Roczen, Davalos Earn Monster Energy AMA Supercross Wins in Atlanta

Feb. 24, 2014 By Scott Rousseau and Josh Burns, Photos by Rick Shepherd
Ken Roczen joins Ryan Villopoto, James Stewart and Chad Reed as the only racers with wins this season in the 450 class – or more specifically, the only riders with two wins.  

The Monster Energy Supercross season headed to Atlanta this past weekend for round 8 of the 17-race season. After Saturday's race in the Georgia Dome, Red Bull-KTM-mounted Ken Roczen can add his name to the two-win list this season along with Ryan Villopoto, James Stewart and Chad Reed, after earning the 450cc Supercross main event win.

“The track’s tough out there, and I didn’t feel great all day — I had a little cold,” Roczen said. “But the race was awesome. I made a little mistake so he [Villopoto] got by, and then he made the mistake and I got by. It was a good race, and I’m glad I was able to pull this off. It’s good for my confidence.”

Roczen made an early mistake but was able to recover and run a smooth and precise race from there on out. Although Villopoto tried his best to catch Roczen, the German cruised to the second win of his career.

Heading into the Atlanta race, it appeared as though the battle for the win might come down to Yoshimura’s James Stewart, who was looking for his third consecutive main event win, and defending Monster Energy Supercross Champion Villopoto, who was seeking to regain some momentum. When Mike Alessi snagged the holeshot to start the 22-rider, 20-lap main event, Stewart and Villopoto quickly already engaged in a wheel-to-wheel battle for second place right behind him as the field streamed through the second rhythm section on the opening lap. Stewart made his way to second place, while both Red Bull KTM riders, Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey, dropped Villopoto from second to fourth place on the opening lap.

Stewart appeared set to challenge Alessi for the lead when he suddenly lost the front end and crashed at the end of the slippery transition section that lead backward across the start straightaway to tie the track together. He dropped all the way to the back of the pack before he was able to get going again, and despite bulling his way through the field, he would finish a disappointing 11th place.

With that Alessi held the lead, while Roczen found himself in second place but at the front of a three-rider freight train that included Villopoto and Dungey, with GEICO Honda’s Wil Hahn in fifth place.

Although Villopoto (1) led for a good chunk of the race, Roczen (94) overtook him with six laps to go, though Villopoto was able to recover from hitting a Tuf Blok to secure second ahead of Ryan Dungey (5).

Roczen caught up to Alessi at the end of lap four, but a mistake over the finish line jump not only messed up Roczen’s bid for the lead, it also cost him one position to Villopoto. Roczen had to single the jump, allowing Villopoto to easily jump into second place. A clean pass on Alessi through a rhythm section netted Villopoto the race lead on lap six. Roczen also passed Alessi in the next whoop section. Dungey, however, was balked by Villopoto, and it cost the 2010 series champion valuable time on the track as Villopoto and Roczen pulled away.

Villopoto held a 1.8-second lead over his weekly training partner Roczen, yet the gap did not widen as Roczen kept pressure on the champ. The opening finally came for the patient Roczen, as Villopoto hit a tough block on the the entrance to a corner and nearly slid out. He was forced to back off the gas and single the triple-jump section, giving Roczen the opening he needed to take the lead with six laps to go. Villopoto recovered but was unable to get through lapped traffic allowing Roczen to grab the gold ahead of Villopoto and Dungey, respectively.

“It was definitely a tough track out there today,” Roczen said. “We kind of had some good traction out there, but…not, so it was really tricky and you had to use a lot of throttle control and be 100-percent focused the whole time.”

A second-place finish for Villopoto keeps him in the series points lead, though the champ admitted he struggled in the main event.

“I just started to ride a little bit tight, but I’m happy with where we finished,” Villopoto said. “I definitely made that big mistake and gave away the race right there. You know, we struggled all day in practice, and I don’t know what it was. I couldn’t get my line and couldn’t get my flow. I was able to find in the qualifier and in the main event. I just need to start riding like myself and start getting some race wins.”

James Stewart was never really able to compete for his third consecutive win in Atlanta after an early crash. He finish the race in 11th.

Dungey is still looking for his first win of 2014, but he appeared to be happy with his podium finish.

“It feels good,” Dungey said. “We were all right there, and the track got rougher toward the end there. I could have switched up my lines and made it a little easier on myself and not lost so much time making a few mistakes with the ruts getting deep. The track really deteriorated. I’m just happy the bike stayed pretty consistent. The setup and everything felt good. We will just keep building to get that win, but I’m happy with what we got here.”

Adam Cianciarulo (46) earned the holeshot and jumped out to an early lead but was passed by Martin Davalos (31).

For the 250cc main event, Martin Davalos finally broke through to earn his first career AMA Supercross main event win in Atlanta after taking 64 green flags in Supercross competition. The Ecuadorian rider made his first AMA start in 2006, and keeping his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki on two wheels throughout the race made all the difference.

