Villopoto Scores Anaheim I Win
ANAHEIM, CA, JAN. 8 –
It was pretty much an all-green night at the opening round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series at Angel Stadium. Kawasaki led every lap of both main events and came away with both wins as Ryan Villopoto and Josh Hansen fired the first shots in this year’s Supercross series, with Villopoto taking the win in the Supercross (450cc) class and Hansen the victory in the Western Regional Lites (250cc) final.Getting things started in the 450 main was Ivan Tedesco who grabbed the holeshot on his Dodge Motorsport/Hart & Huntington/Bel-Ray Kawasaki and held the point for three laps before Villopoto, on the factory-backed Monster Energy Kawasaki, slipped past the former Lites Supercross Champion and motored into the lead for good.Villopoto’s main most feared rivals, Ryan Dungey, James Stewart and Chad Reed, all had rough starts. Dungey completed the first lap in fourth, Stewart 17th and Reed 18th. Both Stewart and Reed had gotten jammed up in the first turn and spent the rest of the race working up through slower traffic.Dungey spent three laps behind his Suzuki teammate Brett Metcalfe and then another three laps behind Tedesco before taking over second place, but by then, Villopoto had already developed a relatively comfortable lead.Villopoto wasn’t worried about Dungey and managed to maintain his lead for the rest of the 20-lap race, taking the checkered flag 3.670 seconds ahead of the defending Supercross Champion, Dungey. Vilopoto said after the race that felt good all day long, despite not having raced since the St. Louis Supercross last year where he suffered a badly broken leg. He also said his leg felt good and didn’t bother him at all the entire day.After having set the fastest lap in qualifying and passing Villopoto for the win in his heat race, Stewart was quite satisfied with third and getting on the podium, considering the awful start he had. This was Stewart’s first Supercross race since finishing third at round three last year, after which he pulled out with a broken wrist that he suffered the week before. Stewart finished the race 2.1 seconds behind Dungey and 5.7 seconds behind winner Villopoto.Finishing fourth 4.1 seconds behind Stewart was Team Honda’s Trey Canard, who also looked fast all day long. He ran as high as third before Stewart got around him on the 12th lap.Chad Reed, who was making his Honda debut on his own TwoTwo Motorsport team, finished fifth, 17 seconds behind Canard and 27 seconds behind Villopoto.Kevin Windham, on the GEICO Honda, started off in fifth but slipped back one spot to finish sixth, five seconds behind Reed.Tedesco ended up seventh, followed by Metcalfe, Team Honda’s Josh Grant and KTM Red Bull’s Andrew Short.The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team swept the Lites podium when all was said and done, with Hansen, Brock Tickle and Tyla Rattray taking the first three positions. Going back to the final race last year in Las Vegas, the East/West Shootout, this was the second straight time that the Pro Circuit team has swept the podium in the Lites class. (In Las Vegas, the Pro Circuit team actually took the first four spots.)The Lites final started off with Tickle jumping into the early lead with his teammates, Hansen and Rattray, right behind him. Both Hansen and Tickle slowly pulled away from Rattray and the rest of the pack. Tickle looked to be in command, but approaching the halfway point, Hansen mounted an attack that brought him right up to Tickle’s rear wheel. Hansen then made his move in a turn, pushing Tickle high up on the berm and could have easily taken him out. But Hansen kept it clean and took over the lead.Tickle kept Hansen honest for the rest of the race, but Hansen had a lock on this one. Hansen ended up taking the win 3.2 seconds ahead of tickle and 9.7 seconds ahead of Rattray, who was competing in his first AMA Supercross.Fourth place went to Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s Martin Davalos who held the position for all 15 laps.Cole Seely, on the Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/PPG Honda, rounded out the top five, finishing right behind Davalos who he had been chasing for much of the race.Davalos’ teammate Ryan Morais finished sixth, followed by German rider Ken Roczen on the Red Bull KTM. Roczen was the quickest Lites qualifier earlier in the day, but he was held up by a bad start that had him in ninth place after the first lap.Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda’s Travis Baker finished eighth, followed by DNA Shred Stix/Yamaha’s Nick Paluzzi and GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac.Results:450: 1. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw); 2. Ryan Dungey (Suz); 3. James Stewart (Yam); 4. Trey Canard (Hon); 5. Chad Reed (Hon); 6. Kevin Windham (Hon); 7. Ivan Tedesco (Kaw); 8. Brett Metcalfe (Suz); 9. Josh Grant (Hon); 10. Andrew Short (KTM); 11. Kyle Chisholm (Yam); 12. Nick Wey (Yam); 13. Kyle Regal (Yam); 14. Mike Alessi (KTM); 15. Jason Thomas (Suz); 16. Justin Brayton (Yam); 17. Chris Blose (Kaw); 18. Matt Boni (Kaw); 19. Davi Millsaps (Yam); 20. Tomm Hahn (Yam).250: 1. Josh Hansen (Kaw); 2. Brock Tickle (Kaw); 3. Tyla Rattray (Kaw); 4. Martin Davalos (Suz); 5. Cole Seely (Hon); 6. Ryan Morais (Suz); 7. Ken Roczen (KTM); 8. Travis Baker (Hon); 9. Nick Paluzzi (Yam); 10. Eli Tomac (Hon); 11. Antonio Balbi (Kaw); 12. Ben Evans (Kaw); 13. Kyle Cunningham (Yam); 14. Ryan Marmont (KTM); 15. Cody Gilmore (Kaw); 16. Bruce Rutherford (Kaw); 17. Travis Bright (Hon); 18. Dakota Tedder (Kaw); 19. Christian Craig (Hon); 20. Topher Ingalls (Hon).