San Francisco SX Notes

January 26, 2007 9:15am

AURORA, Ill. (January 26, 2007) – This weekend Suzuki’s Ricky Carmichael returns to Amp’d Mobile World Supercross GP/Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series at San Francisco’s AT&T Park tomorrow night. Carmichael, who holds the all-time win record with two at AT&T Park, can stop the three-race win streak that Kawasaki’s James Stewart brings to the city by the bay.

After finishing in eighth position in last week’s second Anaheim Supercross, Team Makita Suzuki Racing’s Ivan Tedesco’s plan for the week was to try and ride as much as possible.  Tedesco, who was injured at the Toronto stop of Amp’d Mobile  World Supercross GP in December, is still recovering from three broken bones in his left hand.  Fortunately, the healing process is progressing nicely.

“My hand’s getting better,” said Tedesco.  “It didn’t bother me too much over the weekend.  I’m at the point now where I just need some seat time on my Makita Suzuki RM-Z450.  I need to do some testing, work on the stuff that Ricky (Carmichael) came up with on the bike.  And I just need to work on myself -- work on my speed and work on getting better.”

Tedesco and his wife, Theresa, live in Murrieta, Calif.  With the upcoming San Francisco race so close to home, Tedesco has a little more time to train than usual.

“This week, I’m going to try to get two days on the bike,” he said, which is more time than he’s had to date.  “One day of testing and another day just out riding and doing some motos to get my speed up a little bit. It’ll be good for me to get some time on the Suzuki and I’ll come into San Francisco with a little more confidence.”

Makita Suzuki teammate Ricky Carmichael returns to Supercross racing at San Francisco this weekend.  Although Carmichael is looking forward to racing his Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 again, this week saw him attending the NASCAR media tour in Concord, NC.

Carmichael was featured in an AP news story in which he discussed transitioning from Supercross to NASCAR.

What about sponsors?

According to Makita Tools Brent Withey, Makita will be officially re-launching the Makita Experience More Truck and Trailer with a new, fresh paint-job, demos and overall look at this weekend’s San Francisco race. 

“Makita launched the Experience More Tour in January 2005 and is already keeping it fresh with the new look, focusing on our teal and black colors with a 25' Makita logo,” said Withey.

Last weekend in Anaheim marked the first time that Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart would grace the track without Ricky Carmichael, who missed the first race of his semi-retirement.  Many people speculated on how this would effect the 21-year old phenom, to which Stewart added, "I think everybody did a good job at telling me this is just another race and always ride the same. It was definitely different, but the way I approached the race was the same.”  Stewart’s three consecutive victories have become a good indication of how the season might unfold.  He has positioned his Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450F atop both the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series and Amp’d Mobile World Supercross GP point standings, thus lighting the path to a championship. Stewart remained in California this week to buckle down and train for this weekend’s race in San Francisco as he once again be on the line with Ricky Carmichael.

Monster Energy Kawasaki's Timmy Ferry had a spectacular night after having to work harder than he wanted to qualify out of the race heat race. “I was just glad to get through it.  I kind of spun on that gate and then got in a little first turn pile up.  I didn’t go down but, I was way back near last and had to work my way up.” He stayed in California this week for testing and is heading up to San Francisco where he hopes to grasp that elusive podium position.

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/ Kawasaki Team Manager Mitch Payton had a night of mixed emotions at Anaheim, with Ryan Villopoto winning for the second time this season and overtaking the AMA Supercross Lites points lead.  “I think Ryan rode probably his best supercross ever tonight," said Payton shortly after the race. Payton's night ended with news of Christophe Pourcel's injury in the main event. Pourcel, who suffered a break at the bottom of right leg near his ankle, may be returning to Europe to heal and get ready to race Motocross GP in Europe.

"This is an unfortunate incident as Pourcel had been riding really well here in the States, however, our main goal was for him to come here to get experience and he was able to do that. We hope that everything turns out okay, but only time will tell."

