Ryan Villopoto is back on the path toward defending his crown after becoming the first repeat winner in 2012.
’s Ryan Villopoto
became the first repeat winner of the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross
series after snagging a major victory in Anaheim. The defending champ encountered little resistance during the 20-lap main after passing TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed
early on for the lead, taking victory nearly five seconds ahead of the field. Meanwhile JGR Yamaha’s James Stewart
rode a commendable race in second after suffering a hard crash in his heat race. Reed seized the final podium spot in third, the Aussie now trailing RV in the championship by three points.
RV and Reed were fighting bar-to-bar out of the gates as the Aussie nabbed the lead through the first whoop section. Honda
’s Justin Brayton and JGRMX Yamaha
’s Davi Millsaps closely followed the duo as Stewart and Red Bull KTM
’s Ryan Dungey
both had mediocre starts outside the top-five. On the second lap Villopoto slipped by Reed to become the new leader as JS7 and RD5 made quick progress to close on the frontrunners. On Lap 3 Stewart passed Brayton for third as RV slightly opened his lead ahead of Reed to just over a second. Millsaps, Honda’s Kevin Windham
, Jeff Ward Racing’s Kyle Chisholm, Suzuki
’s Brett Metcalfe and Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Broc Tickle rounded out the top-10 as L&M Honda’s Andrew Short and H&H Kawasaki’s Josh Hansen both had to pull into the mechanic’s area temporarily with bike trouble.
JGR Yamaha's James Stewart had a solid ride in second to keep him in the title hunt.
The top-three riders remained at a standstill on Lap 7, but it was only a brief pause for Villopoto – who quickly stepped up his game to put more of a gap on Reed. Meanwhile Dungey was still stuck behind Brayton, the lone Factory Honda rider putting in good defense until RD5 finally swept by for fourth. At the halfway point Stewart got the better of Reed for second place, but the former champ still had more than five seconds to make up on Villopoto. It was at this point that RV laid down some of the fastest laps of the night in order to prevent Stewart from catching up. As RV’s lap times became quicker, JS7 faced a renewed threat from Reed as Millsap and Windham went at it for sixth.
With seven laps to go Stewart wasn’t making any progress on Villopoto. Metcalfe, Tickle, Alessi and Chisholm still held their own inside the top-10, with Reed still sticking it to Stewart for second. In the final laps RV completely checked out, eventually winning his second race of the year with a sizeable gap.
“James (Stewart) and Chad (Reed) were riding good tonight,” said Villopoto. “I knew I had to stay on my toes and not make a mistake. We need to take it one race at a time. I had a great start and to be perfect on the start was difficult.”
Stewart – usually prone to major blunders during the main event – put in a solid performance with minimal errors for second after a hard fall earlier in the evening. For the second week in a row Reed was outdone by Stewart, but the Aussie’s third-place finish at Anaheim leaves his just three points shy of the championship lead. Dungey finished off the box for the second consecutive round – leaving the ’10 SX champ five points behind RV and just two points away from Reed.
Anaheim 2 AMA Supercross Results:
1. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki)
2. James Stewart (Yamaha)
3. Chad Reed (Honda)
4. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
Chad Reed (above) lost another battle with James Stewart but remains just three points shy of Villopoto.
5. Justin Brayton (Honda)
6. Kevin Windham (Honda)
7. Davi Millsaps (Yamaha)
8. Mike Alessi (Suzuki)
9. Brett Metcalfe (Suzuki)
10. Broc Tickle (Kawasaki)
11. Jake Weimer (Kawasaki)
12. Kyle Chisholm (Kawasaki)
13. Nick Wey (Kawasaki)
14. Andrew Short (Honda)
15. Weston Peick (Kawasaki)
2012 AMA Supercross Championship Points:
1. Ryan Villopoto, 108
2. Chad Reed, 105
3. Ryan Dungey, 103
4. James Stewart, 95
5. Kevin Windham, 73
6. Jake Weimer, 71
7. Andrew Short, 59
8. Brett Metcalfe, 57
9. Davi Millsaps, 56
10. Justin Brayton, 53