2012 AMA Supercross
Last year, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto’s success helped create one of the sport’s greatest comebacks of all time.
It all began in 2010; while leading the AMA Supercross Championship that year, Villopto suffered a horrific crash (St. Louis), resulting in a broken tibia/fibula. Not only did he lose that championship, he was unable to walk for nearly five months.
When he returned for the 2011 AMA Supercross/Motocross year, many suspected a struggle for the rider. But the California native made a quick comeback. After six wins, including the season-opener in Anaheim, Villopoto would go onto to take his first-ever AMA Supercross Championship.
Except for his DNQ at Jacksonville due to qualifying crashes, Villopoto was the alpha AMA Supercross rider. But the KX450F didn’t stop there; while battling with rivals Chad Reed (Honda), Ryan Dungey (then-Suzuki) and James Stewart (Yamaha), Villopoto once again showed his strength, winning the AMA Motocross title also.
R2V then dominated the debut Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas last fall, winning all three main events to take the $1 million prize.
And now, after only 13 rounds, Villopoto has clinched the 2012 AMA Supercross Championship following his eighth win of the season in Reliant Stadium, Houston. Again, he won the season opener in Anaheim, and as the season progressed, many of his rivals became injured – first Reed, then Dungey and Stewart.
With his title, Villopoto enters the series’ history books as the first rider to clinch a title this early in the season (four rounds remaining).
Villopoto is unstoppable, a trait he began displaying since joining the AMA Supercross class in 2009. In all, he has won 23 of 46 races (heading into New Orleans). Overall, this is Villopoto’s seventh professional championship and he has already set his sights on a second consecutive AMA Motocross 450cc class championship.
At the championship-clinching round in Houston, Villopoto got a great start, and went on to wire-to-wire victory.
Ryan Villopoto (Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450F) says: “It’s awesome to get the championship out of the way and takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders. I definitely felt more prepared coming into this season. I came in healthier than last season, since I was coming off an injury last year, and had more seat time on my Kawasaki.
“Last year we battled until the final race for the title while this season was more like survival and I was the last man standing, but that’s our sport. You have to be able to ride fast and smart. This season I was able to wrap it up earlier than it has ever been done before which is really cool. Since we have next weekend off I’m going to head down to Miami to relax a little before New Orleans.”
Dan Fahie (Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Manager) says: “It was outstanding to earn the supercross title this early. Ryan did such a great job riding this season and the team has been working hard to support him. It was a stacked deck at the start of the season and for Ryan to accomplish this feat this early in the season truly is an impressive accomplishment. We still want to see Jake finish the supercross season strong, but are also going to get an early start on outdoors as well.”
The series now takes a two-week break before heading to New Orleans for Round 14 of 17.