Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Aaron Plessinger battled through the pack to finish sixth last night at the first round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross doubleheader in Orlando, Florida.
Malcolm Stewart managed a ninth-place finish on a tough track in his hometown. Rookie Dylan Ferrandis was off to a good start but unfortunately retired early after a crash in the opening laps.
Heavy rainfall Saturday morning resulted in an abbreviated schedule with just the two qualifying sessions to adjust to the conditions at the Camping World Stadium. Plessinger showed some sparks early on but ultimately qualified 11th. Lined up with all three of his team-mates in the heat race, he didn’t get off the gate like he hoped and finished eighth. The Ohio native also had a tough beginning in the Main Event, crossing the line 15th after the first lap. Undeterred, Plessinger charged his way through the pack to cross the line sixth, scoring his second-best result in the premier class.
As for Stewart, his day started off well. The Florida rider qualified third and although he didn’t get the start he was looking for in his heat race, he made his way forward to finish fifth. In the Main Event, he placed himself in the top 10 after the start and worked his way up to seventh a few laps later. Stewart battled for position but started to ride tight and made some mistakes. He ultimately finished ninth in the challenging conditions to secure his sixth top-10 finish this season.
Ferrandis spent the day working to find his comfort zone on the hard-packed track. He qualified 13th and finished ninth in his heat race. When it came time for the Main Event, the Frenchman found his stride, getting off to a good start in seventh. Unfortunately, he went down in one of the rhythm sections before the third lap and was hit by another rider. Ferrandis had the wind knocked out of him and retired from the race but thankfully was okay.
The Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing 450 team returns for more action at the Camping World Stadium next Saturday, February 20, for Round 8 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship in Orlando, Florida.
Team Manager Jeremy Coker: “It wasn’t the greatest day if you go off of the results, but for Dylan, he was really coming alive in the Main Event. He was riding well and was comfortable on the bike. Unfortunately, he had a crash and stood up and ultimately got centre-punched by another rider. Luckily, he’s okay and will recover for next week.
“Aaron rode really well. We’ve just got to put ourselves in a better position for the Main Event, which starts with practice and the heat race to get those better gate picks. So, all in all, it was a good ride for him in the main, but we’ve got to be better throughout the day.
“Malcolm unfortunately rode tight tonight. He’s got to work on some breathing things, but we’ll get there.”
Aaron Plessinger: “It was one of my better days, for sure. I started off pretty hot in practice. Got up there on the board for a second, then I ended up qualifying 11th. I didn’t get the greatest start in the heat race, so in the Main Event, I absolutely went for it. I jumped the gate and then backed up, and then took off with all the other guys and came out 10th. Then somebody rolled the first supercross triple, so that put us back quite a bit. I think the guys said I was 17th going into the first lap, but I just put my head down and charged.
“The track was so slick and replicated the test track in Corona. I think my bike really liked that, and I really liked that. I charged as hard as I could until the end of the race and clicked off a lot of passes and wound up in sixth place. That’s one place behind my best career finish.
“If that doesn’t give me confidence, then I don’t know what will. I’m really stoked about my riding tonight. I’m pumped to come back here next Saturday because I think I’ve got more to prove.”
Malcolm Stewart: “The day started out great. It was so nice being back home in Florida. In the Main Event, I had a decent start, but I made a few mistakes. I just wasn’t jiving with the track.
“All in all, I guess I would say it wasn’t a bad day. I still managed to finish in the top 10, finished ninth on a tough night. It could have been worse. A lot of guys went down. A lot of guys were definitely fatigued and having problems.
“We rode a solid night. That’s the best I can say. We’re going to dig deep and keep finding our way. We know what we’re capable of. Let’s get back up into those top-fives and get on the box. I know we’re all right there. It’s just a matter of when and where.
“We’re seven rounds in and getting close to halfway now. It’s time. I’m ready to do it. We’ll come back to Orlando next Saturday for Orlando 2.0 and go for it.”
Dylan Ferrandis: “It was a difficult day with only two practices on a tough track. I managed to get a good start in the main and was feeling good. I tried some different rhythm sections then ended up crashing. I got hit by the rider next to me in the stomach and couldn’t breathe for a moment. I was okay in the end, but my race was over.”