Villopoto completes rookie season on a high note
Ryan Villopoto earned his second win in three races, pacing the Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM Championship season finale at Sam Boyd Stadium. Villopoto’s victory came on the heels of Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel’s victory earlier in the evening during the Dave Coombs Sr. East/West Supercross Lites Shootout. In all, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team placed all four of its riders in the top six with Jake Weimer finishing fourth, Austin Stroupe fifth and Ryan Morais sixth.
Villopoto book-ended his rookie season in the supercross class with wins. At the season opener in Anaheim, Villopoto won his heat race in his first ever start in the class. At the finale in Las Vegas, the 20-year-old rookie took the victory in his last main event as a rookie. The triumph on Saturday night capped off a rookie season of two wins and five podium finishes in 13 starts.
1st – Ryan Villopoto Speaks…
"This win was harder than my first," said Villopoto. "At Seattle, Chad went down in the first turn and James was way back. Tonight James was in the lead and I was able to pass him when he made a mistake. Then I tried to get a gap on him because you know he is very quick at coming back on you and making a pass."
"My goal all year was to be riding with the top guys," said Villopoto. "In the heat race James got by me, but I stuck with him and passed him back. I think that gave me some confidence in the main knowing I could ride up front and capitalize if he made any mistakes."
Villopoto learned a lot during his heat race, leading early and challenging James Stewart when the eventual champion passed him.
Pourcel’s victory came against the best in the business in the supercross lites class as the shootout in Las Vegas featured riders from both the East and West coast series. With the 40 fastest supercross lites riders entered into the night show, the AMA Eastern Region Supercross Lites class champion had his work cut out for him as he tried to earn his sixth win of the season.
Christophe Pourcel Speaks…
"It feels really good to win the shootout," said Pourcel. "I just wanted to get a good start and I knew I could get into the lead. I didn’t get the holeshot, but I just gave it my all and I was able to beat a lot of fast guys. I’m really pumped."
With the heat races for the supercross lites shootout divided by region, Austin Stroupe nailed the holeshot in the East Coast race and rode flawlessly to get the heat win.
Austin Stroupe Speaks…
"The track was a little different for the night program," said Stroupe. "They did a lot of grooming on it, so the first couple of laps I was just trying to get comfortable. Once I found a good rhythm, I put in some fast laps. I even ran my fastest lap of the heat on the last lap."