Villopoto was quick out of the gate at the start of the 20-lap final  the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider taking little time in establishing a comfortable gap over Jeff Ward Racings Josh Grant  who went the distance in second place.

New Orleans, LA. (April 14, 2012) - One race after wrapping up the series title, Ryan Villopoto made short work of round 14 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series held in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, taking a flag-to-flag victory in one of his most dominant performances to date.Villopoto was quick out of the gate at the start of the 20-lap final, the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider taking little time in establishing a comfortable gap over Jeff Ward Racing's Josh Grant, who went the distance in second place. Despite the fact that the track was deteriorating, Villopoto finished the race with over 10 seconds to spare over Grant to claim his ninth win of the season.

"The track was tough, so the bike was a big key," said Villopoto. "The track was breaking down and it had a lot of ruts, so it was easy to get caught off guard. You had to stay on toes and try to log consistent laps. I'm looking forward to returning home next week in Seattle."

New Orleans lites podium
MotoConcepts Suzuki's Mike Alessi ran in third until going down at the halfway mark, allowing Team Honda Muscle Milk's Justin Brayton to grab the final spot on the podium.

Yoshimura Suzuki's Brett Metcalfe had one of his best races of the year to finish fourth, while L&Mc Honda's Andrew Short made an impressive return to the series with a solid fifth.

Grant's runner-up effort was his best finish since winning the opening race of the 2009 Monster Energy Supercross season and also signified the inaugural podium finish for the first-year Jeff Ward Racing team.GEICO Honda's Justin Barcia clinched his second-consecutive East Regional Lites title with a fourth-place finish, while Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Darryn Durham ran out front for the final 14 laps of the 15-lap final to claim his first-ever Lites victory.

JDR/J-Star KTM's Malcolm Stewart held second early in the race, but crashed spectacularly on lap six, allowing Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Blake Baggett to move into the runner-up spot.

Baggett gained ground on Durham, and gave his teammate a run for his money as the laps wound down, however, Durham held strong to the finish, taking the checkers just feet ahead of Baggett.

"This is at the top of the list of accomplishments," said Durham. "I'm speechless. It was a great race and I couldn't have done it without my team. I'm super excited, but just don't know what to say. I had a rough practice and heat race, but got great start. I think I led all the laps, but I don't even know."

GEICO Powersports Honda's Justin Bogle made a late charge finish in third, just ahead of Barcia.

"Tonight is mind blowing," said Barcia. "To win two championships feels amazing. It was a tough season at times, but it took a lot of hard work and dedication to get here. I couldn't have done it without everyone on my team. This is an awesome feeling."


Shan Moore | Contributing Editor

Moore covers all facets of off-road racing for Cycle News – from AMA Supercross and Motocross to GNCC and National Hare Scrambles events.

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