Ryan Villopoto started off the 2009 AMA Pro Racing Motocross Championship just as he finished the 2009 supercross season, on the top step of the podium. Villopoto went 1-1 in his motocross 450 class debut making it 26 straight moto wins for the Kawasaki KX450F.
In the 250 class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel won the first moto and finished seventh in the second while his teammate, 2008 MX2 World Champion, Tyla Rattray went 5-2 in his first race on American soil. Jake Weimer went 6-9 and Austin Stroupe finished 13-5. Timmy Ferry started the first moto in the 450 class but was unable to finish as he continues to recover from a broken heel he sustained in March.
Villopoto joined elite company as he went 1-1 in his first motocross race in the 450 class. After winning the last three 250 class championships, he became only the second rider to then sweep both motos at Glen Helen in his 450 class debut. Ricky Carmichael also achieved the feat on a Kawasaki in 2000. It wasn’t easy for Villopoto who had to fight his way to the front during the 30 minute plus two lap motos.
Ryan Villopoto Speaks…
"It’s tough coming up through the pack," said Villopoto. "In the first moto it wasn’t too bad, but in the second moto I was back in tenth at the start so I had to work hard. I have to say this is one of the toughest tracks I have ridden at a national. It was really rough and it was good. I liked the track. It really separated the riders. My bike was good and I could ride a good pace."
"Right from the start, Mike (Alessi) pulled a big gap on me," said Villopoto. "I knew where he was and I was paying attention to who was out front. I just kept doing the lap times I was doing. I wasn’t trying to ride over my head and I wasn’t getting discouraged, I knew I had a good pace and I saw that I was catching him pretty quick."
"Nobody likes to come from the back but that’s what I had to do today," said Villopoto. "We are going to work on our starts. I don’t think I come from the back all the time, but when I have too I can. I’m just hoping for some better starts to come."
"Today was a lot different than the regular Thursday riding and testing at Glen Helen," said Villopoto. "There are a lot of bumps on Thursday and slower riders, but today there were giant bumps. The bumps were deep, there were a lot of ruts and the track prep was different. During practice it seemed every turn was about 18 inches deep of thick mud, which made it a little one lined."
During the second moto Villopoto worked his way up from 10th at the start to second on the sixth lap. When he moved up to second he was 16 seconds behind the leader. Over the next five laps, Villopoto caught up to and passed the leader to take his second moto win.
With Villopoto’s two moto victories, the Kawasaki KX450F now has won 26 motos straight.
Pourcel found a familiar position after the first moto, the top step of the podium. The French rider rode a smooth and patient race to get the win.
Christophe Pourcel Speaks…
"The first moto was good for me," said Pourcel. "I didn’t get a great start and it was kind of crazy. I was in fourth when the leaders made a mistake, and I got by them. I just rode really smooth until the end of the race."
The rutted conditions combined with an already difficult track made for a long race day at Glen Helen. For Weimer, the tough conditions made it difficult for him to overcome mid-pack starts, but he knows there is still a long season ahead.