James Stewart made a huge buzz two weeks ago when he announced his switch to Yoshimura Suzuki for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series, after a four-year hiatus. On Saturday, he made his debut with his new bike and team at the series opener, the Hangtown Motocross Classic in Sacramento, California. And when the day was over, it was clear that Stewart is prepared for a dominant return, finishing with two wins for first place overall.
“This has been a great day,” Stewart said. “My goal was to come in here and finish in the top-five. We still have a little bit of work to do with the new bike, so I didn’t want to come to Hangtown expecting too much."
The weeks leading into the outdoor National series were grueling (to say the least) for Stewart, as his highly publicized switch over to the Yoshimura Suzuki team required a major transition with little time to dial in his new machine. Thanks to a great supporting cast, working day and night, however, JS7 was able to return to winning form under the warm Sacramento sun, and the near-capacity crowd went absolutely nuts as he put his stamp back on outdoor motocross.
"I’m really just using the series to continue developing my setup for next year, but I also want to perform well for my new team and fans, and also have some fun while we’re at it," Stewart added. "Of course, nothing is more fun than winning, so I’m feeling great right now!”
Read on to see how all of Red Bull’s MX athletes fared at the 2012 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series opener at Hangtown…
450 Moto 1
- When the gates dropped for the first 450 moto of the day, Stewart jumped out to a great start and made a pass for the lead early on lap one.
- Behind Stewart, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey got trapped just outside the top-10 as the pack railed through turn one but immediately began picking off riders.
- By the midway point of the 30-minute-plus, two-lap moto, JS7 had extended his lead to 10 seconds ahead of Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Brett Metcalfe.
- As the clock wound down and the two-lap signal came out, Dungey moved his way into third and continued pressing forward in an attempt to reel in Davi Millsaps.
- When the checkers waved, Stewart cruised across the line with a seemingly easy victory -- his first outdoor win since going undefeated during the 2008 season.
450 Moto 2
- The final 450 moto of the day got started with a Mike Alessi holeshot, with Dungey and Stewart close behind in second and third, respectively.
- On lap three, Stewart put passes on both Dungey and Alessi to take over the lead, but Dungey picked up the pace and held onto the back of Stewart’s rear wheel, as they began pulling away from the field.
- JS7 began opening up a slight lead over Dungey at the halfway point, and as they began navigating through lapped riders Stewart was able to thread the needle a bit cleaner to extend his lead to just over four seconds.
- Slicing and dicing his way through lapped traffic, JS7 continued stretching his lead to nearly seven seconds and took the checkers with a very impressive win.
- In a much better performance than Moto 1, Dungey rode across the line in second to take second overall for the day.
|450 MOTO 1 RESULTS||450 MOTO 2 RESULTS||OVERALL RESULTS|
|1.||James Stewart||1.||James Stewart||1.||James Stewart|
|2.||Davi Millsaps||2.||Ryan Dungey||2.||Ryan Dungey|
|3.||Ryan Dungey||3.||Mike Alessi||3.||Mike Alessi|
|4.||Brett Metcalfe||4.||Andrew Short||4.||Andrew Short|
|5.||Andrew Short||5.||Brett Metcalfe||5.||Brett Metcalfe|
|6.||Brock Tickle||6.||Jame Weimer||6.||Brock Tickle|
|7.||Mike Alessi||7.||Brock Tickle||7.||Davi Millsaps|
|8.||Tommy Hahn||8.||Josh Grant||8.||Jake Weimer|
|9.||Josh Grant||9.||Kyle Chisholm||9.||Josh Grant|
|10.||Jake Weimer||10.||Nico Izzi||10.||Nico Izzi|
250 Moto 1
- The 250 Moto 1 holeshot went to Honda’s Justin Barcia, but Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen immediately began applying pressure from second.
- After starting just outside the top-10, Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin battled his way into fifth by lap three, setting his sights on the top-three just a few seconds ahead.
- On lap four, Roczen began showing Barcia a wheel before throwing down an impressive pass for the lead less than a lap later.
- By the start of lap 11, Barcia had worked his way back up to Roczen out front, and the two exchanged passes for nearly a half lap.
- With four laps to go, Roczen began opening up some breathing room ahead of Barcia, establishing a relatively comfortable two-second lead.
- As the top-three (Roczen, Barcia, and Blake Baggett) crossed the finish line double to take the white flag, the gap tightened, and it was clear that it would turn into a three-man battle all the way to the checkers.
- After leading for the majority of the moto, Roczen was unable to hold off a hard-charging Baggett with just two corners to go and was forced to settle for a second-place finish.
- Behind the leaders, Musquin held strong to finish Moto 1 in the fifth spot.
