Villopoto Gets It Done In Seattle

Kit Palmer | April 19, 2009

Ryan Villopoto couldn’t pick a better place to record his first Supercross-class win of his career – in front of his home crowd of over 50,000 in Seattle, just like Washington’s Larry Ward did at the Kingdome in 1990.

This time, Villopoto put his Monster Energy Kawasaki into second place right off the start of the 20-lap main and then chased race leader Mike Alessi until the Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider washed out in a rut near the halfway point, giving Villopoto the lead and eventual win.

“It feels awesome,” Villopoto said of getting his first win in his home state. “I can’t thank my team enough and everybody that put effort into it. It hasn’t been the year we wanted, but they never gave up.”

Second place went to San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart who, like series rival Chad Reed, had a rough first lap. Stewart got swallowed up in the first turn, and then he stalled his bike a few turns later. He came around the first lap in 11th place, but he had it better off than Reed, who got squeezed out down the start chute and then crossed paths with another rider and hit the ground. He was second to last after the first lap.

By the time Stewart got into second, around the 15th lap, Villopoto was long since gone up front and had to settle for second. It was the first time that Stewart didn’t win a Supercross main event without actually falling.

Reed, meanwhile, struggled to make up positions on the rutted track and ended up finishing seventh.

Stewart, who went into the Seattle race five points behind Reed for the series lead, left Qwest Field three points up on the Suzuki rider with two rounds left to go.

Joining Villopoto and Stewart on the podium was Honda Red Bull’s Davi Millsaps who ran up front the whole race. Fourth went to early leader Alessi, followed by Honda Red Bull’s Andrew Short, Joe Gibbs Racing/Yamaha’s Josh Grant and Reed. Paul Carpenter, Ivan Tedesco and Kevin Windham rounded out the top 10.

For Ryan Dungey (pictured, below) and Jake Weimer, the Lites final was won and lost at the start, where Dungey got away up front and Weimer in the middle of the pack. Dungey took full advantage of his quick getaway by grabbing the lead before the first lap was over and keeping his Rockstar Makita Suzuki there the rest of the way, while Weimer struggled to make up ground through the pack.

Despite the treacherous track that was full of ruts and soft dirt that could take a rider down in a blink of an eye, Dungey rode as smooth as silk, maintaining about a four-second cushion over Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Ryan Morais the whole way. Dungey officially finished 4.1 seconds ahead of second place Morais.

Third place went to Geico Honda’s Trey Canard who was pushing Morais hard when his front end washed out in a turn on the seventh lap. Fortunately for Canard, he had built up enough of a cushion to keep third, though he lost sight of Morais.

After getting off to a ninth-place start, Weimer, who went into the final just two points behind Dungey in the title race, found it difficult to pass on the tricky track, but he did finally get around fast-starter Jake Moss, of the Troy Lee Designs Honda team, to nab fourth. But Weimer now finds himself now nine points behind Dungey with one race left to go next week at Salt Lake City, Utah.

Moss ended up fifth.

Kit Palmer | Off-Road Editor

Kit Palmer started his career at Cycle News in 1984 and he’s been testing dirt and streetbikes every since – plus covering any event that uses some form of a knobby tire. He’s also our resident motorcycle mileage man with a commute of 120 miles a day.