Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto bounced back from his worst showing of the 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Millville to stage one of his best performances of the season in Moto 1 at Unadilla. The Kawasaki ace led from the Motorcycle-Superstore.com
Holeshot to the checkers, beating his closest competition by over 20 seconds. Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey finished in second-place followed by Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart in third.
Villopoto was untouchable in Moto 1, finishing the first lap with a sizable gap already growing on the field. He proceeded to put down lap times two to three seconds faster than anyone else on track and by mid-race was dodging the roost from lappers. During the final stages of the moto he ran on cruise control, knowing that all he needed to do was keep upright to score the win.
Dungey settled into second during the opening laps and after the initial position shuffle behind him off the start. BTO Sports’ Andrew Short enjoyed a brief stint in third-place before Stewart, who slotted into fourth through the opening turns, made the pass for a spot on the podium. Short continued to fall back in the field as Team Muscle Milk Honda’s Trey Canard and Justin Barcia both made moves on the KTM rider for fourth and fifth, respectively.
Canard held strong in fourth for a number of minutes until his engine began to make some unsettling sounds, forcing him to slow and allow Barcia past. Soon after Canard pulled into the mechanics area, deciding to take a DNF rather than risk a serious mechanical failure. Others such as N-Fab’s Bobby Kiniry and Troy Lee Designs’ Malcolm Stewart also faced mechanical troubles, with Kiniry pulling out during the opening laps and Stewart rejoining the moto after a quick front end repair, leaving him to finish 34th.
Short’s teammate, Michael Byrne, hit a rough patch of his own, adding another chapter to his story of misfortune at Unadilla. The KTM rider went down hard at the track in 2012 while in the lead, breaking his leg. This time he avoided such a big injury but was escorted off track by the Asterisk medical team for evaluation.
JGRMX’s Josh Grant took fifth place with an aggressive pass by Short late in the moto, throwing his YZ450F in front of the KTM rider late in a turn. The move threw Short off balance somewhat, but he was able to keep hold of the handlebars and finish in sixth. Grant’s teammate, Justin Brayton, took seventh.
Also of interest is the return of Brett Metcalfe to the AMA Pro Motocross ranks, coming off his Canadian Nationals championship win, the Metty24 Suzuki rider finished 10th.
Villopoto put down another flawless run in Moto 2, scoring the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Holeshot a second time and leading all the way to the finish. Barcia made the most of a strong start to finish in second-place. Villopoto’s teammate, Jake Weimer, prevailed after a tight battle with Dungey to earn the final step on the podium.
The Moto 2 start proved to be disastrous for a number of riders, including Canard, Motoconcepts’ Mike Alessi and Stewart. Canard and Alessi got tangled in a multi-rider pile-up that saw Canard go flying over the handlebars into the dirt off track. The Oklahoma native avoided injury, however, returning to competition and finishing in 26th. Alessi, however, reportedly sustained an injury and was forced to pull out of competition. Stewart’s trouble came a few turns later when a crash took him out completely as well. JS7 was recovering from a crash he sustained earlier in the week which had caused him problems with his neck, and after his Moto 1 performance the issue began to plague him again. It was further aggravated in his off in Moto 2.
Villopoto, Barcia and Weimer escaped the chaos and slotted into the one, two and three positions. Each ran a lonely race for all but the final laps of the moto. Villopoto and Barcia remained unchallenged, but Weimer faced intense pressure from Dungey, who’d been fighting back after a bad start of his own. The KTM ace spent over 10 minutes trying to find a way past Grant to move up to fourth-place during the initial stages, and once there had to cover three seconds in order to catch Weimer. Dungey had only the final laps to find a line past the Kawasaki rider, but Weimer put up a strong defense and was able to close doors on Dungey multiple times. Dungey almost scored the advantage on the final turn of the last lap, but Weimer maintained his position for his first podium of the season. Dungey made the overall podium, however, with his 2-4 finish. Weimer earned fourth overall with a 9-3 result.
Grant was on Dungey’s rear tire after the KTM ace passed for fourth, but in the final laps Grant lost a significant amount of time and lost any chance of advancing higher than fifth. Metcalfe trailed just over three seconds behind Grant in sixth followed by Short in seventh and RCH Racing’s Broc Tickle in eighth.
Villopoto further extended his points lead, which is now 44 ahead of Dungey. Barcia sits comfortably in third with Stewart in fourth and Canard in fifth.
Unadilla 450 Motocross Results 2013:
1. Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki) 1-1
2. Justin Barcia (Honda) 4-2
3. Ryan Dungey (KTM) 2-4
4. Jake Weimer (Kawasaki) 9-3
5. Josh Grant (Yamaha) 5-5
6. Andrew Short (KTM) 6-7
7. Brett Metcalfe (Kawasaki) 10-6
8. Broc Tickle (Suzuki) 8-8
9. Justin Brayton (Yamaha) 7-13
10. Phil Nicoletti (Yamaha) 13-9
11. James Stewart (Suzuki) 3-40
12. Matt Goerke (KTM) 14-14
13. Chad Reed (Honda) 17-12
14. Jake Canada (Yamaha) 25-10
15. Akira Narita (Honda) 16-15
450 Motocross Points 2013:
1. Ryan Villopoto, 463
2. Ryan Dungey, 419
3. Justin Barcia, 347
4. James Stewart, 289
5. Trey Canard, 263
6. Andrew Short, 220
7. Jake Weimer, 216
8. Broc Tickle, 209
9. Josh Grant, 208
10. Mike Alessi, 204