Photography courtesy Monster Energy
There was no mystery in the second 450 moto at Lakewood Saturday. Ryan Villopoto got past holeshot winner Justin Barcia early on and cruised away to his fourth straight moto victory to remain undefeated and add to his early series lead. Ryan Dungey had a little tougher time getting around Barcia, but once he did he turned in another good ride finishing 2-2 for second overall. James Stewart recovered from his first moto crash and scored third in moto two on his Yoshimura Suzuki. Barcia was fourth and combined with his third in the first moto that was good enough to earn third overall. Trey Canard finished fifth in the second moto, and fourth overall. Mike Alessi’s 6-6 earned him fifth overall.
It was a processional race after the first couple of laps. Barcia took the early lead and held it for three laps, before Villopoto zipped past. Three laps later Dungey found a short line around a turn and took over second. Two more laps and Stewart motored by Barcia and that was it, the finishing order was set.
Trey Canard ran second on the first lap, but fell back to an eventual fifth. There was a good battle just outside the top five between Mike Alessi, FIM Motocross regulars Clement Desalle and Kevin Strijbos, Dean Wilson and Tyla Rattray. The finished in that order and Alessi topped the group in that moto and in the overall.
While the gap from Villopoto to Dungey in the second moto was only 6.9 seconds, the closest margin of victory so far this season, the race was never in question. Villopoto looked very comfortable controlling the race from the front and really seemed to not put a wheel wrong in the second moto, this after a first moto that saw No. 2 make a number of small errors.
“I just kept pushing,” Villopoto said. “Ryan’s the type of rider who keeps pushing all the way to the finish. He keeps you on your toes the whole moto, no matter what the gap is. Before you know it he’ll be right up on you if you don’t watch it. It was good. I just kept pushing, trying to find clean lines and get through the lappers and not make any mistakes. It feels really good to have four straight moto wins. We’ll try to keep it going.”
The ever positive Dungey kept his head up, finding a silver lining to yet another defeat at the hands of Villopoto.
“I feel good where we’re at compared to last week,” Dungey said. “Last week we were a little off and trying to find the setup a little bit, but today we kind of went on a whim and it worked. We got a good setup and the changes in the second moto made it better. I think we’re moving in the right direction. I lost all that time there in the beginning trying to get around the boys from Honda and Villopoto pulled a gap. He was riding good. I tried to maintain it and closed a little bit - cat and mouse. Overall it was a good day. These tracks are brutal and the competition is fast.”
Stewart felt a lot better about getting on the box in the second moto.
“That first moto was a knock-down, drag-out for everybody,” he said. “It was tough I was so far back. “The second moto I didn’t get a great start either. We made a big ol’ change before the second moto. I got to give a shout out to Adam with Yoshimura Suzuki. We struggle that first moto, but he figured it out for the second moto. It took me about 15 minutes to figure out how great he was, but he got it.”
Barcia said Lakewood was another weekend of gaining experience on the 450s.
“I learned a lot today,” Barcia said. “Last week was a little tough, I wound up fifth overall, but today being on the podium is awesome. My team did a great job today. The track was really rough and my bike was working good. I’ve just got to go there [to Tennessee next week] and keep my starts going. Starts are so key to run up with those fast guys.”
Going into Tennessee next Saturday Villopoto leads the way with a perfect score of 100 points. Dungey is hanging tough with four straight runner-up finishes and has 88 points. Barcia and Canard are tied for third with 70 points each.
Already it’s looking like a Villopoto vs. Dungey championship battle. The question is when will Dungey move up to challenge the championship leader?
Lakewood 450 Overall results
1 2 Ryan Villopoto Seattle, WA Kawasaki KX 450F 1-1
2 1 Ryan Dungey Belle Plaine, MN KTM 450 SX-F FE 2-2
3 51 Justin Barcia Pinetta, FL Honda CRF450R 3-4
4 41 Trey Canard Oklahoma City, OK Honda CRF450R 4-5
5 800 Mike Alessi Canoga Park, CA Suzuki RMZ 450 6-6
6 925 Clement Desalle Suzuki RMZ 450 5-7
7 7 James Stewart Jr. Suzuki RMZ 450 15-3
8 28 Tyla Rattray Wildomar, CA Kawasaki KX 450F 7-10
9 922 Kevin Strijbos Suzuki RMZ 450 10-8
10 15 Dean Wilson Wesley Chapel, FL Kawasaki KX 450F 11-9
Standings after two of 12 rounds
1 2 Ryan Villopoto Seattle, WA 100
2 1 Ryan Dungey Belle Plaine, MN 88
3 51 Justin Barcia Pinetta, FL 70
4 41 Trey Canard Oklahoma City, OK 70
5 7 James Stewart Jr. 66
6 800 Mike Alessi Canoga Park, CA 54
7 28 Tyla Rattray Wildomar, CA 49
8 35 Ryan Sipes Elizabethtown, KY 37
9 46 Weston Peick Wildomar, CA 36
10 29 Andrew Short Smithville, TX 34