Suzuki Motorcycle tests
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
An acrobatic Ryan Dungey tries to recover after hitting the camera mount on the first triple at Phoenix. The crash caused him to go to the LCQ. He didn't repeat his performance from last year, and he's fifth place in the point standings.
WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO...
We are testing a KTM 125SX vs. a KTM 250SX vs. a KTM 250SXF for a shootout. Who's going to win?
We were also busy testing the 2013 KTM 450SXF Factory Edition. That's newbie Daryl Ecklund getting stylish on the bike.
Then we went to Phoenix...
...where we watched in awe as Kevin Windham boosted a 110-foot gap in darkness...
...and witnessed Eli Tomac win his second-straight 250 West race.
Oh yeah, and Justin Barcia won in only his second 450 Supercross.
Yesterday we went to a frozen Competitive Edge to test a purpose-built CRF250 for a future issue. Check out those snow-capped mountains in the background.
Have you ever seen a four-stroke cone pipe? Well, Scalvini makes cones pipes for two-strokes, so we are testing a titanium Scalvini 450SXF four-stroke cone pipe.
RCH RACING/DODGE QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“Last weekend in Phoenix wasn’t what Broc (Tickle) wanted. It’s a long season; I tell everybody this. There’s a lot of hype going on around our team. Let’s just see where we’re at around Round 12. That’s when you see the veterans out there separate themselves from the rest of the riders. Take a rider like Chad Reed, he’s just back there lurking. He’s got two fourth-place finishes but look where he is at in championship points. A guy like Broc, he’s a slow starter but he’s consistent. Most of the time he capitalizes on everyone’s misfortune and that’s what I like about him.” -- Ricky Carmichael
MINI-VIEW: AUSTIN POLITELLI
Results rarely tell the whole story. That’s the case with HRT Racing’s Austin Politelli. The freshman 250 West rider sits 16th in the point standings, after scoring 16th at Anaheim 1 and 13th at Phoenix. However, he has shown flashes of top five speed. I caught up with Austin to find out more in regard to his season and expectations.
MXA: Talk about HRT Racing and how you got hooked up with them.
Austin: The owner’s name is Todd Hansen. We put the deal together during the offseason. He had a team last year with Matt Lemoine. Everything has been going great so far.
Have you been satisfied with your results through two rounds?
No, not at all, actually. I know that my speed is good, but I haven’t been able to put everything together. My starts haven’t been that strong, so it’s something that I need to work on. Finishing in 13th place isn’t where I want to be. I’m going into Anaheim 2 really excited and ready to go show what I’m capable of.
You had a really good heat race at Anaheim 1. The start looked solid.
I got a second place start. I rode a little tight, and that was due to nerves with it being the opening round. I ended up fourth, so I was happy with that. Then in the main event I got a decent start. I was in eighth place, but there was that big pile up, and I ran into Martin Davalos. I got stuck in everything and of course everyone else went through. I ended up 16th. Going into Phoenix I felt good. I struggled with my starts in the heat race, and also in the main.
The Phoenix track was wet in the morning, seemed to shape up well in the later practices, but looked slick in some sections once the night show kicked off. Is that you what noticed?
Yeah, the dirt was really weird. People told me that Phoenix gets hard pack, so I rode that type of dirt leading up to the weekend, but then I went out for practice and I was confused! There were ruts everything. However, in the main the dirt got hard. There was a lot of wheel spin coming out of corners.
That second triple at Phoenix looked really big. What was it like jumping that high and far every lap?
When I walked the track I looked at the lip of the triple and I thought that it was bigger than most triples that I was used to hitting. I figured that it was just me. Then I watched the B and C practice sessions and everyone was shorting it. I was nervous hitting it! It was at least ten feet bigger than normal.
Do you think that sand should be incorporated into Supercross tracks?
I like riding sand. I believe that it separates people. It’s one of those things that you need to be ready for. If it was a normal corner then it’d be a good place to rest, but I like that you have to be on the gas through the sand. It’s easy to crash in the sand, and I like that challenge.
Do you get nervous lining up on the gate next to guys like Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen?
Not at all. They are just other guys on the line that I’m racing. I put more pressure on myself to do well than anything else. I’m not intimidated by anyone on the line.
What do you need to improve on for the next rounds?
I want to qualify better out of practice. I’ve really been struggling with getting a good lap in during daytime practice. I also need to get better starts. I know that I can run up towards the front. I want to put in a solid and consistent day at Anaheim 2. That’s my goal.
Finally, who is helping you out?
I wouldn’t be racing without HRT, Dynamic Engine Factory, Grahm Brough, Dunlop, Rekluse clutches, AXO, Motorsports Products, Unit, Maxima, Mission Motorsports, Torc1, Hammer Nutrition, Globe, Stomp, KSR wheels, RK chains, Renegade Fuels, Goldfren, Cycra, Motion Pro, DT1, Mika, Yoshimura, Powertye, X-Trig, X Brand goggles, Bell helmets, Alpinestars, Works Connection, MotoPro graphics, Deft Family, Kyle Defoe, Kurt Henricksen, Rob Styron and RB Components.
