Irvine, Calif. – On the season’s second trip to Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto took his first win of the 2013 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship. After qualifying in first position, Villopoto dominated his heat race and was ready to put his KX 450F on top of the box. He took control of the main event and once in the lead, rode uncontested to his first win of the new year. His teammate Jake Weimer rocketed to the holeshot in the 450SX main event and finished fifth after leading the first lap. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray started the 250SX main event within the top-10 and made his way to finish in eighth place, while teammate Martin Davalos was involved in a first lap pile-up and recovered to finish 12th.
Back on Top
Following two uncharacteristic rounds, Villopoto captured his first 450SX win of the year. It had been nearly nine months since his last win which was in New Orleans last year after wrapping up the championship. Villopoto dominated all day long posting the fastest qualifying times all afternoon and looking like his old self on his Kawasaki. In the heat race he grabbed the holeshot and led all eight laps, giving him first gate pick for the main event. When the gate dropped for the main, Villopoto rounded the first turn within the top-10, moving up to sixth position. He briefly dropped to seventh place, but then began his charge to the front, over taking the leader on lap five. From there Villopoto laid down smooth, consistent laps and came away with his 25th career 450SX main event win. He now sits fourth in the points standings.
“I’m happy to get this win out of the way,” said Villopoto. “We made progress each weekend and felt really good coming into today. My starts were much better, which made it much easier. I just took my time, was patient, and made clean passes. Every win is good, but this one is nice to get the ball rolling for the rest of the season.”
Fighting for It
Leading up to Anaheim 2, Weimer was battling a cold, but on Saturday he put that aside and got down to business. He qualified within the top-10, but in his heat race had to battle to grab a transfer position to the main event after tipping over early in the heat. Starting towards the outside, Weimer executed a perfect start on his KX450F and grabbed his first holeshot of the season. He led for the first lap, but had yet to jump one of the trickiest rhythm sections, dropping him to fifth. Once he nailed the same rhythm as the leaders, he was able to stay on pace with the front-runners and fight off the charge of others to finish fifth. Weimer’s second top-five finish of the year puts him sixth in points.
“Today was really tough,” said Weimer. “I was sick all day and have been all week, so it was difficult to push through that. In practice I felt a little off, but for the night show I stepped it up. I fought hard in the heat race after crashing, and in the main I ripped a wicked start. I don’t think my start could have been any better. Once I got the one rhythm lane down, which I hadn’t done in practice, I was able to ride smooth laps. Despite being sick, is was probably one of the best main events I’ve ridden.”
Following an off weekend in Phoenix, Rattray was looking forward to returning to Anaheim. The track conditions in the afternoon were particularly hard and dry, so Rattray opted to take his time and save it for the night show. The track was in much better condition for the 250SX heat races where he finished a solid sixth. Battling for position all night on his KX™250F Rattray bounced around the top-five, and eventually finished eighth. Rattray sits sixth in the Western Region 250SX points going into Round 4.
“The track was completely different from Anaheim 1,” said Rattray. “Since the dirt has been sitting here, it was really hard and slick with lots of stones. I just wanted to try to be consistent, but I made quite a few mistakes. I wasn’t at my best tonight but I’ll take an eighth place. We’re going to continue to test this week and continue to improve the bike. We know what direction we need to head, so we should continue to improve.”
Luck of the Draw
After a spectacular crash last weekend and recovering to finish on the podium, Davalos was 100-percent ready for the weekend. He was able to ride a portion of the track on Friday for the media, which allowed him to dial in the track quickly. In his heat race, Davalos battled back and forth for the lead, but being the first race of the night the track was extremely slippery and he settled for third. After a less than ideal start, it was déjà vu from Anaheim 1. Davalos was caught up in a first lap pile-up and got up at the tail end of the field. Desperate to keep his championship hopes alive, he worked his way through the pack and finished 12th. Anaheim has not been kind to Davalos thus far, but he will look to return to the podium in Oakland.
“The night started really well,” said Davalos. “The track was super slippery in the heat race, but I was happy to battle up front. In the main, my gate double bounced and I hit it, so I was already last and then got caught up in a crash the next corner. I started to come through the pack pretty good, but then got taken out again. We’re going to re-group and try again in Oakland.”
Top Tech Award
All the mechanics in the paddock work extremely hard to make sure their riders perform at their best. Each race the series acknowledges a standout performance, which this week was Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Mike Williamson. Williamson has been working with Villopoto for a number of years, but the first win of the season is always special.
Summer in January
Round 3 of Monster Energy AMA Supercross was intended to take place at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif., but due to construction it was moved to the familiar Angel Stadium. This marked the 59th time that Supercross has been held at Angel Stadium and the spring like weather made for enjoyable day at the races for everyone who attended.
Heading to the Bay
The Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship will head to Northing California and the Bay area on January 26, 2013 for Round 4 at o.co Coliseum in Oakland, Calif.