Ryan Villopoto continues to be the man to beat after winning the opening round of the 2012 Supercross season.
The Monster Energy AMA Supercross series returned to its mecca at Angel Stadium Saturday night with Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto grabbing the first victory of the season. Nailing the holeshot and leading all 20 laps of the main, the defending champ had complete control over the field as TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed overcame poor practice sessions earlier in the day to finish second. Meanwhile Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey pulled off a podium finish with his new ride to start the season, as JGRMX Yamaha’s James Stewart had a disappointing showing in sixth.
RV kick-started the night by seizing the holeshot ahead of Hart & Huntington Kawasaki’s Ivan Tedesco. Following the wide, sweeping left-hand start, Tedesco lost time after bobbling through the whoops, giving the runner-up position to Reed with Dungey quickly following suit. Stewart was running ninth on the opening lap as Jeff Ward Racing’s Josh Grant went down. Benefitting from his amazing speed, JS7 made several passes to move up to fifth by the end of the first lap where he began pressuring Tedesco. Behind Stewart was MotoConcepts Suzuki’s Mike Alessi, Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe, L&M Honda’s Andrew Short and Honda’s Justin Brayton.
Villopoto was quickly running away with the race while Tedesco fended off Stewart’s attacks. By Lap 6 Stewart had moved ahead of Tedesco. Shortly afterward a battle broke out for ninth between Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer and Metcalfe, with Metty getting shoved back to tenth as a result. Short and Brayton
Chad Reed: “[Ryan] Villopoto made us look silly out here tonight. I am just happy to get second place tonight in this field of riders.”
also had a feud for seventh, but Short successfully held him off in the remaining laps. With Villopoto’s lead continuing to grow, Dungey suffered a crash that allowed Stewart to get by for third. RD made up for his mistake though by climbing back up to third with a great pass on Stewart the following lap. By this point Stewart was appearing mentally flustered as he rode off pace.
A quick crash by Reed at this point brought Dungey and JS7 closer for a three-way fight for the runner-up position. Stewart then attempted a bold pass on both Reed and Dungey, giving him third ahead of RD5. Just when it appeared Stewart was on schedule to record a podium finish, the two-time champ threw it away with a careless crash into some tuff blocks. The race also came to a bitter conclusion for Tedesco, who crashed in the final laps while running sixth.
In the end the victory was Villopoto’s by more than 12 seconds as he coasted to the finish.
“It was a phenomenal night for me,” said Villopoto. “I didn’t have the heat race I wanted, so I didn’t have a great gate pick. Once I was out front I wanted to lay down fast laps and make no mistakes. I did make one small one, but overall, it was a great race for me.”
After complaining of track conditions the entire day, Reed finished with a strong second after fending off a last-second attack from Dungey.
“Villopoto made us look silly out here tonight,” said Reed. “I am just happy to get second place tonight in this field of riders.”
Brayton and Weimer came out of the round with top-five finishes in fourth and fifth, respectively, the former having to qualify for the main through the LCQ.
Anaheim 1 AMA Supercross Results:
1. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki)
2. Chad Reed (Honda)
3. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
4. Justin Brayton (Honda)
5. Jake Weimer (Kawasaki)
6. James Stewart (Yamaha)
7. Andrew Short (Honda)
8. Kevin Windham (Honda)
9. Mike Alessi (Suzuki)
10. Josh Hansen (Kawasaki)
11. Brett Metcalfe (Suzuki)
12. Broc Tickle (Kawasaki)
13. Ivan Tedesco (Kawasaki)
14. Kyle Chisholm (Kawasaki)
15. Ryan Morais (Yamaha)
2012 AMA Supercross Championship Points:
1. Ryan Villopoto, 25
2. Chad Reed, 22
3. Ryan Dungey, 20
4. Justin Brayton, 18
5. Jake Weimer, 16
6. James Stewart, 15
7. Andrew Short, 14
8. Kevin Windham, 13
9. Mike Alessi, 12
10. Josh Hansen, 11