Last weekend in Anaheim Carmichael tried his luck in the television booth alongside hosts Ralph Sheheen and Jeff Emig for the broadcast. Emig, the 1997 AMA Supercross champion and former teammate of Carmichael, said RC was confident, comfortable and loose. “He wasn’t intimidated at all,” said Emig. “Listening to him call the race gave not only the viewers insight from the greatest racer of all time, he taught me a few things. His insight is as close at it gets. He has raced with those guys for years now and he’s the reigning AMA Supercross champion.”

While Emig can say he’s been there and done that, it was during a different era in the sport’s history. Emig never raced a supercross or motocross race on a four-stroke during his AMA career.

“I have not raced a supercross since 1999, and a lot of things have changed since then. The introduction of the four-stroke motorcycle has certainly changed the dynamics of this sport. Because Ricky understands the strengths and weaknesses of the riders and their bikes, he is able to give a great explanation of what is going on out there.”

Three races in to the AMA Supercross Series and the talks of Stewart having a perfect season have already started. McGrath and Carmichael each racked up 14 overall and 13 consecutive race wins in their breakout seasons. Stewart is adamant that he wants a championship and does not want to focus on the record books.

“I just think now there are so many guys that can win,” said Stewart when asked about a perfect season. “When MC (McGrath) was doing it in 1996, it was just MC. He was just so much better than everyone else. I’m not knocking the other guys, but in supercross, he was just that guy. Now with Ricky still here on a partial schedule, there is Chad that’s running a lot better than he had the last weekend [as possible winners]. As long as I keep doing what I want to do—like I said in the press conference, it’s not about a perfect season, it’s about trying to put myself in the best position to win the championship.”

Emig stopped McGrath’s perfect season in St. Louis after 13 weeks of domination.

“I’ve lived through a season when one guy has won everything, and it’s no fun,” said Emig. “It took 13 weeks of losing to finally beat the guy. I was pissed all season; it wasn’t like I decided to put together a solid ride near the end of the year. I was upset after losing the first race. To win every race or to win 14 in one season is an amazing feat. The pressure of that is so substantial that it takes a real champion to pull it off.”

Yamaha’s Jason Lawrence turned in his second podium appearance of the season last weekend, finishing second to Villopoto. As a rookie last year, Lawrence turned in one podium finish at the sloppy Seattle stop. Lawrence currently sits in second place overall, 17 points behind Villopoto.

“Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be happy without a win,” said Lawrence after the race. “I’m just trying to stay in here right now for the championship, and just not do anything stupid in case Ryan were to have a race like I had last weekend. I mean, last weekend, I feel like I would have been on the podium there too; I was already up to fourth from about twelfth on lap five and went down with Dusty Klatt.  So, at the end of the year, you could look at it like that.  That might just take me out of the championship, but if Ryan were to have a little bad race, like an eighth like I just had, it’ll put us right back up there.

After finishing in fourth place at Anaheim 1 and Phoenix, Honda’s Travis Preston came into Anaheim 2 with high hopes for a podium finish. Unfortunately, a practice crash put him on the sidelines. Preston spent Saturday night in the hospital and returned home the next morning. He is expected to race this weekend.

Factory Yamaha rookie Josh Hill earned the first podium appearance of his career last weekend, finishing third. Hill says his finish should have come earlier in the season so he could be a title contender.

“I was hoping for at least a podium at the first race,” said Hill. “That’s what I really wanted, to actually put myself in championship position. But it didn’t work out, so I just tried to make the best of it. I ended up hurting my wrist at A-1, and just tried to make the best of it, the best I could.”

Despite a scary practice crash in Phoenix, where the race was red flagged, Honda’s David Vuillemin returned to action at Anaheim 2 finishing 11th. Vuillemin says the crash hurt him physically not mentally.

“I wasn't bothered mentally at all. I have a broken rib, which I found out after the race when I went to get checked out on Monday. I think I won't be at 100% for another 3-4 weeks.”

 “I am glad the injuries were not more severe. I can't work out or ride during the week.”

The Frenchman currently sits in 11th place for the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series.

Five, five four. Kawasaki’s Tim Ferry, who finished in fifth place at Anaheim 1 and Phoenix, earned his best finish of the season last weekend, finishing fourth. Ferry is currently in third place overall, 10 points behind Chad Reed.