)
James Stewart overcame a difficult start to finish third behind Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey.
5. Chad Reed, (Honda)
6. Kevin Windham, (Honda)
7. Ivan Tedesco, (Kawasaki)
8. Brett Metcalfe, (Suzuki)
9. Josh Grant, (Honda)
10. Andrew Short, (KTM)
11. Kyle Chisholm, (Yamaha)
12. Nick Wey, (Yamaha)
13. Kyle Regal, (Yamaha)
14. Mike Alessi, (KTM)
15. Jason Thomas, (Suzuki)
2011 AMA Supercross Championship Points:
1. Ryan Villopoto, 25
2. Ryan Dungey, 22
3. James Stewart, 20
4. Trey Canard, 18
5. Chad Reed, 16
6. Kevin Windham, 15
7. Ivan Tedesco, 14
8. Brett Metcalfe, 13
9. Josh Grant, 12
10. Andrew Short, 11
Josh Hansen made the pass on Broc Tickle for the win in Supercross Lites.
When the gates dropped on the 250 main it was Tickle with the holeshot with Honda’s Christian Craig right alongside him. While battling into the first turn Craig tangled with Tickle and hit the dirt as Hansen, Rattray and Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s Martin Davalos
occupied second, third and fourth, respectively. In his first Supercross appearance, German rider Ken Roczen landed a horrible start but rode well under pressure. The 16-year-old made multiple passes to finish within the top-10 as Eli Tomac struggled following a nasty start.
On Lap 9 Hansen made an assertive block pass on Tickle for the lead. Meanwhile Rattray put in a stellar run in third during his debut Supercross Lites performance. Hansen held out for the end just a few laps later with Tickle close on his rear wheel.
“I’m happy to be here and get back on my feet and head down the right path,” said Hansen. “I have a great crew around me, and I am really excited about tonight. I have a lot of people to thank for sticking by me. I’m excited for the season.”
As was expected the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki team dominated the Lites class as Rattray took the final podium position behind Hansen and Tickle.
2011 AMA Supercross Lites Anaheim 1 Results:
1. Josh Hansen, (Kawasaki)
2. Broc Tickle, (Kawasaki)
3. Tyla Rattray, (Kawasaki)
In his debut Supercross Lites performance Tyla Rattray earned third at Anaheim behind Broc Tickle.
4. Martin Davalos, (Suzuki)
5. Cole Seely, (Honda)
6. Ryan Morais, (Suzuki)
7. Ken Roczen, (KTM)
8. Travis Baker, (Honda)
9. Nick Paluzzi, (Yamaha)
10. Eli Tomac, (Honda)
11. Antonio Balbi, (Kawasaki)
12. Ben Evans, (Kawasaki)
13. Kyle Cunningham, (Yamaha)
14. Ryan Marmont, (KTM)
15. Cody Gilmore, (Kawasaki)
2011 AMA Supercross Lites Championship Points:
1. Josh Hansen, 25
2. Broc Tickle, 22
3. Tyla Rattray, 20
4. Martin Davalos, 18
5. Cole Seely, 16
6. Ryan Morais, 15
7. Ken Roczen, 14
8. Travis Baker, 13
9. Nick Paluzzi, 12
10. Eli Tomac, 11