Round two of the 2012 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championships at Freestone, Texas. The action in every moto delivered in a big way as James Stewart and Ryan Dungey battled throughout the day in the 450 MX class, with Stewart winning twice. In the 250 Class, Eli Tomac swept both motos to show that he has learned from his first two Freestone experiences. Stewart leads 450 points, and Baggett retains lead in 250 point standings.
250 Class qualifying – Eli Tomac put down the fastest qualifying time (2:01.85) ahead of Round 1 winner, Blake Baggett (2:02.06). Jason Anderson took third (2:02.51) with Ken Roczen (2:02.56) and Marvin Musquin (2:02.62) in fourth and fifth.
450 Class qualifying – James Stewart stepped up his game in the second go around, taking the pole position (1:59.12). Ryan Dungey qualified second (2:01.09) and Josh Grant looks to be back on pace with third (2:01.11). Broc Tickle (2:01.34) and Nico Izzi (2:01.52) rounded out the top five spots.
450 Class Moto 1 – Kyle Regal took the opening moto holeshot, with Ryan Dungey, James Stewart, Josh Grant in tow. By the end of the first lap, Stewart had worked his way into the lead while Dungey still had to work his way into second. By the second lap, Stewart and Dungey had already begun to break away from the rest of the pack, with Izzi, Grant, and Jake Weimer hanging within the top five.
As the race neared the halfway mark, Dungey had closed to within a second of Stewart and looked ready to make a pass. However, Stewart was able to find some more speed and open some space again between he and the KTM rider. In the next few laps, Weimer would work his way past Izzi for third.
With the clock winding down, Dungey again had worked his way to within passing distance, but Stewart was again able to retaliate with some assistance from a few lapped riders. Stewart would take a very narrow win over Dungey, with Weimer in third. Izzi and Grant rounded out the top five.
250 Class Moto 1 – Jessy Nelson jumped out to the early lead in only his second pro race, followed closely by Phil Nicoletti and Marvin Musquin. Nicoletti worked his way into the lead shortly thereafter, but Nelson countered on the next lap and began to break away, as Ken Roczen moved into third.
Eli Tomac began in the top six, but was a man on a mission and on the third lap had somehow already worked his way into the lead. While Nelson would eventually give into the advances of several riders, he eventually held onto seventh place. Blake Baggett, in his typical form, did not get the best start, but by the midway point, had worked into second place, displacing Ken Roczen.
450 Class Moto 2 – Ryan Dungey grabbed the holeshot in the second moto, but in turn two, James Stewart was able to sneak both Dungey and Mike Alessi for the lead. From there the number seven and number five machines went on a moto long battle that was even closer than the first moto.
Dungey, having learned from the first moto, attempted a few passes early on in the race, but in all instances, Stewart was able to respond. At the midway point of the moto, while going through the infamous Texas 12 sand whoops, Stewart’s bike began swapping from side to side, allowing Dungey to close in on the Suzuki rider. But James saved the mistake, maintaining his lead.
As the race neared the 30 minute mark, the two lead riders had put a massive amount of space back to thrid placed Alessi. Josh Grant had run his strongest moto in several years, while Andrew Short was having an excellent run in the Texas heat. At the finish it was Stewart with the win and overall victory, folllowed by Dungey and Alessi.
With a perfect four-for-four season on the Yoshimura Suzuki so far, James Stewart said afterwards: “I thought my day went good. It was a tough one, but fun. I got two good starts, made quick passes, and set the tone with a good pace. Ryan rode really well, but I did my own thing out front. I knew he’d be there the whole time. I felt like we were even today and if he had gotten out front, he could have done the same thing.”
And second place, on the Red Bull KTM, Ryan Dungey said “I got off to good starts in both motos. I tried to make a pass happen the whole moto, but there was maybe more I should have done. It just didn’t come together. James is a tough competitor and it’s good for the both of us to push each other to new limits.”
250 Class Moto 2 – Jessy Nelson captured his second holeshot of the day, taking the early lead but was quickly passed by the likes of Texas’ own, Blake Wharton. The Rockstar/Suzuki rider was a crowd favorite and immediately began to distance himself from Nelson and the rest of the pack.
Following the lead duo was Wil Hahn, having his best ride of the year so far, with Jason Anderson and Eli Tomac in tow. Just as in the first moto, Tomac quickly began to pick off the riders in front of him, and by lap four, had worked his way into second place.
For the next few laps, Tomac stalked Wharton, edging closer with each turn until making the pass stick. At that point, the rider on the move was Blake Baggett, who started the race in 13th place. By mid-point, the points leader had moved into third, and also began to hunt Wharton.
On the final lap, the two riders were neck and neck, but Wharton failed to clear a small triple, handing the lead to Baggett. At the finish it was Tomac winning again, Baggett, Wharton, Justin Barcia (who also had an excellent ride through the pack after starting the race in 20th), and Hahn.
250 MX Lites winner Eli Tomac of the GEICO Honda team said: “This is the greatest turnaround in my dirt biking career. This track did in my 2010 season both mentally and a little physically. It seems like it’s taken two years since I’ve been able to get my _____ together. I’ve got podiums here and there since my first win in Hangtown in 2010, … to not get a win has been really annoying. Today feels like a weight is off my shoulders. My starts this week were good enough. I got a little balled up in the first corner in both motos, which cost me a couple of starts. After that, my pace was good all day. I had a really good flow around the track and could hop, skip and jump the bumps really well. It just takes some time and experience at these tracks. It’s really paying off now.”
Eli’s teammate and Supercross East Regional Champion Justin Barcia said: “It was not a fun day for me at all. I really had to work my butt off. First moto, I got a bad jump and got stuck behind two guys that crashed, so it slowed me up. I think I went from 19th to fourth. Then I got sideswiped at the start of the second moto, and had to come from 37th to fifth. I salvaged some good points today. It’s never a bad day when you are top five, but it’s not what we want. We want to win and be up there.”
Stewart and Dungey battling in 450 Moto 1
|1.||J Stewart SUZ||1/1|
|2.||Ryan Dungey KTM||2/2|
|3.||Mike Alessi SUZ||5/3|
|4.||Jake Weimer KAW||3/6|
|5.||Josh Grant KAW||6/4|
|6.||Andrew Short HON||10/5|
|8.||Brett Metcalfe SUZ||13/10|
|13.||J Brayton HON||14/14|
|14.||Broc Tickle KAW||7/40|
|15.||Kyle Regal YAM||25/8|
|250 Lites Results|
|1.||Eli Tomac HON||1/1|
|2.||B Baggett KAW||2/2|
|3.||Ken Roczen KTM||3/4|
|4.||B Wharton SUZ||6/3|
|5.||Justin Barcia HON||4/5|
|6.||M Musquin KTM||5/8|
|11.||M Davalos SUZ||14/13|
|12.||J Anderson SUZ||22/7|
|18.||M Stewart KTM||39/11|
|19.||Ivan Tedesco KAW||11/22|
|250 Lites Pts