Anaheim 2 SX Notes

January 19, 2007 7:27am

AURORA, Ill. (January 19, 2007) – As Suzuki’s Ricky Carmichael makes his way to the CBS Sports telecast booth to provide color commentary, along side Ralph Sheheen and Jeff Emig, instead of lining up for the main event, his heir apparent, James Stewart, hopes to extend his points lead in Amp’d Mobile World Supercross GP/Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series.

Although Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Stewart has won the past two weekends he continues to reiterate that his focus is on the championship and not on winning the next race. “I feel like as far as just learning how to race for a championship, I think I learned that more, but I don’t race just to win races; I race to win championships, and that’s been my goal ever since I came into this thing. I’m gonna race the same, because that’s the way I am.  I just think I got a lot more knowledge as far as how to do it and when to do it, and I think that’s the only thing that’s changed.”

In his post-race press conference at Phoenix, Stewart mentioned that “he struggled with bike set up” last week and that the race track at Chase Field was different than what was designed at Anaheim for the opening round. The Monster Energy Kawasaki team of mechanics and engineers worked closely with Stewart throughout the day to make the adjustments to the track. And the end result: Another win for the new Kawasaki KX450F.

Stewart and teammate Tim Ferry, both Floridians, returned to their California residences to test and practice at the Kawasaki track in Corona, Calif., where they will spend most of the week testing and riding in preparation for the second Anaheim race. The two riders share the test facility with riders from Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, Team MotoSport Kawasaki and Cernic’s Kawasaki.

Two podium finishes, two translators for Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel. In fact last week’s translator was none other than former world champion Sebastien Tortelli. The Frenchmen said in last week’s press conference that prior to the opening race, he didn’t think about winning races in the west region of AMA Supercross Lites competition. He races into Anaheim 2 with the series points lead. It may be time to invest in a translator because he shows no signs of slowing down.

San Manuel Yamaha boss Larry Brooks swears that Chad Reed isn’t just a great supercross racer, he’s a tough guy, too. For the second consecutive weekend Reed finished on the podium, riding through the pain of a nasty shoulder injury. He’s grimacing before, during and after the race. “The biggest thing that is going on with us right now is Chad trying to get healthy,” said Brooks. “The first weekend, Chad was a superstar that he raced and finished on the podium, but the hype went away for the second weekend that he rode hurt. His body was about 10% better the second weekend and he still got third but no one talked about him being hurt and I would like everyone to remember bones don't heal in two weeks, so they guy is a tough guy.”

Between races, Reed’s training regime is limited to say the least.

“Well, I really should, you know, ride that stationary bicycle, but, I can’t run, I can’t lift weights, so everything’s kind of limited to the – to the Tivo control,” said Reed.

Reed’s teammate Nathan Ramsey, a former AMA Supercross Lites champion, hopes to redeem himself at Anaheim 2 this weekend. His Anaheim 1 performance is one he’d like to forget as he failed to make the main event. “He did much better Rd. 2 finishing 11th,” said Brooks. “He had a rough time at A-1, falling in the first corner in both the Heat and the LCQ. We hope that he can improve on that at A-2. We had made a few changes to his motorcycle after A-1, and this gave him a bit more confidence. Now, with one race under his belt and another week to get use to the changes, we feel his result will be better again, but we have to wait and see.

Honda’s Travis Preston, a former AMA Supercross Lites class champion back in 2002, finished in fourth place for the second consecutive weekend. At Anaheim 1 and Phoenix Preston could have used a few more laps to stage a battle for the third place position held by Chad Reed.

“Being on the podium for me is like a win at this point and Preston, man, he’s working it for me,” said Reed.  “At the end of the race, he’s chasing me down and I’m watching him and he keeps coming.  So I’m hoping to get a little healthy this week and not have to deal with that.”

After completing his last two full-time Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series races at Anaheim and Phoenix, Makita Suzuki’s Ricky Carmichael decided to spend a few days in Arizona with his wife Ursula’s side of the family. 

“It was great, Phoenix is special to me,” said the 2006 AMA Supercross and Motocross Champion. “I have family from there, my first 250 podium was there in 2000.  I’d worked so hard to get that and it finally came at Phoenix. I just like everything about the place -- the smell, the surroundings… everything.” 

Following the quality family time, Carmichael headed back to Southern California, where he plans to spend some time testing the RM-Z450 with the Makita Suzuki crew.

“One thing I’m happy about is that I’ve always been able to step up to the speed (in the race),” said Carmichael. “I always feel like I’m elevating my game, and that’s a good personal goal that I’m proud of. Myself and James (Stewart), we’re so close on speed, and then my bike works great in areas and his bike works great in areas. But we’re riding the bikes as fast as they’ll go and as much as the tires will grip.  So bike set-up is a factor.”

Although Carmichael won’t be racing at the second Anaheim Amp’d Mobile Supercross this weekend, he will be on-site to sign autographs and provide color commentary for the Supercross broadcast. 

“Next weekend, I’ll come to the race,” said Carmichael.  “I have a talk show with Monster that I have to do on Saturday morning, and I’ll be there announcing.  I’m a fan just as much as I am a racer. I’ll miss racing James because we’ve had some epic battles. But I’m sure it’ll be going down at San Francisco and the races we do on the East Coast for our home-town fans.”

Makita Suzuki teammate Ivan Tedesco continues to nurse his injured left hand and hopes to get some riding in this week at Suzuki’s test track. So far, he’s been spending time doing physical therapy and allowing the hand to heal.

“I haven’t ridden during the week at all yet,” said Tedesco. “But hopefully I’ll get some seat time on the Makita Suzuki RM-Z250 this week, at least one day this week. And then maybe next week will be better and I can start battling for podium spots.”

According to Makita Suzuki Team Manager Roger DeCoster, both Carmichael and Tedesco will be putting in some hours out at the Suzuki test track in Corona, Calif., this week. 

“Ricky really wants to focus on turning,” said DeCoster. “And possibly some tire testing as well. Ivan will not be doing any testing, he will just be practicing.  He’s just going to try to ride Tuesday and Thursday – that’s our goal.”

Tedesco and Supercross Lites teammate Ryan Dungey will both be signing autographs at Chaparral Motorsports in San Bernardino, Calif., on Wednesday evening from 6 to 8 p.m.

According to Makita Tools’ Brent Withey, Makita will be in the pits at Anaheim 2 with the Makita 2007 Experience More Tour, which includes hands-on demos, more than 135 of the latest tool technology, new products and more.  Makita invites fans to experience the new products and win some Team Makita Suzuki Racing gear.  Makita valued dealers and large end-users will be attending the events as VIP Guests of Makita.

Wide Open Weekend: Director of Supercross Dave Prater says this weekend’s track will include seven lanes instead of the typical six. He also added that they toned down the technicality of the track. “This weekend’s track will be less technical and more wide open, which will make for some great racing. He also added that it’s going to be ‘different’ seeing Ricky Carmichael in the television booth instead of on the track. “The guy’s had an amazing career.”

Last weekend Team Solitaire rider/owner Ryan Clark, along with Ted Campbell showed up to Chase Field ready to ride at 4:30 a.m. for three local, live television shows. Unfortunately, two of the tree crews left the stadium when a humvee was stolen from the local Air Force base. The chase was the center of attention for the entire city. During a press conference in Phoenix two years ago, the media left Yamaha’s Chad Reed to cover a prison break.

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