Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Dylan Ferrandis rode a superb race in challenging conditions to cross the line second at Round 2 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross 450SX Championship on Tuesday night in Houston, Texas.
Malcolm Stewart managed another top-10 finish in seventh-place and Aaron Plessinger soldiered on to finish 16th after a crash early in the race.
Ferrandis had a good start to the night, finishing second in his Heat race. In the Main Event, he found himself in the top 10 after the gate drop and steadily worked his way forward. As the race wore on, riders started to make mistakes. Ferrandis kept his cool and rode a smart race.
After the half-way mark, the two-time 250SX West Champion moved into third. He kept pushing and was able to close the gap on second and ultimately secure the position in the final laps, a stellar result for the rookie in just his second race in the premier class. Ferrandis now heads into the third round of the championship second in the standings, just one point behind the leader.
Although the day was going well for Stewart at Houston 2, the Florida rider was struggling to find his comfort zone on Tuesday’s track at NRG Stadium. He finished fourth in his Heat and got off to a good start in the Main, quickly moving into the top-five. Stewart maintained that position for most of the race and had his eyes set on fourth, but made a few mistakes and crossed the line seventh.
It was a tough night for Plessinger, but he kept pushing forward to salvage some points. He didn’t get the start he was hoping for in his Heat race but worked his way from 11th to eighth to transfer to the Main. From a less than ideal gate pick on the outside, he got a decent start in 16th and started working his way through the pack. Unfortunately, he crashed before the finish line on lap four. Instead of calling it quits, Plessinger rejoined the race and worked his way back to 16th.
“It was an amazing night,” exclaimed team manager, Jeremy Coker. “After Saturday’s season opener, I said that having all three riders in the top 10 in our first race was more than I expected, and now I’m at a loss for words.
“Did I think and believe that we could do that coming in here? Absolutely. I told people that we were going to be on the podium multiple times this year. Did I think it was going to happen this fast? No.
“Dylan rode absolutely incredible tonight, he did nothing but impress me. All three guys did.
“Unfortunately, Aaron had a little crash and bent his clutch cable, but he didn’t give up even though he very easily could have. He fought through adversity and he continued on and rode really well.
“Malcolm got a little tight made some mistakes, but still put in a solid result on the day. The team’s working really well. We’re going to get back to work during these few days off and look to keep building on our progress at Houston 3.”
What the riders said
Dylan Ferrandis: “I never expected this race. It’s a big surprise to be here on the podium, honestly. I always work really hard and it looks like it paid off. I gave everything I had all the way to the chequered flag. We had to think a lot on the bike to be creative and find new lines and to try and do some different things on track to be better. I wasn’t trying to rush anything and some guys made mistakes. I was on a good pace and finished second, which is unbelievable.
“A big thanks to my team that has put in so many hours for me in the last few weeks because I couldn’t ride before. We had to do a lot of stuff in those last two weeks before the race. So it’s unbelievable to be here.”
Malcolm Stewart: “I kind of struggled a little bit with the track all day. In the Main Event, I didn’t have the best start but I made it work in the first couple of corners and put myself in the top five right off the rip. I tried to get around [Justin] Brayton but was not really moving forward. Honestly, I made a few mistakes. It was a little tough, conditions wise for a lot of people and me as well.
“Sometimes tracks that you’re not really comfortable on, things can happen. Looking at how many people hit the ground tonight, overriding and stuff, to finish seventh out of all the carnage is not bad. Leaving here with a seventh, it feels like I got 15th, but I feel like I know what I need to do. I learned a lot tonight.
“I have a couple of days off so I’m going to watch some tape and sit down with the team. I’m happy with everything. We’ve got the bike really well, I think it was more on me tonight and I just didn’t jibe with the track really well.”
Aaron Plessinger: “I got off to a pretty bad start in the Heat race and didn’t come through the pack that well and ended up eighth, giving me the 16th gate pick in the Main which is not too ideal.
“I got a pretty good jump and drove it in pretty hard. I felt like I came out decent for what it was. Coming through the pack I went to pass [Jason] Anderson and hit an edge in the whoops. I jumped onto the hay bales – it was like a step on step off in the hay bales – and then I jumped into the base of the finish line and stopped then just kind of tipped over off onto the concrete. It was a wild ride. It could’ve been a lot worse. I’m feeling pretty fortunate to finish tonight. We’ll be back Saturday ready to rip and get those starts dialled.”
The Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing team returns to action Saturday night, January 23, at the NRG Stadium in Houston for Round 3 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship.