Kawasaki Continues Winning Ways; Stewart Wins Again
Rookie sensation Ryan Villopoto earns second place in Supercross Lites debut
ANAHEIM, Calif. (January 7, 2006) Kawasaki has kicked-off the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross series in winning form, led by the consistency of Kawasaki Racing Teams’ James Stewart and his three consecutive wins to open the 2006 Supercross season. Stewart piloted his Kawasaki KX™450F to victory on Saturday night before a sold-out crowd of 45,050 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.
Kawasaki has also successfully debuted its all-new KX450F as proven by the dominance of Stewart during the first three races. The 20-year-old Floridian earned two previous victories at the Amp’d Mobile World Supercross GP rounds held in Toronto and Vancouver BC., Canada.
Stewart received his stiffest challenge on Saturday night, having to work from behind for the first time this season. By lap seven, Stewart found himself in a three-way battle for the lead with Ricky Carmichael and leader Chad Reed as the trio began to pull away from the field.
The battle was trimmed to two when Carmichael went down in the whoops on lap nine which handed the lead to Reed. Stewart then applied pressure on Reed for the next two laps, closing to within inches of the lead on several occasions before making a pass on lap 11. Once out front, Stewart easily pulled away to take the win, finishing nearly five seconds ahead of Reed and Carmichael, who finished second and third, respectively.
"I felt like I rode a great race,” said Stewart. “I knew I was strong when lap 10 came around. I’ve been putting in a lot of hard work at home with my trainer and on the test track with my KX450F. I want to stay consistent and I want to take the season slow.”
Stewart’s teammate Michael Byrne put in a heroic performance throughout the evening aboard his KX450F. After a dramatic crash in his qualifying heat, he went on to place third in the LCQ to qualify for the main event while enduring intense pain and tenderness in his left heel and right wrist. After a brief check-up from the Asterisk Mobile Medical Team, Byrne was cleared to ride in the main event and put in 20 solid laps to score an eighth place finish.
In the Supercross Lites class main event, previous AMA Arenacross Champion and Kawasaki Team Green rider Darcy Lange took the holeshot before Team Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto blasted past him for the lead. Villopoto, who won the LCQ to make the show, led the race on his KX250F until lap nine when he was passed by Andrew Short who took the win. Villopoto held his position after the pass to finish an impressive second place for his Supercross Lites debut. Villopoto’s teammate Grant Langston was involved in a crash during the first turn but rode incredibly fast coming from 22nd place to score a phenomenal fourth place finish. Lange stayed close to the lead group and finished in fifth place.
The Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross Series heads west next weekend (Jan. 14) to Phoenix for round two at Bank One Ballpark.