Team Suzuki Press Office – June 10.
Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Manager James Hanson gives his insider view of the fourth round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Highpoint Raceway.
Rockstar Energy Racing had to deal with inclement weather at the weekend for the first time during this outdoor season. Historic Highpoint Raceway experienced severe thunderstorms the day prior to the National. The crew did an excellent job sealing the track overnight so the water would run off the racing surface and not soak in. There was no doubt that practice was very muddy but it really came around by the time racing ensued. The reward for the excess precipitation however made for some great racing. As they tilled the corners throughout the day it created a plethora of ruts allowing numerous possibilities for passes in front of the enthusiastic viewers. You can always bank on fans being all-in with their cheering at this race!
After starting out the season riding incredibly at Hangtown, Ryan Sipes had two consecutive rounds he just wanted to put behind him. He rode amazingly on Saturday at Mt. Morris. In the first moto he was running fifth and making up ground on Tyla Rattray for fourth. He had an unfortunate fall in a corner that dropped him a few positions. He got up in front of Trey Canard and motored on. Canard paced him for the entire rest of the moto and made up no ground. In the second moto his start was not as good as the first, but he rode equally as well. He moved forward all the way to sixth, this time with Justin Barcia in tow. In similar fashion to Moto 1, Barcia was unable to catch him. Both of those opponents have finished near the front all season, including multiple finishes in the top three. While Sipes’ current goal is still to finish in the top five, he now knows if everything falls into place, he could find himself with his first-ever 450 class podium. One noteworthy point as Sipes continues to improve is his focus. While in the beginning of the season he had a sort of mental fatigue showing up for a brief few minutes mid moto, it was evident in Pennsylvania that he had remedied that issue.
Ryan Sipes: “I felt like it was a solid weekend. I’m proud of my finishes. I felt like I got decent starts, at least close to the top 10 and just worked my way up. I would have liked to have ‘gotten fifth in the first moto but I had a little tip over. I’m happy to rebound and get a decent finish because I had a bad two weeks In Colorado and Tennessee.”
Jason Anderson’s day did not show on paper just how good he rode. In the first moto he looked as if he was progressing towards his best finish of the year. He made a pass into 5th and was clearly making-up ground on the top three in the process. Moments after making the move, he was hit hard by Zach Osborne in a very precarious location and was sent sprawling to the ground. He lost a lot of positions, but one thing about the Jason Anderson in 2013; he never, ever gives up. He rode great to finish in 12th position, although his performance should have rewarded him with a much higher result. The second moto was quite simply a war: It was an engagement with himself and five other riders. They all swapped positions several times. Anderson could have finished anywhere from third to eighth. By race’s end, the cards held a seventh for Anderson. One thing was for certain though; he was battling with championship contenders the whole way and he beat Blake Bagget straight up. The speed is there without a doubt.
Jason Anderson: “Highpoint was alright. I had a kind of crappy first moto and the second moto I ended up seventh. I was battling up near the front basically the whole time. I just ‘gotta figure things out, head into the break, enjoy it a little and go to Budds Creek and see how it goes.”
Blake Wharton just simply had an off day. It started out great in the first practice with a qualifying time on par with the rest of the top guys. Things started to go awry as early as the second practice. Blake’s fast time in the second go around was not as good as the first, even though the track had improved. He struggled in the first moto but still made a vast improvement in Moto 2. The upcoming break will be very good for Blake. He can spend the time, not resting, but working on the things he needs to improve on and return to the consistency he has experienced in prior races. Every rider has a day here and there where things that just don’t go according to plan.
Blake Wharton: “I don’t really have a lot to say after this race. I think the track really came around the last moto. I think it was as good-a-track has been this year. It was gnarly. Pretty good considering it got a lot of rain. It usually dries up pretty quick though because it’s on a hillside. I didn’t have a great weekend to say the least. I struggled a little bit with my starts but I was close. I just couldn’t get around that turn one or two spots better. It was like you just missed a good start because of those spots. I just rode average really. This next weekend is over then we’re heading into Budds Creek. Just ‘gonna keep riding and trying to improve.”
Nico Izzi was very fast as the day began. In the first qualifying session he finished with a stellar third-fastest lap time. The second practice was more of the same until disaster struck in the closing laps. Izzi was putting in what he thought was his best time and was railing one of the many fast ruts on the PA course. He caught his toe on a neighbouring rut and twisted his recently-injured knee. He will see the doctor on Monday and is trying to stay positive. Izzi and the team hope the prognosis will be positive and he will only be out for a couple weeks. He has worked extremely hard to get back on the bike and was just returning to form.
The team will spend the weekend off testing and finding ways to improve the entire program as they always do, before heading to Budds Creek in Maryland in two weeks’ time. Sipes will be able to hold his head high and know that his future holds some very positive finishes. Anderson will do the same and come back swinging for better results. Wharton will look to learn from the past weekend and build towards a more successful race day. Izzi will hope for a good doctor visit and be back on the track as soon as possible.
High Point Raceway Image Gallery: CLICK HERE FOR PHOTOS
2013 High Point Raceway 450 Class Results (Moto Finish):
1. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki (1-1)
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (2-2)
3. Tyla Rattray, Durban, South Africa, Kawasaki (4-4)
4. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Honda (3-7)
5. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki (10-3)
6. Trey Canard, Oklahoma City, Okla., Honda, (7-5)
7. Ryan Sipes, Elizabethtown, Ky., Suzuki (6-6)
8. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha (5-8)
9. Jake Weimer, Twin Falls, Idaho, Kawasaki (8-9)
10. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki (11-11)
2013 AMA Motocross 450 Class Championship Standings:
1. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Wash., Kawasaki, 193
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 177
3. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Honda, 148
4. Trey Canard, Oklahoma City, Okla., Honda, 120
5. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., Suzuki, 116
6. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 104
7. Tyla Rattray, Durban, South Africa, Kawasaki, 95
8. Ryan Sipes, Elizabethtown, Ky., Suzuki, 79
9. Jake Weimer, Twin Falls, Idaho, Kawasaki, 69
10. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki, 67
2013 High Point Raceway 250 Class Results (Moto Finish):
1. Marvin Musquin, La Reole, France, KTM (2-1)
2. Ken Roczen, Apolda, Germany, KTM (1-2)
3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda (3-4)
4. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Honda (10-3)
5. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki (4-8)
6. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda (5-9)
7. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha (9-6)
8. Cooper Webb, Morehead City, N.C., Yamaha (6-11)
9. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., KTM, (13-5)
10. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Suzuki (12-7)
2013 AMA Motocross 250 Class Championship Standings:
1. Ken Roczen, Apolda, Germany, KTM, 185
2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 170
3. Marvin Musquin, La Reole, France, KTM, 163
4. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., Kawasaki, 141
5. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Honda, 127
6. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Suzuki, 100
7. Cooper Webb, Morehead City, N.C., Yamaha, 90
8. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Honda, 89
9. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha, 88
10. Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha, 81