Villopoto In Control

Larry Lawrence | March 23, 2013

In Toronto it took Ryan Villopoto half the race to get in front, but once he did there was no holding him back. In the only AMA Supercross event outside the U.S., Villopoto gave the Canadian crowd in the Rogers Centre yet another prime example of just why he wears the number one plate on his Monster Energy Kawasaki. For 10 laps Villopoto waited patiently behind series rival Davi Millsaps. After a couple of risky pass attempts came up short, the champ waited until Millsaps started making errors before making a decisive move to the front.

There was no reply from Millsaps. Villopoto pulled away cruised home to a 3.6-second margin of victory to nail down his seventh victory of the season (fourth in a row). He pushed his lead over Millspaps from nine to 12 points with five rounds to go. He also defended his 2012 victory in Toronto.

Ryan Dungey struggled at times, but persisted and emerged in third at the checkered flag. That finish kept his title hopes alive. He now sits in third in the standings, 22 points behind Villopoto and 10 behind Millsaps.

Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin survived a scary crash early in the day and came through to win the 250 class, scoring his third victory in a row and closing to within six points of series leader GEICO Honda’s Wil Hahn, who battled his way back from a poor start to finish second. Blake Wharton was third on the Rockstar Energy Suzuki, keeping at least a thin path open for him to get to the East Region title.

Ryan Villopoto wins again! Photography By:

Ryan Villopoto wins again! Photography By:

Millsaps seems to have weathered the mid-season storm of niggling injuries and illness. For the first half of the race it looked like he might cut back into Villopoto’s series lead. Millsaps took over from early leader Chad Reed and immediately put a gap on the field. It was a near perfect start for the top runners with Villopoto, Dungey and Stewart all getting away clean and running up front in the opening laps.

On the third lap Villopoto finally got around a spirited Reed (who announced he will undergo knee surgery this week), but by then Millsaps had better than a two-second lead up front.

The red-plate holder gradually started closing the gap. On lap six Villopoto made up all the ground and was on Millsaps tailpipe. The next few laps Villopoto made a couple of high-risk pass attempts on a very tight right hander. He could have easily had his front wheel taken out in the attempts, but Millsaps kept it clean.

By lap 12 the intense battle was wearing on Millsaps. He made a few slips, lost momentum coming out of a turn, and Villopoto got a great drive and passed into the lead on a short straight. Millsaps had nothing left in the tank in terms of challenging Villopoto. Instead he preserved his energy for the fight with Dungey, who had methodically moved up to the leaders.

It looked near certain that that Dungey would move into second, and then suddenly he was in a slow right hand turn stopped, having stalled his KTM. Reed temporarily passed him, but a lap later Dungey was back in the final podium spot, but too far back to mount another challenge to second-running Millsaps.

In the end it was Villopoto with another convincing win.

“I made mistakes in my Heat race and didn’t feel that good,” Villopoto claimed after his victory. “I figured out that I was over-riding my bike and finally got settled down. Davi (Millsaps) was riding unbelievable. I was finally able to find a way around him and get ahead.”

Villopoto said it was still too early to think about pulling back to preserve his lead. “There are too many races, too many points still to be had to start backing it down. Maybe when you get to two or three races to go you might start looking where you are in the points and make a decision. This is still a competitive season with a lot of guys capable of winning.”

Millsaps is keeping hope alive with his solid second, his first podium in three rounds. A one-week break in the series is just what he needed.

“It’s been a long six weeks,” said a weary Millsaps. “I got sick, hurt my arm, and then destroyed my knee. Hopefully I can take a few days to rest and get back and hit it hard to make a run down the home stretch.”

Dungey was almost four seconds back from Millsaps in third at the finish and was upbeat in spite of his mid-race error.

“I tried following Villo to go through the pack,” Dungey said. “But I made a bummer move and stalled it. I managed to get back by Chad (Reed). My team gave me a great bike tonight. We’ll see if we can’t get back after the break and chip away at the lead.”

