Ryan Dungey could only manage second in the opening moto. He will need a miracle in Moto 2.
Chad Reed had a crazy start as he got a solid launch and then headed straight for the left sideline, weaving all the way over to the inside and cut off both Ryan Dungey and Ryan Villopoto. Reed would crash moments later in the first turn and wound up 31st at the end of Lap 1. Mike Alessi emerged with the holeshot on his Red Bull KTM with Colton Facciotti in second aboard his Lucas Oil TLD Honda. Alessi would lead for the first three laps before Justin Barcia took over the point position.
Dungey and Villopto were buried off the start and the Monster Kawasaki rider was happy to follow Dungey around for the opening lap. Dungey started picking off riders but spun out in a flat corner and RV had no choice but to go around. The Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider immediately surged by again. A couple laps later he would again make a mistake that allowed the #2 bike to slip past but Villopoto had a big scare when his right hand popped off the handlebar on a big double jump and Dungey went back past.
“Chad came over on us really hard and we were in the back,” said Villopoto. “It’s dicey back there. All those guys are fighting for a spot and a position to do well. Me and Ryan (Dungey), we’re both trying to stay out of trouble. It gets a little hairball.”
The madness would eventually sort itself out as they pulled up on Alessi’s rear wheel and started battling for the runner-up position. Out in front was Justin Barcia who was putting down the fastest laps on the track. Alessi did a masterful job of holding off the points leader but eventually succumbed to the pressure and seemed to have spent his reserves on fighting his old nemesis as Dungey quickly worked around the KTM 450 SX-F.
Justin Barcia led for much of the race before giving way to Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey.
Villopoto continued to increase his pace and cut Barcia’s lead in half with 7 laps remaining. He would pass Barcia and inherit the lead on Lap 12. Dungey knifed into second place with two and a half laps remaining but his only hope at that point was to stay close enough in the points that something might happen in the final moto as RV claimed the moto win.
“I didn’t get out to the best start there and that didn’t help us out much,” said Dungey. “I felt good and I’m just really looking forward to Moto 2. All we can do is go out there and give it our best.”
2011 AMA Motocross Pala 450 Moto 1 Results:
1. Ryan Villopoto, Kawasaki
2. Ryan Dungey, Suzuki
3. Justin Barcia, Honda
4. Mile Alessi, KTM
5. Brett Metcalfe, Suzuki
6. Kyle Regal, Suzuki
7. Nico Izzi, Yamaha
8. Colton Facciotti, Honda
9. Justin Brayton, Yamaha
10. Jake Weimer, Kawasaki
11. Jake Canada, Honda
12. Chad Reed, Honda
13. Jimmy Albertson, Yamaha
14. Les Smith, Yamaha
15. Jarred Browne, Yamaha