Ryan Villopoto will undergo surgery on his ankle after the outdoor National Series. Photography by Kit Palmer
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto says he will undergo surgery immediately following the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championship to repair a lingering issue with his ankle, which will cause him to miss this year’s Motocross of Nations set for later next month in Germany.
“It is always a tough decision to go in and have surgery,” said Villopoto in a release. “But just like my Monster Energy Kawasaki team works hard to give me the best bike possible, I have to make sure I’m at my best as well. The hardest part of this decision is the timing. I was really looking forward to racing the Motocross of Nations again this year, but I won't be fully prepared in time for MXoN and I don’t want to give less than 100% to Team USA. The MXoN is always a highlight of the season and it is an event that has helped to define my career.”
Following his recovery, Villopoto will begin preparing for the 2014 Monster Energy Supercross season and the Monster Energy Cup in October.
Villopoto told Cycle News that the surgery is to remove a bone spur in his left foot, which has been bothering him for a while now.
“It’s a real bummer because I personally have won every time I’ve gone [to the MXofN], I’ve had great experiences at that event and it’s a really fun race,” said Villopoto. “But for the team, I have to get a couple of little things worked on. Everybody knows our focus here is in the States, we race Supercross and motocross. So for us to be ready for what we need to do, I need to use that time [during MXoN] to take care of myself so that we’re good through Supercross and motocross next year.”
Specifically, Villopoto pointed to his left foot.
“It’s just been a nagging injury for a while and people will say that it doesn’t affect me because I’m out there racing, but nobody wants to deal with nagging injuries, it gets old after a while, and I need to get it taken care of. It actually has nothing to do with my injury at St. Louis [earlier this year], it’s a new thing that started a few years ago, and I’ve ridden the last few years with that bothering me. Again, nobody will understand this, except for the people behind the scenes who really see what goes on. And that’s okay. All I can do is put out a press release that explains it and they can take it for what it is.
“It’s a bummer,” he added. “It’s a part of what we deal with every week.”
According to Villopoto, he feels it’s also important to be ready for the Monster Energy Cup. He says that’s a priority for the team, Monster Energy is the main sponsor of the team and he will do everything possible to be ready for that race.
Although the AMA hasn’t announced a U.S. team yet, Villopoto was, of course, expected to be on it, along with most likely Ryan Dungey and Eli Tomac who seemed to be the obvious choices.
Now, it appears Dungey, Tomac and perhaps Justin Barcia will make up the team. Both Dungey and Barcia have MXofN experience and Tomac is the AMA’s top outdoor 250 rider.