James Stewart (shown) failed to make the main and now there is nobody within sight of Ryan Villopoto in the championship.
Indianapolis featured one of the best tracks we’ve seen on the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series this year with a technical layout and amazing dirt. However, it proved a big game-changer as several top riders failed to make it out of qualifying. As a result, the championship race took a major dive as Ryan Villopoto’s sole remaining title contender, James Stewart, dropped a full 25 points, essentially handing the season victory to the Monster Kawasaki rider.
James Stewart crashed his JGRMX Yamaha in the start of Heat 1 and was attended by the Asterisk Medical team. Kevin Windham was collected in that crash as well but remounted his Geico Honda CRF450R and pulled off while Stewart remained on the ground, eventually riding the medical Mule off the track. Windham would win the LCQ and Brett Metcalfe scored his first Heat win of the year for factory Suzuki.
Justin Brayton rode smooth in Heat 2 and outpaced Ryan Villopoto who had some small mistakes. It was the Muscle Milk Honda rider’s first Heat win of the season as well. For the second time in the past few weeks, one of MotoUSA’s former test riders, Mike Horban, got some significant TV time as a privateer. It was to no avail, however as he failed to make the main. He battled with Monster Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer who also failed to secure a qualifying spot.
Mike Alessi snared the holeshot to start the 20-lap main event on his MotoConcepts Suzuki, Brayton and Metcalfe followed suit with Marvin Musquin close behind on the KTM 350 SX-F. Villopoto and Windham both quickly moved into the top-five.
Justin Brayton held the lead position for much of the race.
By Lap 5, JGR Yamaha's Davi Millsaps put the move on the Frenchman just past the mechanics’ area. One lap later Brayton passed into the lead and it took some of the wind out of Alessi’s sails. The privateer Suzuki rider slowed and lost positions to Metcalfe and Villopoto. The reigning champion had his hands full with Suzuki’s lone factory pilot as Metty looked the best he has all season. The Australian rider used a slick rhythm line through an uneven whoop section stretching over 130 feet to keep the advantage.
RV kept running his KX450F in tight against the RM-Z450 and eventually pushed his way past for second position. He immediately clipped a tuff block, nearly allowing Metcalfe to retake the spot, but held on and started pulling away. Behind them, Windham pulled an alternate rhythm to the inside of Alessi and their lines collided, forcing K-Dub to bail off mid-air. The veteran rider bounced up with adrenaline, but the reality set in by the time he reached his Geico Honda. Windham pulled off and scored no points.
Just past the halfway point, Brayton started getting caught up in lapped traffic which allowed Villopoto to close the gap to roughly two seconds. RV had picked up on Metcalfe’s line through the whoops and used it a few laps later to take the top spot. Millsaps took advantage of a mistake by Metcalfe for the final podium position.
Brett Metcalfe (top) had his best race of the season, but Villopoto (above) took the win.
“It was a good outing for us to finish fourth tonight in the main event,” said Metcalfe. “The track was really gnarly.”
Villopoto also commented on the difficult layout, saying: “This was by far the hardest track of the season. It was slick out there, and I had to be on my game. It was tough to make passes on this track.”
Josh Grant returned to AMA Supercross racing for the Jeff Ward Racing Kawasaki team following a shoulder injury, and the former Supercross race winner finished a respectable 11th.
2012 AMA Supercross Indianapolis Results:
1. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki)
2. Justin Brayton (Honda)
3. Davi Millsaps (Yamaha)
4. Brett Metcalfe (Suzuki)
5. Cole Seeley (Honda)
6. Mike Alessi (Suzuki)
7. Marvin Musquin (KTM)
8. Broc Tickle (Kawasaki)
9. Weston Peick (Kawasaki)
10. Nico Izzi (Yamaha)
11. Josh Grant (Kawasaki)
12. Justin Sipes (Kawasaki)
13. Bobby Kiniry (Yamaha)
14. Matt Goerke (Suzuki)
15. Jeff Alessi (Suzuki)
2012 AMA Supercross Championship Standings:
1. Ryan Villopoto, 246
2. Ryan Dungey, 192
3. James Stewart, 177
4. Davi Millsaps, 151
5. Kevin Windham, 146
6. Justin Brayton, 143
7. Brett Metcalfe, 142
8. Jake Weimer, 134
9. Chad Reed, 128
10. Mike Alessi, 128