SX Race Report
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto led every lap on his way to his sixth win of the season, while Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider Christophe Pourcel waited patiently for his fourth win in six races.
The day didn’t start as planned for Villopoto after a crash left him with an injured toe. He didn’t let the injury affect him, winning his heat and eventually taking the main event win. Pourcel wasn’t without his own excitement, going down while leading for a brief moment in the main, but got up quickly and still took the win.
After one week off the podium, Villopoto found his rhythm once again, winning his heat and main event in dominating fashion. His Kawasaki KX450F shot him out of the gate and put him in position to take over the lead on the first lap. From there, he kept his lap times consistent and won by almost six seconds.
"I really wanted to get a good start and I was able to make the pass right away," said Villopoto. "My bike felt really good tonight and kept pushing the whole race. My team did a great job helping me get the bike set-up perfect for tonight. I just hope I can continue this momentum after the break."
During the first timed qualifying session, Villopoto went down, slightly injuring his toe. It didn’t stop him from stepping up and making the best of the situation.
"I didn’t realize how painful a foot injury actually is," said Villopoto. "I’ve never really had to deal with one before, but I’m going to go get it checked out when I get home and make sure I’m 100 percent for Houston."
Pourcel Wins #4
Pourcel came into Jacksonville with a passion to reclaim the top spot of the podium on his Kawasaki KX250F. With a heat win under his belt, he had a good gate pick for the main. After coming out third off the start, Pourcel waited patiently to make his move around the top-two competitors. On lap six, he got his chance and made it stick for the remaining nine laps.
"I have missed the win the last two races and it feels really good to get back up here again," said Pourcel. "I’m not really thinking about the championship at this point. I just want to come to every race ready to win."
The Kawasaki boys started the night out right with Pourcel taking the win in his heat, while Villopoto jumped out to front early and led to the finish in his respective heat.
"I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel, but I just tried to focus on riding smart and making it to the main," said Villopoto. "It’s nice to get a win for the gate pick. The starts have been really important this year."
Former team member Timmy Ferry stopped by during Saturday’s event to support the team. He made the four-hour trip over from the Tampa Bay area to visit friends in the sport he has been a part of for nearly 20 years.
With their teammates out for Jacksonville, Villopoto and Pourcel stepped up to represent Kawasaki. Villopoto’s teammate Chad Reed is hoping to return in Houston, while Pourcel’s teammate Dean Wilson is still dealing with visa issues back in his home country of Canada.
For Villopoto and the team, the one-time weekend break comes after three straight months of racing. With the championship hunt in full swing, Villopoto will use the break to keep up with his training and testing for the final five races.
"Last year it was hard to get used to all the racing, but this year has been a lot different," said Villopoto. "Now I get to take a nice break and enjoy my house out in Florida."