In his first supercross start Adam Cianciarulo led the team and captured his first professional win. Blake Baggett finished on Cianciarulo’s rear fender and challenged for the lead for the full 15 laps. Completing the sweep was Martin Davalos who led early and recovered from two crashes to finish third. Reigning champion Ryan Villopoto fought at the front of the field throughout the 20-lap main event to finish in fourth place and continues to lead the championship standings.
Cianciarulo made his professional debut this past summer during the AMA Pro Motocross Championship, which wrapped up in August. Since then AC has been preparing for his supercross debut. It has not been since Atlanta in 2008 where a rookie has won his first supercross, but after qualifying second fastest and winning his heat race Cianciarulo stayed calm and fended off his teammates to win his first professional supercross.
“It feels like a dream!” said Cianciarulo. “The day went perfect. I just wanted to ride smart and be competitive. We’ve put so much work into getting here and there was so much anticipation, it’s a dream come true.”
Baggett was training to begin supercross in Anaheim before an ankle injury sidelined him for the winter. Unsure if he’d even be ready for the East coast when the season began in January, he was cleared to ride in the weeks leading up to Dallas and had eight days on his KX™250F prior to Saturday. Baggett took his time getting the track dialed in and set the fourth fastest lap in qualifying. In the main event he got a start right behind his teammates and pressured for the win throughout the 15 laps and finished second.
“Tonight was bittersweet,” said Baggett. “It’s a bummer because the win was right in front of me and initially I was really disappointed, but I’ve never started a season this strong and never left the first round anywhere near the podium. We’re in a great position and I’m looking forward to next week already.”
Davalos is known for his speed and smooth handling of the bike. To no one’s surprise he posted the fastest qualifying time in practice and was untouchable in his heat race. In the main event, he quickly passed his teammate for first place and looked to be extending his lead before over-jumping a rhythm section and crashing. He fought hard to keep pushing despite the damage to his bike from the fall and joined his teammates on the podium in third place.
“It was a tough night for me,” said Davalos. “I put myself in the right position and just made a mistake. But the flip side is I was able to recover from two crashes and climb back up to the podium with a pretty bent up bike. I’m happy with the way things are going and know what I need to work on.”
The reigning champion started the day third in qualifying practice and was confident about the night show. Villopoto had been training in California leading up to Dallas and the test track was prepped similar to how the dirt developed at AT&T Stadium - hard, choppy, and slick. In the main event he crossed the green flag in sixth place and began working on the leaders. Villopoto used throttle control and his flat track skills to make passes in the long, slippery sweeper turn and was able to climb back to finish fourth. He extended his points lead to 12 markers and continues to carry the red plate into Atlanta.
“Tonight wasn’t what we wanted,” said Villopoto. “The track was especially difficult to make passes because not only were you battling the guys around you, but you were battling the track as well. Throttle control was key and you had to hit your marks.”
It’s been since Anaheim 1 in 2011 that Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki has swept the podium in supercross. Rounding the first corner for the main event, the team sat 1-2-3 and were all in position to win. In the end Cianciarulo edged out Baggett and Davalos, but you can count on the battles to continue as the season rolls on.
“Blake was faster than me in the section before the whoops,” said Cianciarulo. “Martin went down, then Blake got by me and I knew if I didn’t get him right back then the race was over. We’re all so close in speed. It’s going to be a good season.”
Despite crashing in the final moments of the main event in San Diego, TwoTwo Motorsports Chad Reed was determined to keep his championship hopes alive in Dallas. Reed mounted his KX™450F and attempted to post a competitive lap time in qualifying practice, but ultimately his injuries proved too severe and kept him from racing. He will receive further evaluation this week and look to return as soon as possible. Also on the mend is Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer who will sit out for at least four weeks after suffering a broken hand and dislocated shoulder in San Diego.
Most riders anticipate the quality of dirt to drastically improve once the Eastern swing begins, but in Dallas that was not the case. The soil that filled AT&T Stadium was nothing but solid clay that became extremely hard and slick. Next Saturday Monster Energy Supercross continues on to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., which is praised for having some of the best dirt on the circuit. Plenty of traction and ruts play into Villopoto’s favor as his riding style thrives in those conditions.
Monster Energy Supercross
AT&T Stadium – Arlington, Texas
Saturday, February 15, 2014
250SX Eastern Region Main Event
- Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
- Blake Baggett, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
- Martin Davalos, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
- Vince Friese, Honda
- Justin Bogle, Honda
- Cole Thompson, KTM
- Blake Wharton, Honda
- Kyle Cunningham, Honda
- Alex Martin, Yamaha
- Mitchell Oldenburg, Honda
250SX Eastern Regional Championship Standings
- Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, 25
- Blake Baggett, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, 22
- Martin Davalos, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, 20
- Vince Friese, Honda, 18
- Justin Bogle, Honda, 16
- Cole Thompson, KTM, 15
- Blake Wharton, Honda, 14
- Kyle Cunningham, Honda, 13
- Alex Martin, Yamaha, 12
- Mitchell Oldenburg, Honda, 11
450SX Main Event
- James Stewart, Suzuki
- Ryan Dungey, KTM
- Justin Barcia, Honda
- Ryan Villopoto, Monster Energy Kawasaki
- Justin Brayton, Yamaha
- Ken Roczen, KTM
- Broc Tickle, Suzuki
- Will Hahn, Honda
- Josh Hill, Suzuki
- Andrew Short, KTM
450SX Championship Standings
- Ryan Villopoto, Monster Energy Kawasaki, 144
- Ken Roczen, KTM, 132
- James Stewart, Suzuki, 130
- Ryan Dungey, KTM, 116
- Justin Brayton, Yamaha, 114
- Chad Reed, Kawasaki, 111
- Justin Bracia, Honda, 109
- Andrew Short, KTM, 83
- Will Hahn, Honda, 65
- Broc Tickle, Suzuki, 63