250 Moto 2
- When Moto 2 hit the track, Roczen jumped out to another second-place start but a bobble through a tough rutted section on lap one forced him back to fifth.
- Musquin looked strong just inside the top-five early on, but unfortunately a few mistakes and some lingering pain in his recently-broken hand led to his dropping several positions.
- With Moto 1 winner Baggett holding down a strong lead up front, Roczen put in a gritty effort on the incredibly rough Hangtown circuit, passing his way back into third late in the race.
- During the closing laps, Roczen made a push to catch Barcia in second but was unable to close the gap enough to challenge for the position.
- Roczen’s 2-3 moto finishes were good for third place overall -- an impressive effort to get the series started.
|250 MOTO 1 RESULTS||250 MOTO 2 RESULTS||OVERALL RESULTS|
|1.||Blake Baggett||1.||Blake Baggett||1.||Blake Baggett|
|2.||Ken Roczen||2.||Justin Barcia||2.||Justin Barcia|
|3.||Justin Barcia||3.||Ken Roczen||3.||Ken Roczen|
|4.||Eli Tomac||4.||Martin Davalos||4.||Ivan Tedesco|
|5.||Marvin Musquin||5.||Ivan Tedesco||5.||Eli Tomac|
|6.||Ivan Tedesco||6.||Blake Wharton||6.||Martin Davalos|
|7.||Wil Hahn||7.||Justin Bogle||7.||Kyle Cunningham|
|8.||Jason Anderson||8.||Kyle Cunningham||8.||Jason Anderson|
|9.||Kyle Cunningham||9.||Jason Anderson||9.||Marvin Musquin|
|10.||Jake Canada||10.||Eli Tomac||10.||Wil Hahn|
WMX Moto 1
- The women of the WMX series kicked off the racing program at Hangtown at just after 12:15pm local time, and it was reigning National Champion Ashley Fiolek aboard her Red Bull-backed factory Honda who grabbed the holeshot and early lead.
- Though passed early on by series rival Jessica Patterson, Fiolek came back strong to regain the lead and eventually began extending a comfortable gap.
- After setting the quickest lap time during the morning practice sessions, TLD Honda Red Bull’s Tarah Gieger put in a solid third-place effort in WMX Moto 1 to finish just behind Fiolek and Patterson.
WMX Moto 2
- A carbon copy of Moto 1, the second and final WMX race of the day started with another Fiolek holeshot with Patterson close behind in second.
- Midway through lap one, Patterson put an inside move on Fiolek down one of Hangtown’s rough downhills to steal the lead.
- On lap two, Fiolek went down while trying to avoid a lapped rider and unfortunately dropped four positions back to sixth before remounting.
- With Patterson holding down the lead, Gieger moved her way into third behind Meghan Rutledge on lap three.
- Just seconds later, Patterson went down while out front all alone, allowing Rutledge and Gieger to sneak by for first and second, respectively.
- As the track continued getting rougher, Gieger made a few mistakes that allowed Patterson to get back by late in the moto, but held strong to finish the day comfortably in third.
- Unable reel the top-three back in after recovering from her earlier crash, Fiolek came in for a respectable fifth-place finish when all was said and done.
- Up front, Australia’s Rutledge took the checkers for her first-ever WMX win, with Patterson close behind in second.
- Patterson’s 2-2 moto finishes were good for first overall on the day, with Fiolek taking the second spot with her 1-5 and Gieger third after a solid 3-3 effort.
|WMX MOTO 1 RESULTS||WMX MOTO 2 RESULTS||OVERALL RESULTS|
|1.||Ashley Fiolek||1.||Meghan Rutledge||1.||Jessica Patterson|
|2.||Jessica Patterson||2.||Jessica Patterson||2.||Ashley Fiolek|
|3.||Tarah Gieger||3.||Tarah Gieger||3.||Tarah Gieger|
|4.||Jacqueline Strong||4.||Sayaka Kaneshiro||4.||Meghan Rutledge|
|5.||Kasie Creson||5.||Ashley Fiolek||5.||Sayaka Kaneshiro|
|6.||Alexah Pearson||6.||Kasie Creson||6.||Kasie Creson|
|7.||Sayaka Kaneshiro||7.||Amanda Maheu||7.||Mariana Balbi|
|8.||Lindsey Palmer||8.||Mariana Balbi||8.||Sara Pattersson|
|9.||Mariana Balbi||9.||Sara Pattersson||9.||Lindsey Palmer|
|10.||Sara Price||10.||Jacqueline Strong||10.||Hailey Larson|
Round number two of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series takes place next weekend at the Freestone National an hour outside of Dallas, Texas, so be sure to check back in for a full recap.
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- See more photos from Hangtown
- Stewart joins the Yoshimura Suzuki team
- Watch Ashley Fiolek rip some practice laps