Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto made American Motocross fans proud this weekend at round two of the 2015 FIM Motocross World Championship in Thailand.
Under scorching conditions, the 26-year-old KX450F pilot dominated MXGP qualifying, and followed this up with a win in race one, and a third in race two. His performance gave him the overall win – the first for an American since 2009.
The last time an American flag was raised on the podium of an FIM Motocross World Championship race was during the 2009 Turkey Grand Prix in Istanbul. That year, Zach Osborne took the overall win for Yamaha in the MX2 class.
Due to the heat in Nakhonchaisri, event management had reduced both MXGP races by five minutes. Villopoto was able to battle through these conditions, vastly improving on his overall of seventh place at last weekend’s season opener in Qatar.
Villopoto, who won the past four Monster Energy AMA Supercross titles aboard Kawasaki machinery, was joined on the overall podium by Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP’s Clement Desalle and eight-time FIM Motocross World Champion Antonio Cairoli aboard the Red Bull KTM SX-F450.
Desalle was consistent, and finished second in both races – just as he did at Qatar. Due to his performances, he was awarded the red plate, and after two of 18 rounds he is the points leader. The Frenchman 88 points, nine ahead of Cairoli.
As for the reigning MXGP Champion (called MX1 last season), Cairoli finished fifth in race one, but was untouchable in race two. During the second race, Cairoli earned the Fox Holeshot and pulled away for his first win of the season. At Qatar, Cairoli finished 3-4 for a fourth overall – not typical results for the Italian.
Following Thailand MXGP, Cairoli says “I cannot complain, I am getting better every weekend and I know that right now I am not in the best form, but I know that when I am, I can be up front so I am just looking forward to the next race.”
Fourth overall after 3-4 finishes was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Romain Febvre, who finished last year’s MX2 Championship in third. The Frenchman was followed by Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MXGP’s Kevin Strijbos, who battled with a wrist injury.
Sixth went to Team HRC’s Gautier Paulin, and seventh to the man who doubled at Qatar – Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Max Nagl.
Speaking of Nagl, MXGP says “it was a little bit unfortunate for the German who carried the red plate into this round, but looking at the bigger picture, some points are better than no points. Just ask the likes of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing duo Tommy Searle and Ken De Dycker who both crashed and DNF’d both races.”
The 2015 MXGP Championship now breaks for three weeks before heading to Patagonia Argentina March 29.
2015 Thailand MXGP Results, Race 1 Top 10: 1. Ryan Villopoto (USA, Kawasaki), 34:09.149; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:10.536; 3. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:23.931; 4. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:28.213; 5. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:34.893; 6. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:40.874; 7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:49.471; 8. Tyla Rattray (RSA, Kawasaki), +1:08.958; 9. Todd Waters (AUS, Husqvarna), +1:20.819; 10. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +1:40.905
2015 Thailand MXGP Results, Race 2 Top 10: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 29:10.216; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, Suzuki), +0:09.756; 3. Ryan Villopoto (USA, Kawasaki), +0:22.788; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:51.327; 5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:59.278; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +1:03.006; 7. Todd Waters (AUS, Husqvarna), +1:05.485; 8. Tyla Rattray (RSA, Kawasaki), +1:16.036; 9. Dean Ferris (AUS, Husqvarna), +1:18.208; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, Yamaha), +1:19.321
2015 Thailand MXGP Results, Overall: 1. Ryan Villopoto (USA, KAW), 45 points; 2. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 44 p.; 3. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 41 p.; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 38 p.; 5. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 31 p.; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 29 p.; 7. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 28 p.; 8. Todd Waters (AUS, HUS), 26 p.; 9. Tyla Rattray (RSA, KAW), 26 p.; 10. David Philippaerts (ITA, YAM), 20 p.
2015 MXGP Championship Point Standings: 1. Clement Desalle (BEL, SUZ), 88 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 79 p.; 3. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 78 p.; 4. Ryan Villopoto (USA, KAW), 70 p.; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 67 p.; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HON), 67 p.; 7. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, SUZ), 55 p.; 8. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 45 p.; 9. Todd Waters (AUS, HUS), 40 p.; 10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 38 p.
2015 MXGP Manufacturer Points: 1. Suzuki, 88 points; 2. Husqvarna, 82 p.; 3. KTM, 79 p.; 4. Kawasaki, 70 p.; 5. Yamaha, 70 p.; 6. Honda, 67 p.; 7. TM, 28 p.