Ryan Villopoto is on a roll heading into Washougal with three consecutive moto wins to his credit and a 42-point lead over second-place rider Ryan Dungey.
The 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship makes its annual stop in the Pacific Northwest for Round 8 at Washougal MX Park. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto enters the weekend the overall 450 class leader, 42 points ahead of his closest competition, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey. Villopoto is in position to equal his longest win streak of the year if he should sweep the round, but Dungey will be fighting like mad to keep that from happening to retain some hope of defending his 2012 Nationals title.
Villopoto has 11 moto wins to his credit and has only been off the podium in two motos so far this year, though in both those instances he wasn’t far off, finishing fourth. Dungey, on the other hand, faced disaster in the previous round at RedBud, scoring a DNF in Moto 1 when a mechanical issue stopped his bike in its tracks, yielding a full 25 points to Villopoto in the process. This will be the home race for RV, so expect plenty of support from his fellow Washingtonians and plenty of drive to stage a dominant performance.
Washougal is one of the few tracks Dungey failed to sweep in 2012 once Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart lost his momentum early in the season. This year, the KTM rider has played second-fiddle to Villopoto in all but a few instances: Moto 2 at Muddy Creek and Budds Creek and then in Moto 1 at Southwick. Up until RedBud, he was well within reach of assuming the top-spot on the points tally should Villopoto have faltered, but now he’s got his work cut out for him in order to bridge the deficit.
Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia trails Dungey in third, 84 points adrift of the leader. Barcia’s yet to win a moto in his rookie season aboard the 450, but has taken a handful of podiums with the high point coming at Muddy Creek with his 2-2 result. Where he’s doing especially well is in the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Holeshot Championship, where he’s currently tied in first with Stewart. If Barcia can continue nailing his starts, the $25,000 dollar prize awarded to the highest holeshot points earner in the class will likely be sweet compensation for his work during the season.
Barcia’s teammate, Trey Canard, sits fourth. The Oklahoma native has been a consistent top-10 finisher and even made the rostrum in Moto 2 in Tennessee. Trailing Canard in points is Stewart. The Suzuki ace posted his strongest result at RedBud, going 2-2, which came as welcome relief from the up and down season he’s endured so far. When his machinery cooperates and he’s able to stay upright, JS7 has found his way to the lead pack, but seemingly more often than not he’s run into trouble that has cost him valuable points. Like Barcia, Stewart has been strong off the start and has amassed a total of seven Motorcycle-Superstore Holeshot Award points.
Elsewhere in the field, riders like Smartop’s Mike Alessi, BTO Sports’ Andrew Short, JGRMX’s Josh Grant and Troy Lee Designs’ Malcolm Stewart have shown moments of promise, each earning at least one trip to the podium through the first seven rounds of competition. Alessi and Grant are in the running for the end-of-year holeshot prize as well, holding four and three points respectively.
In the 250 class, the battle for this year’s title is largely between Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen and GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac, with Roczen currently holding the lead and Tomac sitting a slight seven points back. Roczen has shown that his off-season training paid off, winning seven motos so far compared to his single moto win in 2012. The German rider ran out front often last year, but seemed to fizzle out toward the end of a number of motos.
Tomac has been the victim of bad starts on a number of occasions in 2013, having to cut his way through the field in order to contend for the front. A few crashes along the way haven’t helped either. The Honda rider is nearly untouchable once he gets the lead though, and if he’s able to get a quick start in Washougal, expect to see him build up some sizable gaps on the field.
Barcia was winner in the 250 class of Moto 1 at Washougal in 2012, and Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett took the checkers in Moto 2. Baggett has made the top step only once so far this year, in Moto 1 at Budds Creek, and has been struggling to recapture the pace he managed during his title-winning season. He currently sits fourth in the standings and with only five rounds left on schedule, he’ll need a drastic reversal of fortune in order to defend his Number 1 plate.
Roczen’s teammate, Marvin Musquin, will fight to regain a spot on the podium at Washougal, as will Tomac’s teammates Zach Osborne. Another GEICO Honda rider, Wil Hahn, is trying to make up ground after missing the first four rounds of the season due to injury. He’s yet to earn a top-three finish, but his quick starts have given him the lead in the 250 class Motorcycle Superstore.com Holeshot Championship.
Catch the motocross action from Washougal live on Fuel TV and Allisports.com for Moto 1 at 4 p.m. Eastern time. Moto 2 will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network and Allisports.com starting at 6 p.m. EST.