Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto snagged his fifth win of the season in the Midwest to kickstart the second half of his title defense.
After losing a close one in Atlanta, Kawasaki
’s Ryan Villopoto
answered right back with a dominant victory in Round 9 of the 2012 AMA Monster Energy AMA Supercross
Championship. The defending champ recorded his fifth win of the season inside St. Louis’ Edward Jones Dome after taking the early lead and staying consistent. Red Bull KTM
’s Ryan Dungey
followed up his victory with second after closing the gap on RV in the final laps. Meanwhile Honda
’s Justin Brayton
landed his first top-three finish of the season in third after holding off veteran Kevin Windham to the checkers.
In the beginning it was JGR Yamaha
’s Davi Millsaps
with the holeshot ahead of Villopoto, Brayton, Windham and Dungey. Despite his best effort to pull a good start, James Stewart
was near the back of the field entering the first turn. Just then the two-time champ hit the ground while attempting a dicey pass in a turn with some major traffic. In the opening lap RV was hitting Millsaps hard with pressure and was able to break through for the lead to start the second lap. The first few laps featured a tense fight for the runner-up spot as Millsaps, Brayton, Dungey, Windham and Cole Seely rounded out the top-six. Further back, Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer
’s Brett Metcalfe were duking it out for seventh as RV dropped the hammer and began to open his lead.
Despite his poor start and crash, Stewart was up to ninth by Lap 7 as Millsaps, Brayton, Dungey, Windham and Seely continued to fight for position. As the race passed the halfway point Brayton gained control of second ahead of Dungey. At the same time Stewart passed Metcalfe for eighth and went to work on Weimer, making up a lot of time while laying down the fastest lap. Dungey finally shot by Brayton
KTM's Ryan Dungey ran out of laps in St. Louis and finished second behind Villopoto.
through the rhythm section for second. Shortly after, Seely hit the deck hard while running in seventh after crashing off the over/under bridge.
Despite opening a tremendous gap in the early laps, Dungey was able to cut into the defending champ’s lead in the final minutes of the race. As Stewart went after his teammate, Millsaps, for fifth, Villopoto’s lead was reduced even further after encountering lappers. Just then JS7 moved into the top-five for the first time in the 20-lap main as Dungey closed in on RV. The battle everyone wanted never materialized, however, as RV took advantage of his good start and quick pace for win No. 5.
“The track was tough tonight,” said Villopoto. “I tried to ride smart and consistent, paying attention to where (Ryan) Dungey was at. I was able to hold on for another win and my first-ever in St. Louis”
Dungey lost three points in the series to RV after finishing second. Though the 2010 SX champ couldn’t follow up his win from last week, Dungey scored a small victory by making up ground on Villopoto near the end.
“It was tough to make passes out there,” said Dungey. “I am happy with second tonight even though I wasn’t able to get to the lead. This track is one of a kind, and I had a blast riding on it.”
Brayton also brought smiles back to Honda by getting on the podium for the first time this year despite fracturing his leg just a few weeks ago. Windham and Stewart earned fourth and fifth, respectively, with Stewart now more than 50 points behind RV after another disappointing round.
St. Louis AMA Supercross Results:
1. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki)
2. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
3. Justin Brayton (Honda)
4. Kevin Windham (Honda)
5. James Stewart (Yamaha)
Justin Brayton earned his best finish of the season so far in third.
6. Davi Millsaps (Yamaha)
7. Jake Weimer (Kawasaki)
8. Brett Metcalfe (Suzuki)
9. Marvin Musquin (KTM)
10. Nick Wey (Kawasaki)
11. Broc Tickle (Kawasaki)
12. Matt Goerke (Suzuki)
13. Mike Alessi (Suzuki)
14. Robert Kiniry (Yamaha)
15. Justin Sipes (Kawasaki)
2012 AMA Supercross Championship Points:
1. Ryan Villopoto, 205
2. Ryan Dungey, 192
3. James Stewart, 152
4. Chad Reed, 128
5. Kevin Windham, 123
6. Jake Weimer, 120
7. Justin Brayton, 116
8. Brett Metcalfe, 113
9. Davi Millsaps, 109
10. Mike Alessi, 98