Yoshimura-backed teams all showed strong performances once again in front of another sell-out crowd during the second round of the 2011 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship season Saturday night in Phoenix, AZ. The Rockstar Makita Suzuki, Rockstar Energy Suzuki, and Honda racing teams all showed the performance advantage of Yoshimura products with their strong results.
Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey piloted his Yoshimura-equipped Suzuki RM-Z450 to a fifth-place finish. Teammate Brett Metcalfe rode a strong race on his Suzuki as well, scoring an eighth-place finish in the 20-lap main event.
“We didn’t have the best of days, but I’m proud of the entire Rockstar Makita Suzuki team,” said Dungey. “We are in this together, whether they be good nights or those that don’t get you a win. The track was real tricky tonight, with slick spots all over the place. It wasn’t a track you could really push forward on. It was like we were riding on marbles in some turns. We are going right back to work this week. I’m looking forward to LA.”
“Practices went pretty good,” said Metcalfe. “I went into the heat race and got a bad start, but I was feeling pretty good and put in some good laps on my Suzuki. But then I missed a triple and lost my rhythm; ended up falling and got tight. So that was disappointing. My Rockstar Makita Suzuki team was able to make some changes to the bike that really helped me in the main. I didn’t get a good start, but I was able to ride much more solid and my Suzuki was working really well. I’m happy with another eighth-place and we’ll continue to make little improvements and get better as we go along. I’m really looking forward to next week at Dodger Stadium – I think it’s going to be a real exciting venue.”
American Honda Racing’s Trey Canard recorded his first podium result of the season in Phoenix. Competing in his first full supercross season for the factory Honda squad, Canard raced his Yoshimura-equipped Honda CRF450RÂ® to a third-place finish.
After finishing fifth in his heat race, Canard got away to a mid-pack start in the main and worked his way up to the number three spot by lap seven, where he remained until the race’s end, keeping both Chad Reed and defending champ Ryan Dungey at bay. “I’m really happy to score a podium finish so early in the season, but I’m not necessarily happy with the way I rode tonight,” said Canard. “There were a couple of sections that I just didn’t nail and with the level of talent in this competition, I can’t be messing sections up. The American Honda Racing team had my bike dialed in and my lap times were pretty good. I’m sure that as the season goes on and as I gain more experience in the supercross class, I will improve.”
Honda Racing’s Josh Grant was laying down solid laps on his Yoshimura-equipped CRF450R in his heat race when he was struck hard by another rider and went down. Determined to continue, Grant rejoined the competition but had to pull out to seek medical attention for an injured leg. “I’m bummed about getting hurt tonight,” said Grant. “I had my knee evaluated by the trackside Asterisk medical crew and x-rays showed it wasn’t broken so that’s good. I’ll have it checked by my doctor at home this week and take it from there.”
On the lites side, Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s Ryan Morais had a strong ride on his Yoshimura-equipped Suzuki RM-Z250 in the 15-lap lites main event, finishing third. Teammate Martin Davalos finished ninth on his Suzuki.
“Practice started out a little slow, but I felt better than last week,” said Morais. “The Rockstar Energy Suzuki team made a few changes to my bike for the main event and I got a great start, almost the hole-shot, and put myself in a good position, being really consistent, and tried not to make any mistakes because I know the track was really slick. I tried to be patient and let the race come to me. I ended up third. I’m happy. Hopefully this week leading up to LA I’ll be able to ride more and just put more time on my Suzuki, and I think I’ll be a lot better next weekend.”
“I felt great on my Suzuki in practice,” said Davalos. “I had a good heat race and felt like I was riding really well. In the main event, I just made a little mistake and it put me behind. I felt like I could have won. It was very disappointing, after a good practice and a great heat race, to have the problem in the main and end up ninth. Definitely something to take back home and work on, and come back to LA and try to win the race.”
The next stop of the 2011 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship for the Yoshimura-backed teams is Saturday, January 22nd, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA.
Photos courtesy: Yoshimura, Jake Klingensmith & Simon Cudby
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