Good luck this weekend, Austin.
MXA PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: PRO CIRCUIT SILVER & GOLD HEAT SHIELDS
Click on the image above to order a heat shield.
Four-stroke engines produce a lot of heat, and the gasoline in the tank can lose its combustibility because of it. In some cases, the gas can reach its boiling point inside the float bowl. Pro Circuit's gold and silver heat shields self adhere to the bottom of your motorcycle's gas tank to reduce operating temperature for better performance. The gold shield reflects up to 950 degrees (a 70-degree drop in temperature), while the silver shield provides a 150-degree drop in temperatures. Shields dimensions are 27" x 24" and can be pre-cut to fit any shape. Gold reflective heat shield – $68.95, Silver reflective heat shield – $49.95.
PHOENIX SUPERCROSS PHOTO GALLERY
Click on the image above to view the gallery.
INTERVIEW WITH BROC TICKLE
TALK ABOUT YOUR THOUGHTS HEADING INTO ROUND 3 IN ANAHEIM.
“I’m looking forward in heading back to Anaheim this weekend. I really need to post some good results. We’ve been working on the bike a lot, putting the work in to get better. Everyone is stoked to get back to the track this weekend. Our Dodge/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Bel-Ray/Suzuki Z450s have been fast. It’s just a matter of getting the race results on Saturday night. I’m looking forward to the rest of the week and getting some good practice in. What I need to do is just relax and I think my performances will show a better result. I’ve been putting too much pressure on myself. I need to relax a bit on the bike and just ride.”
IS MORE EMPHASIS GOING TO BE FOCUSED ON PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING TO GET A BETTER GATE POSITION FOR THE HEAT RACE?
“For sure. That’s one of the areas that we need to get better at and that is putting down a better practice time for gate selection in the Heat Race. It all ties together: good practice time, good gate selection to your Heat Race, good Heat Race and gate pick for the Main. Everything will flow together and hopefully score a good Main Event, but it certainly starts early in the day on track.”
YOU’RE A GUY THAT SEEMS TO PICK UP A LOT OF POSITIONS DURING THE 20-LAP MAIN EVENT. GETTING THROUGH TURN 1 MUST BE A MAJOR FOCUS FOR YOUR TEAM.
“Exactly. I need to start up front and everything else will come for me. It’s not easy to come from the back, especially with the talent level of the 450 class this season. Everybody is fast and everybody is a good rider. Giving up spots on the first lap makes it so hard to earn a good finish. The main thing is to start in front of the fast guys, start clicking off some laps and not worry about everyone else, just race my own race.”
WILL YOU MAKE ANY CHANGES TRYING TO SURVIVE THE START OF THE RACE AND TURN 1?
“Not really. The main thing for the first corner is to be smart. I need to line myself up on the gate to where if there is a problem I can get out of it. Last week, I didn’t have a good Heat Race and didn’t have a good gate selection for the Main. I was way outside and it put me in a bad position. Eventually I got pushed off the track. The main goal this week is to be good in practice, have good practice times, have a good gate pick for the Heat Race and just let everything flow together into the Main event.”
DO YOU PLAN ANY MAJOR SETUP CHANGES TO YOUR DODGE/SYCUAN CASINO/RCH RACING/BEL-RAY/SUZUKI RM-Z450 THIS WEEK?
“No. We made a few changes yesterday to the shock, just some minor things so when we roll into Anaheim we have them in our bag in case we need to make a change to the bike. I was really happy with my bike setup in Phoenix. I’m looking forward in keeping it going. It makes it a lot easier if everything is good with the bike and (it’s) consistent. Our bikes are fast. I have an awesome bike and I’m really happy with how things are going.”
YOUR WERE ONLY A TENTH OF A SECOND FROM FOURTH-PLACE IN YOUR PRACTICE TIMES. HOW SUBTLE IS A TENTH OF A SECOND DURING A SX 450-CLASS LAP?
“It’s maybe just clearing all the jumps perfectly. Say you are the same in every corner but you clip a jump a little bit, that could be the tenth of a second that you need for a perfect lap. It can happen so fast. With the speed that all the riders have out here this year, making a consistent lap and not hopping a jump or clipping a landing is critical.”
