Moto One To Villopoto

Kit Palmer | May 23, 2009

Kawasaki riders Ryan Villopoto and Christophe Pourcel fired the first shots in the Lucas Oils AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Glen Helen today. Villopoto passed early leader Josh Grant just past the midway point of the race to win the 450cc class, while Pourcel came out on top of a fierce four-way battle in the 250cc class.Suzuki’s Mike Alessi got things started in the 450cc class by grabbing the holeshot and was leading during the second lap when he got hung up in a deep rut, allowing Grant and Villopoto to get around him. From there, Grant, on the JGR Yamaha, led for quite some time, while Villopoto, on the Monster Energy Kawasaki, seemed content to watch his lines and save his energy while keeping pace a couple of seconds back.Finally, Villopoto felt it was time to make his move and passed Grant over a table-top jump and quickly opened up a comfortable gap. He went on to win in what was his first outdoor race on a 450.Grant finished all alone in second, while Alessi finished a distant third.Fourth place went to Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Chad Reed who got off to about a 10th-place start and spent the rest of the race working his way up through the pack. He eventually got up to sixth and got around Honda Red Bull’s Davi Millsaps, only to drop his bike in a turn, letting Millsaps back by. Reed, however, quickly got him back, as well as Andrew Short a few laps later.Short, who held down fourth for most of the race, ended up fifth, followed by Millsaps.Jason Lawrence did not start. They Boost Mobile/Troy Racing rider was still feeling the affects of a crash he had earlier in the week, where he took a footpeg to his side.GEICO Powersport Honda’s Trey Canard nailed the holeshot in the 250cc class – twice! The first start was red-flagged after a few riders went down on the first lap, including Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Austin Stroupe, who managed to get things straightened out and make the restart.Canard, however, was passed by his GEICO Powersports/Honda teammate, rookie Justin Barcia, who led for nearly half the race, while Canard, Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Pourcel fought back and forth right behind him. The four-way battle kept the large Glen Helen crowd quite entertained, as they mixed it up, turn for turn.About the midway point, Canard slipped past Barcia, as did Dungey and Pourcel shortly after. At that point, Barcia backed it way down and dropped back to ninth where he would finish.Meanwhile, Pourcel and Dungey got around Canard, and the two ran 1-2 for the rest of the race, with Pourcel maintaining about a three-second lead over Dungey which grew slightly towards the end of the race.Canard finished a lonely third, while Tommy Searle, Tyla Rattray, Jake Wiemer and Brett Metcalfe crossed the finish line in succession behind Canard. Eighth place went to Blake Wharton, followed by Barcia.

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.