Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson Answers Back with a Win in Phoenix

January 16, 2012

Irvine, Calif. (January 16, 2012) – After an action-packed night of racing, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson took home his first win of the season in the AMA Supercross Lites Western Region at Round 2 of the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series, an FIM World Championship at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz. Wilson’s teammate Tyla Rattray grabbed the holeshot on his way to a third-place finish. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer had the ride of his life, winning his heat race and scoring his first ever supercross class podium, finishing in second place. Ryan Villopoto put together an amazing main event performance, fighting his way back from last all the way to third, and left Phoenix in a tie for the series points lead. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Broc Tickle missed the supercross class main event after crashing in his heat race and finishing third in the last chance qualifier (LCQ).

Man on a Mission
Wilson started off the night strong laying down the fastest qualifying practice time in the lites class aboard his Kawasaki KX™250F. He went on to win his heat race and headed into the main event confident he had what it took to come out on top. When the gate dropped in the main, Wilson got a good jump off the start and pulled into third. As the top three riders came out of the first corner and into a rhythm section, Wilson found an opening and quickly moved out front. By the sixth lap, Wilson had a four-second lead and continued to ride smooth and consistent until the finish.

“It felt brilliant taking the win tonight,” said Wilson. “I was able to get into the lead early and had a nice, clear track for most of the race. I just focused on putting down clean laps. I felt like I had really good lines out there and was really working on controlling my breathing. This win really means a lot because last weekend at Anaheim I felt like I should have won, but I just made some mistakes that cost me. I know I have what it takes to win, but now I know what I need to do to make that happen.”

Building Steam
Since Weimer climbed aboard the 2012 Kawasaki KX™450F he has been showing steady improvement. In his heat race, he got a great jump off the start and quickly moved into the lead. He held onto the lead until the checkered flag to earn his first-ever supercross class heat win. Weimer advanced to the main event with more confidence than ever and was determined to claim a spot on the podium. In the main event he got a great start and quickly moved into second. He laid down 20 smooth and fast laps, concentrating on one of his season’s goals, to earn a podium finish. His impressive performance netted the first supercross main event podium of his career.

“Tonight felt awesome,” said Weimer. “It’s been a long time since I stood on the podium. I have been working so hard to get up there, it feels so good to have it finally pay off. There are still a lot of rounds left, and I still have a lot of work to do, but this was an awesome night for me and the Monster Energy Kawasaki team. I really liked the layout of the track; there was a good mix of elements, but nothing too crazy. I just focused on throttle control, connecting sections, being smooth and clicking down laps. My new race bike is dialed, it’s got plenty of power and handles awesome, so I’m feeling really positive going into the next round.”

Dropping the Hammer
Villopoto clocked the fastest lap time during qualifying practice and was confident he knew what it was going to take to win on the hardpacked, slick surface. In the main event, he got a mid-pack start and was setting up a pass when another rider went down right in front of him, causing him to crash. When he picked up his bike he was sitting in 18th place, with 19 laps to go. He charged through the field on a mission, picking off rider after rider, moving closer to the front with each lap. On the final lap, Villopoto did the seemingly impossible, and made the push past third in the final few turns of the race to secure a spot on the podium.

“It was a tough night,” said Villopoto. “I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Davi (Milsaps) went down in the sand right in front of me and I got tangled up with him. I knew I had the speed, and really felt my bike was on, but it took a lot of work moving through the field to finish third. I ran into a little bad luck tonight, but overall I feel good about the ride. It was still a bummer though because I felt the win was pretty close before I went down. I’m looking forward to getting back to Dodger Stadium where I won last year.”

Coming Out Swinging
Although Rattray came to Phoenix feeling a little under the weather, he put together some impressive races and even threw down the fastest lap time in the first lites qualifying practice. In the main event, Rattray rocketed to the holeshot, but lost a couple spots in the first rhythm section. After the first lap, he rode smooth and consistent to finish the night in third place. With two podium finishes already under his belt this season, Rattray currently sits on top of the points standings.

“I’m happy with my performance so far this season,” said Rattray. “I was feeling good on the track all day and my mechanic really had my bike tuned perfect for this track. I got a good gate choice for the main and got a great jump off the start. I nailed the holeshot but over-jumped the triple and that’s when (Marvin) Musquin and Dean (Wilson) went by me. Other than that mistake I felt like I rode really solid the rest of the race.”

Working Out the Bugs
Reigning 2011 AMA Supercross Lites Western Region Champion Tickle is still getting adjusted to the 450cc bike since his move up to the supercross class. In the first qualifying practice, Tickle was 10th fastest, but could not seem to string together consistent laps in the evening program. In his heat race, Tickle finished 17th and was forced to the LCQ. In the LCQ, Tickle got a mid-pack start and moved into third by the final lap. He tried to make a pass for second, but ran out of laps before the finish and wasn’t able to transfer to the main.

“Tonight I was struggling to find a consistent line,” said Tickle. “I kept over jumping and felt my timing was really off. I just didn’t put it together tonight. I’ve been working hard like everyone else on the team so it’s pretty disappointing to not make the main. I’ve just got to keep working hard. I’m going to get back on my feet and try to redeem myself next weekend.”

Impressive Performances
While seeing Weimer on the podium at the end of the night may have been a surprise to some, the Monster Energy Kawasaki team expected it. Weimer has looked impressive all winter and his hard work during the off-season paid dividends in Phoenix. Though Weimer’s ride was impressive, his teammate Villopoto may have outshined him on the night as he passed 14 riders in the main event to keep hold on the series points lead.

“It was a great night for Kawasaki,” said Team Manager Dan Fahie. “Considering there are six spots on the podium and Kawasaki riders took four of them, it really goes to show the strength and depth of our team. The proof was there on the podium for everyone to see. It’s no secret Jake has been improving. He’s really been doing a great job, working hard, and it’s showing. Ryan’s performance really speaks for itself. Going from 18th to third is absolutely outstanding. He was moving through the field really fast, but was also safe and in control while getting it done. It was an outstanding effort by both of our riders.”

Desert Son
Chase Field in Phoenix has always been good to Weimer and this year was no different for the Idaho-born rider. Weimer earned his first professional win at the stadium in 2008, claiming victory in the supercross lites class one week after failing to qualify for the main event in the season opener. He repeated the fete in 2010. After four races in Phoenix, Weimer has an average finish of second.

Dodger Stadium
Next week the teams head to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif., for Round 3 of the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series, an FIM World Championship.

2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series – Round 2
Chase Field – Phoenix, Ariz.
January 14, 2012

Supercross Results
1. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM

4. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda
5. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Honda

Supercross Lites West Results

2. Marvin Musquin, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
4. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda
5. Cole Seely, Murrieta, Calif., Honda

Supercross Points Standings

2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 45
4. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Honda, 38
5. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda, 31

Supercross Lites West Points Standings

2. Cole Seely, Murrieta, Calif., Honda, 41
4. Marvin Musquin, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 40
5. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 38