PRO TAPER PRESENTS MXA’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER
Marvin Musquin cemented his status as the top 250 Supercross rider when he won the Las Vegas 250 East/West Shootout this past weekend. It’s too bad that Cooper Webb tweaked his ankle in practice and couldn’t gate with Musquin on Saturday night. Even so, Musquin was the top of the field all day long. It will be interesting to see if his winning ways transfer over to the Nationals, where he will be lining up against defending 250 National Champ, Jeremy Martin, as well as Cooper Webb, Justin Bogle, Adam Cianciarulo, Zach Osborne, Arnaud Tonus, Jessy Nelson, Shane McElrath and a slew of other 250 hopefuls. Glorious photo captured by Scott Mallonee.
MXA VIDEO: ARENACROSS SERIES WRAP-UP
MINI-VIEW: ADAM CIANCIARULO
It’s hard not to think how different Adam Cianciarulo’s life–not to mention the sport, in general–would have been if the Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider hadn’t dislocated his shoulder in practice leading up to the Toronto Supercross in 2014. That marked the beginning of Cianciarulo’s woeful shoulder, which by now, many months later, is finally ready for moto warfare. Adam looks to the summer and what might come for the kid who has long been tabbed as “the next big thing.” I caught up with the likable Floridian in the Pro Circuit pits outside Sam Boyd Stadium this past weekend. Get ready to see the lightning-fast rider once again, though you probably won’t recognize him. That’s because he grew five inches and packed over 20 pounds on his lanky frame. Adam Cianciarulo is back. The Nationals just got a whole lot more interesting.
MXA: HOW’S THE SHOULDER FEELING? Adam: My shoulder is good. I just started riding about five weeks ago. For the past few weeks I have been riding on Aldon Baker’s new outdoor track at The Factory in Florida. It was nice to ride in that setting. Then I flew out to California and we have been putting in long days to get testing done, because there’s not a whole lot of time before the Nationals start. We’re making the best of it, and I like the direction that we are heading. As for the shoulder, my strength is good. All of the X-rays that have been taken at my check-ups look great. I just need to continue to get stronger and go into the National series completely healthy.
WILL YOU BE AT 100 PERCENT BY HANGTOWN, OR IS IT A SCENARIO WHERE YOU’LL BE WORKING YOURSELF INTO RACE FORM THROUGH THE FIRST COUPLE OF ROUNDS? It’s definitely a matter of getting up to speed. I haven’t raced in over a year, and when you’re not racing with the guys then you kind of lose that little bit of intensity that you need in order to get to the next level. That’s the intensity I hope that I gain as I get more comfortable with racing again. As for my fitness and speed, that should get better as the season goes on. My shoulder injury is behind me, and I feel very strong in that area now. It’s not a matter of me nursing my shoulder. Like I said, I haven’t had a lot of time on the bike, mainly because I was being extra cautious with my shoulder.
SEEING AS YOU’RE NOT QUITE AT TOP FORM, WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE OPENING ROUNDS? I am going to try and get good starts, because getting good starts will help with my progression rate. I’ll also be in with the leaders so that I can understand the pace and feel the intensity. That’s the plan.
IT’S NO SECRET THAT THERE IS A CLOSE RELATIONSHIP BETWEENIT’S NO SECRET THAT THERE ARE CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN YOU AND THE OTHER RIDERS WHO TRAIN WITH ALDON BAKER–THOSE GUYS BEING RYAN DUNGEY, JASON ANDERSON AND MARVIN MUSQUIN. SURELY THAT HELPS YOU EXPERIENCE THE RACE PACE EVEN THOUGH YOU’RE JUST GETTING BACK UP TO SPEED. Definitely. Unfortunately because I have only been on a bike for about five weeks I haven’t had a whole lot of time to ride with those guys. However, it’s good that I will get to ride with them. Ryan Dungey is arguably the best 450 motocross riders, and without question one of the best in the world. He always has a positive attitude. He’s always fast. Plus, he always pushes us to do better. The same goes with Jason and Marvin. With Marvin being in my class, you never want to be slower than the other guy while practicing, so it makes me give 100 percent and try to beat him. The atmosphere at Aldon’s place is cool, because on the track we want to do better, and off the track we are buddies. We all want to help each other improve.
HAS RYAN DUNGEY TAKEN YOU UNDER HIS WING? It’s more of a competition between all of us. I like to observe the strengths of the other riders and absorb as much of that information as I can. With Ryan, I’m trying to copy his positive attitude. It doesn’t matter if the track is dry, if there’s a tornado outside or it’s pouring out. He always stays positive, and you can see that in his results. Jason always has such high intensity, and it doesn’t matter if he’s tired or banged up a little bit. As for Marvin, he’s super precise and he takes good lines. He is someone that I can get behind at the beginning of the day, and watching where he goes helps me connect the track together. I try to learn every rider’s strengths and make them my own.
MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT IT IS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE FOR YOU TO DISLOCATE YOUR SHOULDER. DID THE SURGERT SOLVE THIS PROBLEM? Since my shoulder started coming out, which was once before the Toronto Supercross last year. I had it repaired, but it slowly tore over time. Then my shoulder came out in Toronto. This last surgery, which happened after I dislocated the shoulder in Geneva, fixed the problem. My shoulder has only ever dislocated out of the front of the socket. The surgeon took a bone and basically made my socket longer on the front. Now a bone blocks my socket, so that the shoulder can’t come out. Theoretically, I would break my humerus from the pressure on an impact rather than have my shoulder dislocate. I researched the procedure and looked at the statistics. My type of surgery has a really high success rate. It was a gnarly surgery and I have a big scar now, but it’s worth it. I’m really confident in the shoulder. There is never a moment where it feels unstable. I’ve done absolutely everything I can on doing rehab, taking the proper amount of time off, and being cautious. Truth be told, I’ve never not taken the time off from my shoulder injuries. I think that we solved the problem with this surgery.
YOU’VE GROWN CONSIDERABLY SINCE LAST YEAR. DOES THAT COME WITH NEW STRENGTH FOR RACING? I do think that it will be a strength for racing. Anyone could look at it from both sides. Now it might be more difficult for me to get a good start. I went from being 5’7” and 138 pounds to 6’0” tall and 160 pounds. That’s quite a steep rate of growth. I was a late bloomer and the growth spurt hit me all at once. I think that was part of the problem with my shoulder. I was growing up, but at that rate it’s hard for the body to build muscle. Now that I’ve stalled out I’m able to put some muscle on. I’ll never be the most stocky guy out there, because that’s just not my body type. I do feel that I’m in a good place with my strength, and I’m not going to get pushed around on the track.
HAVE YOU NEEDED TO CHANGE YOUR RIDING TECHNIQUE TO ACCOUNT FOR THE GROWTH SPURT? I don’t think it’s necessarily anything I changed because I grew. I changed technique because I had a lot of technical flaws before. I still have plenty of technical flaws now, but when I was hurt I had the opportunity to reset my riding style. It’s just like jumping up to a big bike from a little bike–whatever bike you get on, it doesn’t matter what brand it is, because it’ll feel completely new. I used to hang off the back of the bike a lot, but that uses a lot of energy in the arms. I’ve worked on squeezing the bike a lot harder with my legs and staying centered on the bike. I have watched plenty of film of the guys racing in the last year and I picked up quite a few things. I have done everything that I can to improve my craft.
IT’S NO SECRET THAT YOU’RE A BIG FAN OF THE SPORT. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON SUPERCROSS THIS YEAR? I am a fan of the sport, and I do follow all of the old races. I can tell you who won what heat race in what year. However, this year I felt way better than I had last year (2014), and I was doing well before that injury. It has been tough to watch from the sidelines. I really haven’t been watching the races. I went to the Anaheim rounds and also San Diego, but I found it too hard to watch. After that I didn’t even turn on the television. I couldn’t take it any more. To me, those races were my wins. I take it personally when somebody wins a race and celebrates, and I feel like they’re taunting me, even though I know that’s not the case. Still, that’s how I feel, because I’m a racer and a competitor. I can definitely use that as fuel for the outdoors.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON RYAN VILLOPOTO RACING THE GRAND PRIX SERIES? It took a lot of courage for him to go to Europe. He is in the prime of his career. He has four straight Supercross titles. To do something new shows his confidence in his abilities. Things haven’t been perfect for him over there, but he has won a GP and he’s done what no one else has done in a long time by going over there and winning. It would be difficult for anyone not to respect that.
WHAT AMA NATIONALS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO RACING? I really haven’t ridden all of the tracks yet. From what I see, Lakewood looks pretty cool. I like ruts, and the elevation will be cool. It should make things challenging, which will help my fitness curve. My competition has been racing for months and they have a really good base. I need to be patient in my mind and build up slowly. I’m looking forward to all of the races. I just want to win, man!
MXA VIDEO: CIANCIARULO IN ACTION
Sure, this video was shot six months ago, but it’s one of the last times anyone saw Cianciarulo ripping around before he injured his shoulder again
HANGTOWN GOES BIG
“News flash! Late into the second day of testing, our first 450 pro rider clears the FLY 150! That is half of a football field! By far, the largest jump ever constructed in the history of Hangtown spanning 47 years.”
SIGNING DAY: KILLY RUSK JOINS ROCK RIVER YAMAHA
Press release: CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha is excited to announce the addition of Kellian “Killy” Rusk to the team for the 2015 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series. The Colorado native will compete in the 450 MX Class beside 250 MX teammates Alex Martin and Luke Renzland, while both Josh Hill and Gregory Gehrer remain sidelined with injuries. 2014 was Rusk’s first year racing the full Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross series in the 450 MX Class and he finished 19th Overall. He additionally won the Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger Award at the Indiana National and turned heads all summer with his consistent performances.
