Houston SX Notes

AURORA, Ill. (February 16, 2008) – Yamaha of Troy’s Jason Lawrence says he doesn’t mind having a target on his back. In last weekend’s Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites class main event, Lawrence, who is 20 years old and resides in Carlsbad, Calif., left San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium with a two-point edge over Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey. This weekend Monster Energy® Supercross, an FIM World Championship, races into Houston’s Reliant Stadium to showcase another chapter in this race for the championship.

Dungey left Anaheim 1 with a three-point lead over Lawrence. He went into Anaheim 2 nine points ahead of Lawrence. Heading into San Francisco, he was 22 points ahead of Broc Hepler. He led Dan Reardon by 19 points heading into Anaheim 3, and at San Diego he left two points behind Lawrence.

Lawrence better not get too comfortable in the lead because wiht two races left, Houston and Seattle, this championship is far from over and will be decided on the last lap in Seattle.

“This is the third week in a row where things haven’t really gone our way,” said Dungey. “At the same time, I have been riding fast, I have been riding strong and I have been riding consistent, but I have been making some small mistakes here and there in the main and that’s costing me. I just need to relax and stay focused on riding smart in these last few rounds. We’re only a few points behind in the championship and that’s the goal that we’re working toward.”

The AMA Supercross class race will air on CBS Sports Sunday, February 17 at Noon, and the AMA Supercross Lites class race will air on SPEED Friday, February 22 at Noon.

Yamaha’s Josh Hill is still recovering from the flu he caught after racing in San Francisco. “Overall he had a good weekend in San Diego,” said Yamaha Team Manager Jim Perry. “He set the fourth fastest lap time in practice, made a few mistakes in the heat race and challenged Windham at the start of the main. This week he was able to ride a lot, and we are looking for 20 solid laps this weekend in Houston.”

“It’s all about the start,” claimed KTM’s Director of Racing, Kurt Nicoll in regards to what the MDK KTM riders would need to do in order to get a top three finish in Houston.

Nicoll continued, “The teams have been busy practicing starts all week, and I believe we have made steady progress and should see improved results this weekend at the Reliant Stadium. MDK KTM Team coaches Sebastien Tortelli and Rick Johnson have been helping the riders throughout this season, and lately have been focusing more on enhancing starts and taking good lines.”

MDK KTM Lites rider Justin Brayton has been training hard all season long despite an ongoing battle with a head cold. “Regardless of my cold, I feel good about heading to Houston. I know I need to finish well there in order to break into the top five in the points chase. From there I will work on getting into the top three, which is my goal for the season,” commented Brayton who currently sits sixth in overall points.

His teammate Billy Laninovich has been busy training as well. Laninovich has been spending hours at the tracks and the gym this week in preparation for Houston.

MDK KTM Factory rider, Nick Wey, has been at the KTM test track the majority of the week with Team Manager Steve Lamson. “Nick has been working hard all week; we have made huge improvements to the bike and Nick is really happy with his 450SX-F,” commented Lamson. “I feel we will see his best result yet this weekend in Houston.”

Last week’s AMA Supercross race at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium was bittersweet for Rockstar Makita Suzuki Factory Racing. While AMA Supercross-class rider David Vuillemin picked up his best result of the season, his teammate Mike Alessi suffered a broken collarbone.

Going into this weekend’s race in Houston, Vuillemin feels confident and is looking forward to improving upon what was already an impressive performance last week. Additionally, the Frenchman is enthusiastic about racing his Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450 at Houston’s famous venue. 

“San Diego was good for my confidence after struggling in the first five races,” said Vuillemin. “I showed myself I could still ride strong and get a top-seven finish. I was starting to question myself a little bit. I have to thank the whole Rockstar Makita Suzuki team for suiting the bike perfectly last weekend, especially in suspension. I see San Diego as a stepping-stone for better days yet. I’ve continued working, even though I can't do my full physical training due to my knee. I’m looking forward to Houston, partially because the race is in a recently built stadium and also because the Texas fans are always great. The floor plan is huge and it's some of the best dirt on the circuit. I can't wait to check the track designed by rider Kevin Windham, too.”

Meanwhile, Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Alessi will not race at Houston. After breaking his right collarbone in a crash during practice last weekend, he has consulted the AMA’s physician and hopes to be back in time for the n Dallas in April.

“I’m really disappointed that this happened,” said Alessi. “I was excited about racing in the AMA Supercross class, and I felt like I was making progress in learning the sport, and getting better gradually. But things like this happen in racing, and now all I can do is rest and heal quickly, and be back when I’m healthy so I can give 100 percent.”

Coming off of his second consecutive podium, Monster Energy® Kawasaki’s Timmy Ferry is looking to take one step up to the top of the podium. Ferry has shown speed all season and as the Monster Energy Supercross heads to Houston he hopes to get his first career supercross win.

“I’m looking for to Houston,” said Ferry “I really love that stadium. It has good dirt and it is a short flight from Florida. The West Coast rounds have been wearing me out with the long plane flights and I’m ready to get back on my turf, back East.”

Ferry was on the podium at Reliant Stadium in 2007 finishing third. He was two spots ahead of his current teammate Travis Preston. Preston will be making only his third start on a Kawasaki KX™450F but in each of the last two races he has improved.

“I’m still working on my endurance,” said Preston. “My schedule is pretty simple, riding, riding, riding. I keep learning things about the bike and I keep getting stronger. I’ve always rode well at Houston and I hope we can keep that up this weekend.”

For the Western Regional AMA Supercross Lites championship, Houston marks an important race. Though the championship won’t be decided until April 26 in Seattle, Wash., both Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders want to go into the extended break with a lot of momentum.

“I didn’t get the starts I usually get,” said Austin Stroup, who finished seventh in San Diego. “I’m going to regroup and focus to get a better result in Houston. The track looks like it should be and I know after the race, I’ll be looking forward to the break in the schedule.”

Stroupe’s teammate Brett Metcalfe just missed the podium in San Diego and wants to get back on the box this weekend.

“I enjoy Houston,” said Metcalfe. “I got my first-ever podium there in 2003, so it is probably one of my favorite places to race. I’m looking for to it and giving it everything I’ve got. I’m going to lay it all out in the last race before the break.”

For more information on the Monster Energy® AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, please log on to

www.SupercrossOnline.com. For all media requests, please contact Denny Hartwig dennyhartwig@livenation.com or 630-566-6305.