Stewart gets 2012 campaign underway with 6th at Anaheim
The 2012 AMA Supercross series was launched in front of a capacity 45,000 crowd at the Anaheim stadium in Los Angeles last weekend and Joe Gibbs Racing’ James Stewart took his YZ450F to sixth position in the opening main event of seventeen on the U.S. calendar.
The former Champion endured a dramatic first evening of the season. He had marked the fastest lap-time in the second qualifier but was undone at the beginning of the 20 lap sprint when a poor start left him deep in the pack. Behind runaway leader and winner Ryan Villopoto Stewart worked up to third position and then enjoyed a tight battle with 2010 champion Ryan Dungey.
The Floridian made a small mistake on the approach to a table-top jump and hit the hay bales at the side of the track, causing a crash and some light damage to his motorcycle. He was hit in the stomach by his handlebar but had no other problems. By the time he could rectify his radiator plastic shroud and regain his composure he had lost several places and needed to push again to reach sixth.
“James showed a lot of patience out there tonight,” said JGR/Toyota Yamaha team manager Jeremy Albrecht. “He didn’t get the best of starts, but he did a really good job of being patient and catching the leaders without taking too many risks. But the track was changing a lot throughout the night and he just got caught out over there and landed in the Tuff Blox. He was missing a radiator shroud when he got up, and the front end was kind of tweaked, but he still made the most of it. Championships are won on your bad days, and this wasn’t a good day, but he still salvaged sixth place. That’s pretty good.”
Ryan Morais and Davi Millsaps filled 15th and 16th places under the Anaheim lights. Ryan Sipes (5th spot) and Monster Energy Yamaha’s Zach Osborne – completing several West Coast events as warm-up for the FIM MX2 World Championship – (9th) posted finishes on the YZ250F in the Lites division.
Round two takes place next weekend at Chase Field in Phoenix.