Photo Fix: Anaheim 1 450 Photo Report – 2012 Questions

If you thought we had questions going into Anaheim 1, it seems like they were compounded as the series left.

Photo: Courtesy of KTM – Hoppenworld

The 2012 Monster Energy Supercross an FIM World Championship season opener is officially in the books. If you thought we had questions going into Anaheim 1, it seems like they were compounded as the series left and headed for round two next weekend in Phoenix, Arizona. Let’s check out some photos and, in the process talk about some of the many questions and see if we can get closer to figuring anything out.

Angel Stadium - Anaheim 1 Supercross - 2012 - sx

If one of your questions heading into Anaheim 1 was related to the health of the sport, your questions were quickly answered by the swarm of fans in the house. The pits were overpopulated all day long and the stands completely sold-out for the night show. Photo: Courtesy of KTM - Hoppenworld (click to enlarge)

Angel Stadium - Anaheim 1 Supercross - 2012 - sx

A lot of questions arose at the opener about the flow of the track at Anaheim 1 and whether or not this might be a trend. Many of the riders complained about it not being like they normally practice on and tough to flow on, but that may have been the point. Throughout the beginning of Supercross and all the way through the 90's, flow was not something you were given, it was something you earned through mastering the track. Over the last decade, though, riders may have had it too easy. Ryan Villopoto definitely felt the flow on Saturday night. Photo: Courtesy of KTM - Hoppenworld (click to enlarge)

Chad Reed - Anaheim 1 - Supercross

There were a lot fewer questions surrounding Chad Reed in 2012 than normal for an opener. In the four years prior to 2012, the native Australian had switched manufacturers every year, but in 2012, that was not the case. The Two Two Motorsports/Bel-Ray/Honda owner/rider returned to action this season with the same team and color of bike he had in 2011 and looked on-point at Anaheim I. Chad could not match the pace of defending Champ Ryan Villopoto, but from where I was standing, nobody on Earth could have on Saturday night. Chad Reed has been known throughout his career as being the most consistent rider in history, and the Two Two Motosports rider scored twenty-two points on the number twenty-two. I know there's a joke there somewhere. Photo by: Four10 Photos (click to enlarge)

James Stewart - Ryan Dungey - Supercross - 2012

Heading into the 2012 opener, most of the questions in the 450 class surrounded the top five contenders, and a good portion of those questions focused on JGRMX/Yamaha's James Stewart. The #1 question we heard was could James solve the crash-or-win problem he so often faced in 2011? Well, if we go by what we saw at Anaheim 1, the answer is no--or at least, not yet. The two-time SX Champ looked very uncomfortable with the pace in the main event, and when he pushed it, he ended up on the ground. With Ryan Villopoto riding at warp speed and both Ryan Dungey and Chad Reed looking on point , it looks like there's more work to be done in the Stewart camp to keep up. Photo: Courtesy of KTM - Hoppenworld (click to enlarge)

Justin Brayton - Anaheim 1 - Supercross

Justin Brayton was a major question mark heading into the season opener in Anaheim, California, and the Muscle Milk/Honda rider answered some of those questions. Last season aboard the JGR/Yamaha, Justin showed flashes of brilliance in qualifying and heat races, but seemed to come up short in the main events. At A1, though, the veteran showed more than just flashes. After struggling to qualify and transferring through the LCQ, he came out in the main event with a point to prove. Justin scrapped for twenty solid laps after a mid pack start and matched his best finish from 2011 with a fourth. We expect this is only a glimpse of what we'll see in the near future from the small town kid from Iowa. Photo: Four10 Photos (click to enlarge)

Anaheim 1 - Ryan Dungey - Supercross - 2012

Heading into 2012, a lot of people questioned Ryan Dungey's move from the Factory Suzuki team over to the Red Bull/KTM team. With KTM having never landed on the podium, some thought Ryan was just going there for the paycheck, but it took just one main event for Ryan to erase that stat from the record books. On Saturday night in his first attempt, Ryan became the first-ever KTM rider to stand on the box at an AMA Premier class Supercross race. The only question now is, how long before he and Roger Decoster get the Austrian brand their first win? Photo: Courtesy of KTM - Hoppenworld (click to enlarge)

Ryan Villopoto - Ryan Dungey - Chad Reed

The last question that was answered on Saturday night was also the first statement of the year. Some wondered if Ryan Villopoto could continue what he started in 2011, and after what we all just witnessed, one would have to say yes. The defending Champ was simply on another level on Saturday night, and the only question most had as they left Angel Stadium was,"How will anyone stop him?" The Monster Energy/Factory Kawasaki rider picked up right where he left off at the 2011 Monster Cup--a race where everyone discounted the level of competition-- and quickly made it apparent he is ready to defend in 2012. Photo: Courtesy of KTM - Hoppenworld (click to enlarge)