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Stewart 'half perfect' after Red Bud
7 July 2008
Monster Energy Kawasaki's James Stewart reached the halfway point in his quest for a perfect season in the AMA Toyota Motocross Championship Presented by FMF.
The series' point leader improved to 6-0 in overall victories for the season, while also extending his moto winning-streak to a perfect 12 races at the 35th Annual Monster Energy/Kawasaki Motocross National Presented by Scott USA from Red Bud.
Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Mike Alessi grabbed the opening Holeshot Award, his seventh in a row, and led the opening lap before getting passed by Stewart, who gradually extended his lead throughout the moto.
Alessi held on for second with Red Bull Honda's Andrew Short in third.
But Alessi, who has provided Stewart's nearest opposition so far this season, was hurt during a nasty accident on the opening lap of moto two - when he fell hard and was then landed upon by several following riders - prompting the race to be stopped.
When the gates dropped for the restart, Stewart took the holeshot and never looked back, while Monster Energy Kawasaki team-mate Tim Ferry finished second.
Short wrapped up second overall with a third-place run. Alessi's team-mate Michael Byrne posted a season-best third overall after a pair of fourth place moto results.
"My starts have been pretty good," said Stewart. "I got the holeshot today. It was hot and I think that separated [the competition] a little bit. I knew I needed to get a good start because Mike [Alessi] was definitely going to. [A perfect season] hasn't crossed my mind. It's not my goal. My goal is to win a championship. I just want to give myself the best opportunity to win. As long as I continue to get good starts and good gate picks I think that will help. Every year this track offers something different. There are a lot of good lines out there and when it gets rough I think it's actually safer."
Stewart currently holds a 79-point lead over Alessi in the AMA Motocross standings, but Mike is expected to miss at least the next few rounds due to shoulder fractures.
Stewart's fellow Kawasaki rider Ryan Villopoto grabbed first place in both of the AMA Motocross Lites motos to take his fifth overall victory and extend his title lead.
In the opening moto, MDK/KTM's Ryan Sipes grabbed his second BTOSports.com Holeshot Award of the season and converted the good start into a career-best third place finish.
Villopoto came out of the first corner in the top five and quickly made passes to obtain the lead and remained unchallenged. Geico Powersports Honda's Trey Canard capitalised on a season-best start to finish second.
In the final moto, Villopoto notched his fifth Holeshot Award of the season to lead flag-to-flag en route to the overall win. Canard followed with back-to-back seconds while Martin Davalos put together moto results of sixth and third to land on his first-career overall podium.
"I've won some of the Triple Crown's before," stated Villopoto, who has won the opening two rounds of the three-race Monster Energy/Kawasaki Triple Crown of Motocross. "I've never won three in a row so it'd be nice to go to Steel City and wrap it up there. Once I saw how close Trey [Canard] was, I just put my head down and put in some quick laps. Three or four laps later I was about 19 seconds ahead. I figured he fell.
"Line selection is important. Some of the ruts are tricky. I probably ride the outside more than other people and it works for me. There is no chance I will ride a 450cc. I don't think I'd want to jump up and not have any idea of how well I could do. I'm sure I'd be a little off the pace and unable to ride two motos."
Villopoto now has a 95-point advantage over Rockstar/Makita Suzuki's Ryan Dungey.
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