Villopoto, Stewart Set Up For Battle

Paul Carruthers | January 21, 2012

LOS ANGLES, CA, JAN. 21 – If you go by lap times, then Ryan Villopoto goes into tonight’s Supercross final as the favorite, the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider running away with the victory in the second of two heats and turning in the fastest lap of the night in the process.

Villopoto’s heat race win was impressive and on his third of eight laps he clicked off a 53.648 to easily beat his teammate Jake Weimer. At the end of the heat, Villopoto was 11.790 seconds ahead.

JGR Yamaha’s James Stewart won the first heat, though it was by no means a runaway as MotoConcepts Suzuki’s Mike Alessi kept him honest. Stewart’s best lap was a 54.037 – .389 of a second off Villopoto’s best. Stewart, though, only completed three laps of practice/qualifying when he crashed early and suffered a cut under his eye.

As for the rest, Honda’s Andrew Short ended up third behind Stewart and Alessi in the first heat with Hart & Huntington Dodge’s Ivan Tedesco and Yoshimura Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe rounding out the top five.

TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed was in the mix, battling with Short when he went down. Reed dropped as low as 11th before climbing back to eighth for a direct transfer to the final.

Muscle Milk Honda’s Trey Canard finished third in heat two – behind Villopoto and Weimer – after holding off Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey in a heated battle. Fifth place went to Ryan Morais.

Canard’s teammate Justin Brayton, meanwhile, would be forced to go to the Last Chance Qualifier.

Lites heat racing action was fast and furious with Ryan Sipes and Martin Davalos coming away with wins. Davalos, though, was harried throughout by fast qualifier Eli Tomac, the Geico Honda rider turning in the fastest Lites lap with a stunning 53.825 (yes, faster than Stewart) en route to coming up just short of Davalos a the finish line.

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.