The Notebook: Phoenix

The Notebook: Phoenix

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We've already covered the big stories and the race winners. Check out the notebook to see who else made some news over the weekend.

By Chase Stallo and Jason Weigandt

  • One week after Davi Millsaps secured the first 450SX win for Rockstar Energy Racing, the 250 squad found trouble in Phoenix. On the heels of his best-ever finish at an opening round last weekend (fourth), Jason Anderson failed to qualify for the main. Anderson held the final qualifying spot in the LCQ (after a first turn crash in his heat) with one lap to go, but clipped a jump in the long rhythm lane that lead to a flat left-hand turn, and crashed. He compounded the first crash with another one while quickly trying to get up. Meanwhile, Ryan Sipes made the main and had worked his way into fourth by the final lap, but he too would crash on the final lap, leading to a seventh place finish.

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Jason Anderson missed the main in Phoenix after a last lap crash in the LCQ.
Simon Cudby photo

  • Normally one of the warmest venues on the circuit, it's not uncommon for daytime temperatures in January to soar into the nineties in Phoenix, but that wasn't the case this time around. The highest temperature of the day was in the low fifties, and in the early morning and night, teams and fans endured freezing temperatures!

 

  • MotoConcepts’ Jake Canada peculiar start to the season continued in Phoenix. After a mechanical DNF at the opener, Canada didn’t have his helmet removal system, which is mandated by the AMA, at the starting line. “First off, I just want to say it was 100 percent my fault,” Canada told Racer X early Monday. “I got to the line and Tooley [AMA's Tim McAdams] or someone checked my helmet and said it wasn’t there. My mechanic Daniel radioed Mike’s [Alessi] mechanic Chris and they pinned it down from the rig with a hats off device. [When I got it] I just threw it in there and saw the gate drop, so I slammed my helmet on and took off.” Canada would complete three laps before being black flagged by the AMA, which Steve Matthes has reported was just to tell Canada to strap his helmet on. Canada could have stopped, buckled the starp and rejoined the race, but he wasn't aware of that. “I don’t blame them, it was unsafe and they have to do their jobs too,” Canada continued. Last year, Canada carved a rep for consistency, this year he's failed to finish either 250SX main event.

 

  • A crash in qualifying nearly cost GEICO Honda's Zach Osborne his night, as he hurt his shoulder and wasn't sure he could race the night program. He suited up and tried it, and managed to make the main and then finish sixth despite the pain.

 

  • Yoshimura Suzuki's James Stewart had the fastest overall qualifying time in the 450 class, and thus had the first gate pick. But Ryan Villopoto and Justin Barcia actually tied for second fastest with identical 51.643 lap times. How did the AMA determine the second gate pick? By going to RV and Barcia's second-best time, and that nod went to Villopoto.

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“First off, I just want to say it was 100 percent my fault. I got to the line and Tooley [AMA's Tim McAdams] or someone checked my helmet and said it wasn’t there," Jake Canada in response to not having his helmet removal system in place at the starting line in Phoenix.
Simon Cudby photo

  • Ryan Dungey and the Red Bull KTM team ran a WP air shock last weekend (without a coil spring) but returned to the traditional sprung-shock this weekend. According to Team Manager Roger DeCoster, notes were taken in Anaheim, and WP is now developing a second version of the air shock for Dungey to try. The team will test it again once the 2.0 air shock arrives.

 

  • We've mentioned it a few times already, but Kranyak Racing's Josh Hansen was suspended by his team for the Phoenix race after taking out Alex Ray on the last lap of last week's LCQ. He was also fined by the AMA. Hanny will be back for A2 this weekend.

 

  • Rookie privateer Derek Anderson has come within one position of qualifying for his first main event at the opening two rounds—finishing tenth in his heat race at both rounds. But the close calls have yet to discourage the Colorado native. “I’ve never really felt like this, but I’m actually happy with how I have been doing,” Anderson told Racer X. “Being able to pass people I was slower than in practice and give everyone a run for their money at least make me feel better.” Anderson will continue his quest to qualify for his first main this Saturday in Anaheim.

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J-Star JDR/KTM's Josh Cachia qualified for his first career 250SX main in Phoenix.
Simon Cudby photo

  • After a start inside the top ten, Michael Leib’s night took a turn for the worse. “On lap two [Josh] Cachia cleaned me out and I had a small injury to my left thumb, and was too far back to make up much ground,” Leib said. “I tried to salvage what I could. Rough night, so I’m ready for a good week and a good weekend at A2.” When asked if the thumb injury would be a lingering problem, Leib was quick to dismiss the extent of the injury: “It’s the least of my worries,” he said.

 

  • Initial reports are that Rockwell/FirePoliceMX rider Nick Paluzzi suffered a fractured in his C7 vertebrae after a crash in his heat race. We are still awaiting official word from the team and will provide an update as soon as possible.

    UPDATE: The team just released the following statement regarding Paluzzi:

    Team Rockwell/FirePoliceMX rider Nick Paluzzi crashed in the first 250SX heat race Saturday evening in Phoenix after running in 11th position. Paluzzi suffered an injury to his neck and was taken to the hospital where he has stayed since the injury occurred. Initial reports are that he has suffered a fractured C-7 vertebra, but that it was not displaced which is good news.

    Nick posted from his Twitter that he is feeling better. He had some more MRI's taken yesterday and is hopeful that he will be released from the hospital soon.

    As of now, it is uncertain how long the injury will sideline him. The team has no current plan to pick up a fill-in rider for this week's round in Anaheim and wishes Nick a speedy recovery.
  • The aforementioned Josh Cachia qualified for his first career Monster Energy Supercross main event in Phoenix on Saturday. The Australian, who is riding for J-Star JDR/KTM, finished the night 18th.

 

  • In a stacked 450 field, privateers Matt Lemoine (JAB Motorsports), Vince Friese (Slaton Racing) and Weston Peick (MB1 Motorsports/Hyper X Racewear) have each qualified for both main events.

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Weston Peick has been impressive through two rounds.
Simon Cudby photo

  • Topher Ingalls, Trevor Reis and Travis Bright all qualified for their first main events of the season in Phoenix.

 

  • A combination of bad starts and crashes keep Velocity3 Yamaha’s Bobby Kiniry from qualifying for the main.

 

 

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