Arlington Supercross 250cc main event winner Adam Cianciarulo had to qualify for the main via LCQ, but started off the final by taking the holeshot, followed by Davalos, who quickly jumped past Cianciarulo in a rhythm section. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team riders dueled at the front of the pack for the second weekend in a row, though their teammate Blake Baggett had a tougher start after tangling handlebars with another rider. He worked his way from the back of the pack to get inside the top 10 just six laps into the race.

Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha’s Anthony Rodriguez quickly made his way into third place followed by a sea of Honda riders, including Vince Friese, Blake Wharton, Justin Bogle, Jesse Wentland and Matt Bisceglia ran in fourth through eighth place, and all were “riding red.” Rodriguez was looking smooth until he bobbled in a rhythm section and slammed headlong into the face of a jump on lap seven, ending his race early.

After 64 starts, Martin Davalos earned his first Supercross victory in Atlanta.

Davalos had amassed a 5.2-second lead by lap eight, with Cianciarulo comfortably in second with a 7-second gap on Bogle and Wharton. Davalos held on to take the win about 3.2-seconds ahead of Cianciarulo, who hangs onto the series points lead as the series heads to round three in Indianapolis. Bogle finished third.

“This is the most amazing thing ever,” Davalos said. “I put so much hard work, and I’ve gone everywhere—left and right—to achieve this. For me, this is the most amazing feeling in the world. I came to America as a nobody, and just to be here, standing up top, it’s like a dream come true. I know it has taken a little longer than I thought, but I just can’t thank enough Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki for believing in me. My whole family is here from Ecuador, so this is the most amazing thing ever.”

Martin Davalos (center) earned his first-ever Supercross win. Adam Cianciarulo (left) earned second and the holeshot award, while Justin Bogle (right) finished third.

Baggett put together a nice pass on both Frieze and Wentland to take over fifth place with five laps to go when the two jammed each other over a double jump. Both Honda riders had to single the obstacle while Baggett took an outside line and soared past both of them. Fifth place is as high as Baggett would climb, but it was a strong effort to salvage points in a race that could have destroyed his chances for the Eastern Region title.

Muscle Milk Honda 450cc rider Justin Barcia had a tough day in Atlanta. After earning third last weekend in Arlington, Texas, Barcia suffered two crashes in practice and did not start his heat race.

Atlanta Supercross Results
February 22, 2014 (Round 8 of 17)

450cc Main
1. Ken Roczen-KTM
2. Ryan Villopoto-Kaw
3. Ryan Dungey-KTM
4. Wil Hahan-Hon
5. Justin Brayton-Yam
6. Mike Alessi-Suz
7. Broc Tickle-Suz
8. Weston Peick-Suz
9. Josh Grant-Yam
10. Andrew Short-KTM
11. James Stewart-Suz
12. Matt Goerke-KTM
13. Josh Hill-Suz
14. Ivan Tedesco-KTM
15. Chris Blose-Hon
16. Nick Wey-Kaw
17. Kyle Chisholm-Yam
18. Jimmy Albertson-Hon
19. Justin Sipes-Kaw
20. Nicholas Schmidt-Hon
21. Eli Tomac-Hon
22. Phil Nicoletti-Yam

Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series Points Standings (After 8 of 17 rounds)
1. Ryan Villopoto - 166/2 wins
2. Ken Roczen - 157/2 wins
3. James Stewart - 140/2 wins
4. Ryan Dungey - 136
5. Justin Brayton - 130
6. Chad Reed - 111/2 wins
7. Justin Barcia-109
8. Andrew Short-94
9. Wil Hahn-83
10. Broc Tickle-77

250cc Main
1. Martin Davalos-Kaw
2. Adam Cianciarulo-Kaw
3. Justin Bogle-Hon
4. Blake Wharton-Hon
5. Blake Baggett-Kaw
6. Vince Friese-Hon
7. Jimmy DeCotis-Hon
8. Cole Thompson-KTM
9. Matt Lemoine-Kaw
10. Mitchell Oldenburg-Hon
11. Jesse Wentland-Hon
12. Kyle Cunningham-Hon
13. AJ Catanzaro-Hon
14. Justin Starling-Hon
15. Gannon Audette-Kaw
16. Alex Martin-Yam
17. Gavin Faith-Hon
18. Jace Owen-Hon
19. Ryan Zimmer-Hon
20. Anthony Rodriguez-Yam
21. Matt Bisceglia-Hon
22. Kyle Peters-Hon

AMA 250cc Eastern Region Supercross Series Points Standings (after 2 of 8 rounds)
1. Adam Cianciarulo-47/1 win
2. Martin Davalos-45/1 win
3. Blake Baggett-38
4. Justin Bogle-36
5. Vince Friese-33
6. Blake Wharton-32
7. Cole Thompson-28
8. Kyle Cunningham-22
9. Mitchell Oldenburg-22
10. Jimmy DeCotis-20 Newsletter
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