Riders Ready For Monster Battle
LAS VEGAS – In preparation for Saturday night’s Monster Energy Cup at Sam Boyd Stadium, Justin Barcia, Ryan Villopoto, Ryan Dungey, James Stewart and Eli Tomac fielded questions from the media before taking part in a riding session at the pre-race press conference Thursday evening.
Barcia, who came off of a championship-winning 250SX Class season, made his Monster Energy Cup debut last year, finishing 2-1-2 en route to winning the overall crown.
“The track looks challenging, so I need to put in solid laps if I want to successfully defend my title,” said Barcia. “For me it’s about working hard and putting up a good fight at all times. Last year I came into the Monster Energy Cup with a new bike, so this year is a bit different for me now that I’ve put in a lot of time on the bike.”
Villopoto, who won his third consecutive Monster Energy Supercross earlier this year, won the inaugural Monster Energy Cup in 2011 and a crash in last year’s race eliminated his chances to defend his title.
“I’m 100 percent heading into the race this weekend,” said Villopoto. “Showing up to a race like the Monster Energy Cup after not racing for a while takes a lot of mental and physical preparation. I feel I’m where I need to be at and am looking forward to race this weekend.”
Dungey used the 2011 Monster Energy Cup to debut his new ride for the Red Bull KTM Team, finishing second overall. Last year, Dungey once again finished second and has his sights second on this year’s championship.
“To win the million would be great,” said Dungey. “I feel fresh and healthy heading into the race this weekend. There’s a lot on the line. I need to focus on good starts to position the team in front. Each year the field gets more stacked, so there are going to be some great battles out there.”
Stewart, who is a two-time Monster Energy Supercross Championship, is making his Monster Energy Cup debut.
“I’m excited to finally be racing at the Monster Energy Cup,” said Stewart. “I’ve had some time off and am feeling good heading into the race this weekend. There’s a lot of money on the line, so I need to be smart and work hard out there.”
Tomac finished fourth in 2011 and finished third overall last year. In an exciting Main Event No. 3, Tomac passed Barcia on lap nine for the win.
“The Monster Energy Cup is a fun but challenging race to be part of,” said Tomac. “I’ve had some good races this year, so I need to continue to focus on getting good starts and working hard. The track is always challenging, so the fans can expect to see some great battles out there on Saturday.”