James Stewart got his 2009 AMA Supercross title challenge firmly back on track by winning his second race in a row at round three - a return to Anaheim - but it was reigning champion Chad Reed who produced the most impressive ride.
Former champion Stewart, who failed to finish the Anaheim I season opener, had taken his first Yamaha AMA victory with a close triumph over Reed at round two in Phoenix.
Round three produced a similar final result, but while Stewart worked his way steadily forward to take the lead from Kevin Windham on lap 11 of 20, Reed stormed back from a first turn crash that left him in last place to finish just 3.5sec behind Stewart at the chequered flag.
"It was a tough weekend for me as far as getting adjusted to the track," said Stewart, who collided with Travis Preston during practice and badly cut his hand. "Also, physically, it was definitely tough for me. But if we can get wins like this, I can't imagine what it will be like when things go smoothly; maybe we can do even better."
“I was somewhere in the top five off the start and someone took me out,” explained Reed, who snatched second place from Windham at the very corner of the race. “Really, I just tried to go into damage control tonight and play it smart for 20 laps as it was an extremely difficult track to pass on.
“We have the points lead now, so I am so excited. The entire Rockstar Makita Suzuki team has been working their butts off, and I am confident, especially after our recovery tonight,” added the Australian.
Reed now leads the title chase by three points over round one winner Josh Grant, with Stewart up to fourth (12 points from Reed).
Suzuki's Ryan Dungey won the AMA Supercross Lites race by five seconds from Ryan Morais, with the fellow Kawasaki of Jake Weimer third.
Dungey now leads the championship by six points from Morais.
Round four of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, resume take place on Saturday January 24 at Houston's Reliant Stadium.