JGR Yamaha's James Stewart achieved his second win of the season at a shortened mud race in Daytona.
Heavy rain transformed Daytona into one of the ugliest locations seen so far in the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross
Championship, but it didn’t stop JGR Yamaha’s James Stewart
from posting his second victory of 2012. The two-time champ pulled a great start and led for most of the shortened 16-lap brawl, which saw Kawasaki
’s Ryan Villopoto
struggle and fall twice during the mud-filled contest. Davi Millsaps
made it an even better night for the Joe Gibb’s Racing Team by taking his best result so far in second, finishing just seven seconds behind his teammate. Veteran rider Kevin Windham
secured his first appearance on the podium this year with a third-place finish, the Geico Honda
rider performing strongly after winning his first heat race of the year.
Millsaps notched the holeshot ahead of Stewart in the main. While the two teammates chased each other throughout the opening laps, Villopoto was facing an uphill struggle after crashing twice in the span of just a few seconds. The defending champ’s mistakes left him in dead last as Stewart got around Millsaps to take the lead on Lap 2. Behind the two JGR Yamaha
riders was Windham, Red Bull KTM
’s Marvin Musquin, Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer
, BTOSports.com/Palmetto Suzuki’s Matt Goerke and Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Broc Tickle.
On Lap 3 Millsaps and Windham were both closing on Stewart as RV was making good progress through the field in 14th. Just a few laps later Villopoto was pressuring Honda’s Justin Brayton
for a top-10 position while Windham was
Crashes and close calls weren't enough to keep Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto from a top-five finish.
riding Millsap’s rear wheel. Still less than three seconds behind Stewart, the battle between the two teammates remained close. Suzuki
’s Brett Metcalfe, who was holding his own with a top-five ride, made a mistake and dropped back to ninth as a result – putting him directly in the path of Villopoto. Weimer benefitted from the Aussie’s mistake and moved into the top-five as RV charged past Metcalfe in a corner for ninth.
With half the race over Stewart began to pull a gap ahead of his teammate. Further back Honda’s Cole Seely crashed out of the top-15 while struggling in Daytona’s mud. Brayton also made some mistakes to fall down to 16th by Lap 8, making it a poor night for the Factory Honda team. Tickle put on one of his best displays in the premier class this season by overtaking Goerke and Weimer for fifth place on Lap 10. With six laps remaining the running order was: Stewart, Millsaps, Windham, Musquin, Tickle, Goerke, Weimer, Mike Alessi and Villopoto.
Proving very quick over treacherous conditions, RV closed in on Alessi for eighth but nearly lost it in the process. Ahead Stewart was leading the race by more than 14 seconds while Goerke overtook Tickle for fifth. In the next few laps Villopoto got through a collection of riders and was up to sixth as the white flag came out. On the penultimate lap Seely’s night continued to deteriorate as he crashed for the second time. With just one lap remaining, Villopoto set his sights on Weimer and a top-five finish. As great as RV’s fight through the field was, Stewart earned the spotlight by posting his second victory and closing the gap on Villopoto in what has been a difficult season for the JGR rider.
Millsaps and Windham rounded out the podium in Daytona, with Musquin scoring a great result for KTM on its 350 SX-F in fourth. By finishing fifth, RV only lost nine points to Stewart and still maintains a commanding lead in the series.
Daytona AMA Supercross Results:
Davi Millsaps (above) and Kevin Windham (below) rounded out the podium in Daytona's mud race.
1. James Stewart (Yamaha)
2. Davi Millsaps (Yamaha)
3. Kevin Windham (Honda)
4. Marvin Musquin (KTM)
5. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki)
6. Mike Alessi (Suzuki)
7. Jake Weimer (Kawasaki)
8. Brock Tickle (Kawasaki)
9. Matt Goerke (Suzuki)
10. Brett Metcalfe (Suzuki)
11. Nick Wey (Kawasaki)
12. Kyle Chisholm (Kawasaki)
13. Kyle Regal (Honda)
14. Gavin Faith (Honda)
15. Justin Sipes (Kawasaki)
2012 AMA Supercross Championship Points:
1. Ryan Villopoto, 221
2. Ryan Dungey, 192
3. James Stewart, 177
4. Kevin Windham, 143
5. Jake Weimer, 134
6. Davi Millsaps, 131
7. Chad Reed, 128
8. Brett Metcalfe, 124
9. Justin Brayton, 121
10. Mike Alessi, 113