Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto (above) put in a lot of work for his third win of the season in San Diego.
Chad Reed proved difficult for RV to beat as the Aussie went head-to-head with the defending champ in the final laps.
In the final stop of its California tour the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship continued to be ruled by Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto. It wasn’t an easy victory for the defending champ, however, as TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed kept the 23-year-old honest until the last corner. Reed and Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey rounded out the podium in second and third, respectively. Dungey was lucky to end his podium drought after struggling over San Diego’s nasty whoop section.
Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe claimed his first holeshot of the season at Qualcomm Stadium ahead of Dungey and Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer, who had to qualify for the main through the LCQ. RV was able to slingshot around to gain second heading through the whoops as Reed began charging from back in fourth. The Aussie has won six out of eight times at SD and paid particular attention to his bike setup before the main. It paid major dividends as he glided over the deep whoops to nab third ahead of Weimer. Up front, Villopoto made a great block pass on Metcalfe to take the lead as JGR Yamaha’s James Stewart and Dungey battled for sixth.
On the following lap Reed made another great pass on Metty through the whoops to move into second. At the same time JS7 got around Dungey, with RD5 unable to defend himself as his KTM struggled through the deteriorating whoops. Meanwhile Stewart continued to make progress by passing Weimer, giving JS7 some breathing room from Dungey. Determined to get past Weimer quickly, RD5 had an uncharacteristically hard pass on Weimer, causing the Kawasaki rider to go down in the process. With less than 10 laps remaining the order was RV, Reed, Metcalfe, Stewart, Dungey and Millsaps.
While Reed didn’t get a perfect start, the Aussie gradually made progress by gaining time on the field through the whoops. By Lap 13 it was clear that Reed was gaining on Villopoto. Stewart, once again lost the front end of his Yamaha YZ450F, this time in the whoops and went down hard off the side of the track. He lost additional precious time while trying to get free from warning-light cables, eventually having to tear a piece of his Answer racing pants in order to disentangle himself. Shortly after Weimer went down for the second time and left the track noticeably upset with his performance.
In the final laps Reed finally caught RV to give fans a battle they’ve all been waiting for. The Aussie went for the lead on the penultimate lap and swept by Villopoto. With both riders laying it all on the line the racing action was some of the best so far this season. Further back Geico Honda’s Kevin Windham was having a great night of his own while passing Metcalfe for fourth.
James Stewart had another crash this season and now trails RV in the championship by more than 30 points.
With just one lap left RV made a precise pass to the inside of Reed to reclaim the lead. Just after the pass, Reed made a slight timing error which allowed Villopoto to pull a slight gap. Windham, meanwhile, had his strong performance erased when he became one of the many victims of San Diego’s whoops. RV went on to take win No. 3 this season just 1.4 seconds ahead of Reed, with both riders deserving major credit for a spectacular performance in Round 6.
“The whoops were treacherous tonight,” said Villopoto. “I knew it was important to be consistent every lap. Battling Reed on the last few laps was exciting and I was able to make a good pass. I’m happy to keep the red plate on my bike and am excited for the Dallas race next week.”
The series now heads east to Dallas next week with Villopoto stretching his lead in the championship to six points ahead of Reed.
San Diego AMA Supercross Results:
1. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki)
2. Chad Reed (Honda)
3. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
4. Brett Metcalfe (Suzuki)
5. Josh Hansen (Kawasaki)
Despite struggling with San Diego’s whoops, Ryan Dungey returned to the podium more than 20 seconds behind Reed.
6. Justin Brayton (Honda)
7. Davi Millsaps (Yamaha)
8. Kyle Chisholm (Kawasaki)
9. Mike Alessi (Suzuki)
10. Nick Wey (Kawasaki)
11. Jason Thomas (Suzuki)
12. Cody Mackie (Kawasaki)
13. Weston Peick (Kawasaki)
14. Robert Kiniry (Yamaha)
15. James Stewart (Yamaha)
2012 AMA Supercross Championship Points:
1. Ryan Villopoto, 133
2. Chad Reed, 127
3. Ryan Dungey, 123
4. James Stewart, 101
5. Kevin Windham, 78
6. Brett Metcalfe, 75
7. Jake Weimer, 72
8. Davi Millsaps, 70
9. Justin Brayton, 68
10. Josh Hansen, 64