Ryan Villopoto earned his first victory of the 2011 Motocross season at High Point ahead of Ryan Dungey.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto achieved his first victory of the 2011 AMA Pro Motocross Championship at High Point. The 22-year-old grabbed a dominating win in the first moto and followed it with a solid runner-up result in a muddy Moto 2 contest to take the overall in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania. Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey posted 2-3 moto scores for second overall, with TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed taking third for the day with a win in the final 450 race.
In the first moto Dungey claimed a clear holeshot up the starting straight ahead of Geico Honda’s Kevin Windham and Villopoto. The defending champ had a small slip-up, however, and RV took the opportunity to blow by for the lead. In his first moto of the season since becoming injured in the opening round at Hangtown, Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi jumped the gate and was running fourth before making a pass on Windham to move into the top-three. Fresh off his breakaway holeshot at Freestone, Honda’s Christian Craig got a great hookup out of the gate in fifth with Ricky Dietrich, Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer, KTM’s Andrew Short, Reed and Muscle Milk Yamaha’s Davi Millsaps rounding out the top-10 at the start.
Ryan Dungey came back from disappointment in Texas with a second-place overall finish at High Point.
After struggling in the first two rounds of the season, RV proved he was on his game at High Point by gapping the field early. Meanwhile, Tommy Hahn had a bad start and was outside the top-10 as Reed began his assault on Weimer. One of the showcases of Moto 1, Reed and Weimer’s battle went on lap after lap with Weimer posting his greatest performance so far this year to hold off the Aussie. At the same time Windham was pressuring Alessi, but the veteran’s attack didn’t last long and Alessi eventually pulled ahead.
After passing Craig, Reed continued to fight with Weimer for sixth as Millsaps shadowed Reed in seventh. Villopoto continued to strengthen his advantage, which was now more than 8.2 seconds ahead of Dungey. Reed and Weimer’s battle intensified. The action came to a climax when Weimer went sideways and ran off the track into an embankment. Moments later Reed was passed by Millsaps. Meanwhile Dietrich, who began the race in sixth, was now out of the top-15 and struggling while Villopoto had the lead locked down up front by more than nine seconds.
Millsaps continued to push toward the front by passing Windham in the final laps. RV landed his first win of the season in dominant fashion, with Dungey posting a quiet but consistent ride for the runner-up spot. Alessi was penalized following his jump start on the gate, forcing him off the podium in fourth and leaving Millsaps to benefit from the penalty in third.
Chad Reed survived difficult conditions in Moto 2 for the win ahead of Villopoto and Dungey. He finished fifth overall.
The skies opened up moments before the start of the second moto, transforming High Point into a muddy mess. Alessi took the early lead in Moto 2 followed by Dungey, Reed, Millsaps, Villopoto, Hahn, Tyler Bright, MSR/TRSConsult.com Yamaha’s Nick Wey and Windham. The difficult track conditions claimed many riders early on, including Dungey who was in second before he made a mistake and dropped down to sixth. Millsaps also slipped-up, giving Reed second in the order as Alessi was already more than 10 seconds ahead of the competition.
Alessi encountered difficulties of his own and crashed, giving Reed the lead just two laps in. Meanwhile RV had moved into third as Dungey continued to fight back from his early mistake in fourth. Alessi then came under attack by Villopoto, who was following up his Moto 1 win with another determined effort. Just moments after RV passed Alessi the defending champ did the same to move up to third as Reed kept his distance up front by more than seven seconds. In the final moments Dungey attempted to overthrow Villopoto for second but couldn’t as RV stretched his lead to more than four seconds.
Reed eventually snatched the win in Moto 2 ahead of Villopoto and Dungey. Alessi finished fourth again, with Windham putting his mud skills to good use to earn a top-five finish. Ultimate honors went to Villopoto, however, who remains second in the championship 15 points behind Reed.
“It’s nice to get my first win in a long time,” said Villopoto. “I didn’t feel good at Hangtown, but I felt good at Texas – I just didn’t have it. We had a weekend off and the team did a lot of testing. Now, I can ride my bike the way I need to ride it. I showed that in the first moto, but obviously the second moto was a little different with the mud. I just tried to get a good start and ride decent. The track got better, but it also got slippery. We had to be cautious the whole moto.”
450 Motocross High Point Results:
1. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki) 1-2
2. Ryan Dungey (Suzuki) 2-3
3. Chad Reed (Honda) 5-1
4. Mike Alessi (KTM) 4-4
5. Davi Millsaps (Yamaha) 3-9
6. Kevin Windham (Honda) 6-5
7. Tommy Hahn (Yamaha) 10-7
8. Brett Metcalfe (Suzuki) 8-10
9. Jake Weimer (Kawasaki) 7-11
10. Nick Wey (Yamaha) 14-8
11. Ricky Dietrich (Yamaha) 17-6
12. Andrew Short (KTM) 11-14
13. Weston Peick (Kawasaki) 15-13
14. Michael Byrne (Suzuki) 12-16
15. Christian Craig (Honda) 9-21
450 Motocross Championship Points:
1. Chad Reed, 138
2. Ryan Villopoto, 123
3. Ryan Dungey, 111
4. Davi Millsaps, 104
5. Brett Metcalfe, 88
6. Kevin Windham, 76
7. Ricky Dietrich, 72
8. Jake Weimer, 68
9. Tommy Hahn, 65
10. Christian Craig, 59