Reed took fifth in his final appearance of 2013. Honda’s Justin Barcia was way back in fifth. Jake Weimer sixth. James Stewart stalled his bike late and ended up dropping from fifth to seventh. Broc Tickle beat out Andrew Short and Matthew Goerke in the only close battle inside the top 10.

Marvin Musquin closes the gap on points leader Wil Hahn with a win at Rogers Centre.  Photography By:

Marvin Musquin closes the gap on points leader Wil Hahn with a win at Rogers Centre.  Photography By:

Jimmy Decotis got a great start in the 250 Main, but Musquin emerged the leader on the first lap and immediately began opening a gap on the field. Blake Wharton didn’t get a great jump, but was aggressive early and immediately worked his way to third. The same could be said for Wil Hahn, who had to wait until the second lap to clear his way to fourth.

Decotis’ great start was negated when he jumped into a tuff block and crashed on a rhythm section. He was quickly back in the fray, but fell back several positions.

There was an early exit by Justin Hill, who was holding his right wrist after a hard landing.

Musquin continued to hold his lead as Hahn was on the move. By lap nine Hahn moved up to challenge and eventually pass Wharton for second. The only problem was that while Hahn and Wharton were fighting for position; it only gave Musquin more of a chance to get away.

With two to go Jeremy Martin came up to challenge Wharton for the final podium spot.

Musquin checked up on the final lap, allowing Hahn to close, but it was a 3.57 second margin of victory for the former world champ at the flag.

Martin tried to make a block pass on Wharton in the final turn in a last-ditch effort for a podium, but he was too far behind and Wharton squirted ahead to secure a safe third.

“The track was slippery and I really didn’t like it,” Musquin explained. “I feel great about how the night finished, especially after my big crash (in practice). I felt shaky after that, but thanks to my crew they gave me a great bike and we came through and got it done.”

The win for Musquin drew him three points closer to Hahn in the standings.

“I rode good in the main tonight,” Hahn said, admitting he struggled earlier in the day. “I made some passes and was reeling Marvin in at the end. I got a little frustrated with lappers. I’ve got to come back and turn my brain on the next couple of races and I’ll be okay.”

Just six points separate the top two riders with two rounds remaining. Wharton’s third kept him in the championship hunt, but just. He’ll have to find some magic and get a little help in the closing rounds to have a shot at the title.

“I managed to stay off the ground tonight,” Wharton said. “I’ve got to go back to the drawing board and get it done. It was a little rough tonight, but I’ll keep my head down and see what I can do.”

450 Main
1. Ryan Villopoto, Kawasaki KX 450F
2. David Millsaps, Suzuki RM-Z450
3. Ryan Dungey, KTM 450
4. Chad Reed, Honda CRF 450
5. Justin Barcia, Honda CRF 450
6. Jake Weimer, Kawasaki KX 450F
7. James Stewart, Suzuki RM-Z450
8. Broc Tickle, Suzuki RM-Z450
9. Andrew Short, KTM 450 SX-F
10. Matthew Goerke, KTM 450 SX-F

450 Points
1. Ryan Villopoto 252
2. David Millsaps 240
3. Ryan Dungey 230
4. Chad Reed 196
5. Justin Barcia 184

250 Main
1. Marvin Muquin, KTM 250 SX-F
2. Wil Hahn, Honda CRF250
3. Blake Wharton, Suzuki RMZ-250
4. Jeremy Martin, Yamaha YZ250F
5. Vince Friese, Honda CRF250
6. Cole Thompson, Honda CRF250
7. James Decotis, Honda CRF250
8. Gavin Faith, Honda CRF250
9. Jackson Richardson, Honda CRF250
10. Kyle Peters, Honda CRF250

250 East Points
1. Wil Hahn, 134
2. Marvin Musquin, 128
3. Blake Wharton, 108
4. Dean Wilson, 87
5. Vince Friese, 81


Larry Lawrence | Archives Editor

In addition to writing our Archives section on a weekly basis, Lawrence is another who is capable of covering any event we throw his way.