“The addition of Kellian to the team has been really exciting for us. We really wanted to give someone an opportunity to concentrate on their riding and let us do the rest. To us, it wasn’t about having the biggest name under the canopy, but about finding someone that fits the team best; and Killy just seemed to be that guy. The philosophy has worked in the past; I look at what Alex Martin has been able to do since joining us back in 2013. The possibilities are endless, and we’ll see come May 16th at Hangtown.” – Christina Denney, CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha Team Manager.
“I‘m extremely grateful for the opportunity everyone at CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha is giving me. I’m really excited and ready to get the best finishes of my career this outdoor season.” – Kellian Rusk
The entire team is proud to add such a hardworking rider to the roster and looks forward to the start of the season at Hangtown MX in Sacramento, California on May 16th.
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: ALPINESTARS JUSTIN BARCIA GEAR
Press Release: Alpinestars’ footwear, protection and apparel has dominated the global motocross and supercross scene for decades, bringing class-leading comfort and safety, industry-first material developments, technical innovation and uncompromising championship-winning performance.
Justin ‘Bam Bam’ Barcia has firmly established his place as one of the most exciting talents in the US Supercross scene, winning back-to-back AMA east coast 250cc championships in 2011 and 2012, and going on to win the Main Event at the Monster Energy Cup in his rookie 450cc season. He regularly represents Team USA in the Motocross of Nations and was crowned ‘King of Bercy’ at the Bercy Supercross in France in 2013.
At the iconic Las Vegas Supercross Alpinestars unveiled a new, limited edition apparel and boot collection in collaboration with the Yamaha rider, featuring a specially developed series with jersey, pant, gloves and TECH 10 boot in his personally chosen and exclusive colorways. For more information, please visit www.alpinestars.com.
BACK TO THE FUTURE: SNEAK PEAK
I like to give MXA’s loyal Mid-Week Report readers something special. This week it’s a sneak peak of what’s coming in a future issue. As you know, MXA is a magazine that focuses on testing bikes and products. Every month we get the opportunity to test ride cool and unique bikes. This past week alone we sent our mini groms out on a project 2015 Yamaha YZ85 and an MXA-built 2015 Husqvarna TC85. The kids came away impressed with the results. You’ll have to wait until the reviews come out, but for now I’ll let the photos do the talking.
MIKE ALESSI’S OUTDOOR PLANS
Always the bride’s maid and never the bride, Mike Alessi has come oh-so-close to winning the 250 National Championship (2006 and 2007). He finished second in the 450 National series in 2012, and was the 450 outdoor points leader in 2009 through the early rounds until he broke his kneecap. In recent years Alessi seemed to have lost a step. I blame injuries. Still, there’s no question that Mike Alessi could still win outdoor motos.
If so, then why is he skipping Hangtown and Glen Helen to compete in the British and French GPs? According to team owner, Mike Genova, “We’re focusing on the core objective of motorsport racing—promoting our team and sponsor products while continuing to build the Smartop and MotoConcepts brand. Instead of chasing points in a given series, we’ve chosen to use multiple series to market to a worldwide audience via the MXGP, CMRC and USA Outdoor Nationals.”
What does this unusual race program schedule do for Mike Alessi and the team? (1) It eliminates him from having the opportunity to win an AMA, MXGP or CMRC Canadian outdoor title. That’s bad. (2) It exposes Alessi to different forms of racing. That’s good. (3) It exposes fans in different parts of the world to the Smartop MotoConcepts team and their main sponsors, which is Smarttop. That’s an iffy proposition unless they have distribution in France for hot tube covers. (4) It would appear that the team doesn’t believe that Alessi can win a title—a title he has come so close to winning in the past. That’s bad. (5) It opens up the opportunity for the Smartop MotoConcepts team to race elsewhere in future years. That’s good.
On paper, the Smartop MotoConcepts outdoor plan seems to benefit the team, but hinder Mike Alessi’s prospect of attaining the one thing he wants most—a Championship of any kind (be it in the U.S., Canada or anywhere else). It’ll be interesting to see how Alessi performs in Europe, but I’ll always wonder how he would have done in the 12-race AMA Nationals this summer. We’ll never know.
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: SDI WP PDS REBOUND ADJUSTER HOUSING
Press Release: SDi (Suspension Direct, Inc) is proud to release our latest product in our Elite Line of motocross products, the SDI Rebound Adjuster Housingfor WP PDS Shocks. This replacement housing is designed to prevent seizure of the rebound adjuster by blocking water, dirt, and other debris from entering the clicker. The SDI Rebound Adjuster Housing features an O-ring on the bottom of the threads, that seals against the landing on the inside of the WP clevis. It requires no special tools to install in clevis. The Rebound Adjuster housing is $24.95 and is available today.