Monthly Archives: January 2014
Watch Ryan Villopoto during the Main Event at the 4th Round of the 2014 Monster Energy Supercross in Oakland, Ca
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Villopoto Wins in Oakland and Regains Monster Energy Supercross Points Lead
Irvine, Calif. (January 26, 2014) – Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto dominated in Northern California on Saturday in Oakland, setting the fastest lap time in qualifying, winning his heat race and leading every lap on his way to his second straight Monster Energy Supercross win at O.co Coliseum. His teammate Jake Weimer charged through the field after some early trouble to finish ninth and Discount Tire Two Two Motorsports Chad Reed put his KX™450F back on the podium finishing third.
After losing the championship lead and the familiar red backgrounds that come with the honor, Villopoto was determined to get back to the top. He started early in the week at the test track continuing to customize his KX450F to fit him and his riding style and the work during the week paid off. The Washington native set the fastest time in qualifying, then went on to lead every lap of his heat race. In the main event, Villopoto was center stage and left everyone chasing the #1 on the back of his jersey as he made an aggressive pass just after the split section and never looked back. The Champ led all 20 laps and became the first multiple time winner this season.
“It feels great to get the win tonight,” said Villopoto. “I feel like we did last season. My whole Monster Energy Kawasaki team is putting in a lot of work at the test track so we can get the best possible setup on the bike. We made a few changes this week including the triple clamp and the results show the hard work is paying off. I feel like we are just starting to hit our stride.”
After the champagne was sprayed on the podium, Villopoto and his team got right back to work, heading out onto the track to take a look at the whoops section to see how they could improve for the next event. Rather than rest on his three consecutive titles, Villopoto is determined to out work and out race everyone in the field.
3rd Time’s the Charm
For the third time this season Monster Energy Supercross returns to Angel Stadium in Anaheim. With the Southern California drought conditions along with a dirt
Villopoto returned to Anaheim with the red plates which signify the points leader. His heat race turned into a continuation of the main event from Phoenix as he battled with Justin Brayton, but settled for second place. The main event was looking to go his way and halfway through the 20-laps, the champ came in to pass for the lead. On his second attempt, slight contact resulted in Villopoto losing the front end. He remounted to finish fifth and sits one point out of the championship lead.
“Tonight was unfortunate,” said Villopoto. “I felt we were in good position to get into the lead and get away. As I came up to make the pass, my front end just got pulled from under me and I didn’t know what happened. Looking at the video, the leader’s boot got stuck in my front wheel causing me to go down. We’re still right there in points and there’s lots of racing left.”
We had one week of parity and then the champ has to come in a restamp his authority over the series. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto didn’t just win on Saturday night in Phoenix, he did it while passing most of his toughest competitors. Some shock changes between round one and two apparently helped—because one thing is for sure, it wasn’t a tire change that made the difference. Read on.
Racer X Online: Take us through the race a little bit.
Ryan Villopoto: I didn’t get the good start. The gate here is always a tough decision. You look at the pad, and there are just straight tire marks behind the gate. It makes it tough to get a good gate and not have wheelspin. In the qualifier I felt like I had a good jump, and I spun, and in the main, I was too soft. You only have two times to get it right and I didn’t get it right in any of them. But I was able to make my passes smoothly.
Was it tough to work up? It looked like it took awhile.
It was tough. All of the guys were riding good, Ryan [Dungey] and especially Justin [Brayton], he was riding great. So it made it tough. You really had to make your passes stick, or else you would get into those battles like you saw some of the guys get into. The first five laps were pretty crazy, you saw guys just sticking it in everywhere. That’s probably exciting to watch for the fans, but as a racer, it’s like, let’s just calm down and start racing. You’re just waiting to get taken out, it just sucks to race that way.
Justin Brayon (10) provided stiff competition for Ryan Villopoto in Phoenix.
Simon Cudby photo
Did the lines change as the night went on?
Yeah they did. The start here just kept pushing out and pushing out. Everyone knows Phoenix is typically really hard and slippery. Takes a lot of throttle control, and keeping your speed going—[you have to have] good roll speed. You can’t change your line up too much because the track is only so big, you just have to try t o hit your marks to the end.
Justin kept you honest right until the end.
He did. His strongest point on the track was probably the whoops. Then probably three laps from the end I spun before the triple, and that allowed him to close up. It was good. We kind of know what we need to work on a little bit.
Talk about last week compared to this week.
Last week was a bummer. We made a shock change and that made a really big difference. This track is slippery and mistakes are easy to make so that helped. We think we know what caused some of the issues we had. I felt good, for Anaheim 1 it was okay. I won there two times in a row, then last year was pretty bad. So, fourth was okay.
How much did the dirt change here from beginning to end? Seemed like a totally different track from where it started.
It is. Phoenix just gets really dry and it makes it hard to make a tire choice. We try to run the best tire, but sometimes that tire can start to come apart a little bit on this hard dirt, so it’s a little bit of a gamble on what to run. Do you want just medium traction and the tire to last the whole time? Or do you want better traction but you chance it fading away the last five laps.
Wait, wait. I thought you never change your rear tire.
We didn’t. We actually did run the same tire all day today. But previous years, we’d stick to the same tire, but recently we’ve improved the bike and we’ve had some options.
So you do change it up a little bit here and there.
“We made a shock change and that made a really big difference.” – Villopoto
Simon Cudby photo
Daytona. Will you run a different tire than you did here?
That’s a pretty big difference! Daytona and Phoenix. No?
Would you want a sand tire out here?
That’s my point! No!
I know but we’re running one.
[Mechanic, Mike Williamson] We ran the same tire here we ran all outdoors.