YOSHIMURA SUZUKI PHOENIX RACE REPORT
ANAHEIM 2 TRACK MAP
PAST ANAHEIM SUPERCROSS WINNERS
January 5, 2013 Davi Millsaps
February 4, 2012 Ryan Villopoto
January 7, 2012 Ryan Villopoto
February 5, 2011: James Stewart
January 8, 2011: Ryan Villopoto
February 13, 2010: Ryan Villopoto
January 23, 2010: Ryan Dungey
January 9, 2010: James Stewart
February 7, 2009: James Stewart
January 17, 2009: James Stewart
January 3, 2009: Josh Grant
February 2, 2008: Chad Reed
January 19, 2008: Chad Reed
January 5, 2008: Chad Reed
February 3, 2007: James Stewart
January 20, 2007: James Stewart
January 6, 2007: James Stewart
February 4, 2006: Ricky Carmichael
January 21, 2006: Ricky Carmichael
January 7, 2006: James Stewart
February 5, 2005: Ricky Carmichael
January 22, 2005: Ricky Carmichael
January 8, 2005: Kevin Windham
January 31, 2004: Kevin Windham
January 17, 2004: Chad Reed
January 3, 2004: Chad Reed
February 1, 2003: Ricky Carmichael
January 18, 2003: Ricky Carmichael
January 4, 2003: Chad Reed
February 2, 2002: Ricky Carmichael
January 19, 2002: Mike LaRocco
January 5, 2002: David Vuillemin
February 3, 2001: Ricky Carmichael
January 20, 2001: Jeremy McGrath
January 6, 2001: Jeremy McGrath
January 15, 2000: Jeremy McGrath
January 8, 2000: Jeremy McGrath
February 6, 1999: Ezra Lusk
January 9, 1999: Ezra Lusk
January 27, 1996: Jeremy McGrath
January 28, 1995: Jeremy McGrath
January 29, 1994: Jeremy McGrath
January 23, 1993: Jeremy McGrath
January 25, 1992: Damon Bradshaw
January 26, 1991: Jeff Stanton
January 27, 1990: Damon Bradshaw
January 28, 1989: Rick Johnson
January 31, 1987: Jeff Ward
January 18, 1986: David Bailey
February 2, 1985: Broc Glover
January 28, 1984: Johnny O’Mara
January 29, 1983: David Bailey
January 30, 1982: Donnie Hansen
January 31, 1981: Kent Howerton
November 17, 1979 Kent Howerton
November 11, 1978: Gaylon Mosier
November 12, 1977: Bob Hannah
December 4, 1976: Marty Smith
December 11, 1975: Tony DiStefano
January 5, 2013 Eli Tomac
February 4, 2012: Eli Tomac
January 7, 2012: Cole Seely
February 5, 2011: Joshua Hansen
January 8, 2011: Joshua Hansen
February 13, 2010: Trey Canard
January 23, 2010: Jake Weimer
January 9, 2010: Jake Weimer
February 7, 2009: Jake Weimer
January 17, 2009: Ryan Dungey
January 3, 2009: Jake Weimer
February 2, 2008: Jason Lawrence
January 19, 2008: Ryan Dungey
January 5, 2008: Ryan Dungey
February 3, 2007: Ryan Villopoto
January 20, 2007: Ryan Villopoto
January 6, 2007: Ryan Villopoto
February 4, 2006: Grant Langston
January 21, 2006: Grant Langston
January 7, 2006: Andrew Short
February 5, 2005: Ivan Tedesco
January 22, 2005: Ivan Tedesco
January 8, 2005: Nathan Ramsey
January 31, 2004: Ivan Tedesco
January 17, 2004: Ivan Tedesco
January 3, 2004: Ivan Tedesco
February 1, 2003: James Stewart
January 18, 2003: James Stewart
January 4, 2003: Travis Preston
February 2, 2002: Brock Sellards
January 19, 2002: David Pingree
January 5, 2002: Travis Preston
February 3, 2001: Ernesto Fonseca
January 20, 2001: Ernesto Fonseca
January 6, 2001: Ernesto Fonseca
January 15, 2000: Tallon Vohland
January 8, 2000: David Pingree
February 6, 1999: Nathan Ramsey
January 9, 1999: Casey Johnson
January 27, 1996: Kevin Windham
January 28, 1995: Damon Huffman
January 29, 1994: Damon Huffman
January 9, 1993: Damon Huffman
January 25, 1992: Jeremy McGrath
January 26, 1991: Jeremy McGrath
January 27, 1990: Michael Craig
January 28, 1989: Jeff Matiasevich
January 31, 1987: Jeff Matiasevich
January 18, 1986: Tyson Vohland
February 2, 1985: Mike Healy
FLYING TO THE RACES
Jody leaving the Chaney Ranch track the quick way.
Many motocross racers fly to the races, but they normally take the airlines, when Jody says he is going to fly to the races, he throws his gear bag in the plane and flies his Varga Kachina to the track (and that has included landing in the parking lot at Glen Helen with his buddy Feets Minert). However, you may not want to fly with him. In the Jimmy Mac photo below, the runway goes in the direction of the white line, but Jody wanted to slide it in sideways for "fun." He meant completely sideways. This is scrubbin'.