Reigning AMA Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto came into the 2012 season on a hot streak. He won the Anaheim Round 1 opener, and ever since his worst finish has been a fourth. Coming into Round 6, Ryan sits first in the point standings after becoming the first rider to take repeat wins this season. We caught up with the champ just before his Anaheim 2 victory.
Ryan Villopoto is looking for the second supercross title of his career after becoming the first repeat winner in 2012.
MotorcycleUSA: Ryan, tell us about how your season is going so far.
Obviously it's still early but it's gone really well so far. You know, a couple little mishaps and things like that, but with the win at A1 that was huge, there's a lot of hype around it. To get a win there for the second year in a row is cool. Then I had a little mishap in Phoenix and then Dodger (Stadium). I started out really good until the red flag and the restart didn’t go nearly as good as the first one but, yeah, just had a few tough races but speed wise it seems like I'm there, and I feel really good and things should start clicking off here soon.
Tell us about how difficult it was to make passes at Oakland.
The track was tough. In practice it was really hard and dry, but then it got soft. Towards the night we broke through all that crust and that hard stuff and it was really kind of spongy underneath. The first 10 laps of the main the track was pretty good, but the last 10 laps it really kind of faded away pretty bad. But I felt really good. I came from behind and caught up to those guys and just put pressure on them. I attempted to pass in the same spot on both guys, like through
"[I] just had a few tough races but speed wise it seems like I'm there, and I feel really good and things should start clicking off here soon."
the whoops and around that right hand sweeper into the triple, but a lot of that stuff they were just riding the insides on everything which puts me on the outside. So I could never just make it stick and get around them. But the positive thing is that I am able to catch those guys, I just never had a good opportunity to pass them.
How are you liking the tracks this year?
The tracks have been decent, they just haven’t had any really big whoops and that’s kind of a real separator. Anaheim 1 was an odd shape and it kept racing pretty close. Luckily, I was able to get a decent start and get a decent sized lead. They're also trying to get racing to stay closer as well as make the tracks safer.
Do you prefer technical tracks or safer tracks?
You could put barrels out here and we could all barrel race and you're going to have the same top five guys up front. Whatever you do to the track it’s all going to have the same outcome, but as a rider I'm not a huge fan of having to come out of a corner and jump four. Obviously, doing triples is part of it, but when they position things to really get us to try and jump four and things like that, then that’s when I think – obviously you have to do those kind of things to win races – and that’s what makes things a little bit sketchy.
Have you been making any big changes to the bike?
Ryan Villopoto: "The easiest thing to do is just win races. On the bad weekends you just want to minimize your mistakes."
We did all of our testing in the off season and that’s where we made all of our big changes and stuff like that. I mean, we have one of the best bikes out there, as far as traction and the way the bike reacts on the track and things like that. I think me and Jake (Weimer) are happy with it and other than the minor changes that the riders make to adjust to the track conditions it's good.
What about tire changes?
We basically run the same rear tire everywhere, except for maybe two times a year we'll change it up. But same rear tire basically everywhere, and I kind of stick to the same front tire most of the time, depending on the track.
What are your plans for the rest of the season?
The easiest thing to do is just win races. On the bad weekends you just want to minimize your mistakes. I guess you can say my bad weekends have been a third and a fourth, with the circumstances and stuff like that, and if those are the bad weekends then it's looking pretty good.