Due to ongoing issues with his tailbone, which he fractured during a crash at round four of the 2015 FIM Motocross World Championship in Italy, Ryan Villopoto has announced his farewell to motorcycle racing.The 26-year-old Californian – who won four-straight AMA Supercross titles aboard Kawasaki KX450F machinery – announced his retirement in a letter released to the media. Following is the official letter from Ryan Villopoto:
It is with gratitude, humility, a bit of sadness but without regret, that I announce my retirement from motorcycle racing today.As many of you know, I experienced a pretty horrendous crash back in April that left me with multiple fractures in my tailbone along with soft tissue damage. My initial thought was that I could be back riding in a few weeks if I just stayed quiet for a while. That has not proven to be the case. Follow-up X-Rays have made clear that I also suffered severe compression of multiple disks in my lower back. I am still in significant discomfort and I realize that even if I start my fitness program and training now that I been cleared by my physician, I will not be able, prior to the end of the MXGP season, to achieve the fitness necessary for me to compete at the level I have always striven for.I am grateful for having had the opportunity to do something I have loved since I was a kid and turn it into my livelihood. I am grateful for the support of my family for all the years they spent hauling my bikes and me around to races, interrupting their lives in the process.I am grateful for the support of my many sponsors through the years. What people don’t often think about, when it comes to individual “action” sports like motocross, is that we rely on sponsors to compete. In motocross, the sponsors aren’t just a name on your jersey – they are part of your racing team. If they are good, they are sponsors in the truest sense of the word. They are involved in building the best bike, putting together the best team, supporting your training, and so much more. So, with that in mind, first and foremost I want to thank Kawasaki, which has been my bike of choice since my Team Green days. They have been with me through ups and downs, serious injuries and great successes. They’ve always cared about me and I’ve been successful in large part because of it. THOR/Parts Unlimited and Monster Energy Company have been with me through it all as well. Thanks also to DC, GoPro, Oakley, Alpinestars, Atlas and Mobius Braces. Each of you has been an integral part of making this an amazing career.I want to thank my long-time agent, my friend, Bobby Nichols, and his agency The Sports Syndicate, for the strong guidance and support they have offered my entire career.But most of all, I’m writing this retirement note to my fans. I am grateful for the hundreds of thousands of fans, not only in the U.S., but throughout the world. It is amazing to know that you have cared so much and been so supportive along the way.That gets me to the sadness about making this decision now. I was so stoked to make the decision to be a part of MXGP racing. It has always been important to me to ride my best and to be in the best possible position to give my best, in part because of wanting to give back to you, the fans. I am sad that this year did not work out the way I had hoped in that regard. I wanted to be at my best, to compete with these riders who are among the very best in the world and leave it all out on the track as each of them does every race. The sadness is that I only got to do that for a few races.I am grateful to have had the chance to race with the very best in world, my competitors in Supercross and Motocross in the States as well as those who make the MXGP what it is. I am grateful to know that our competitiveness helped to continue the growth of our sport.I leave with no regrets. I have been blessed to experience so much of life through my racing. I have never wanted to disappoint my fans nor my supporters and my hope is that for the most part I have lived up to that.Again, thanks to each and every one of you who have been a part of my team.Sincerely,Ryan VillopotoAbout Ryan Villopoto (courtesy of Kawasaki):Villopoto’s first national title came on a KX125 at the AMA Amateur National Championships at Loretta Lynn’s in 2005. After turning pro, he went on to sweep three consecutive AMA Motocross championships from 2006-2008 in the 250 class while also claiming the 2007 250SX AMA Supercross West Regional championship. Villopoto is one of only four riders to ever win three consecutive 250 class titles. Once he moved up to the KX™450F, Villopoto won four straight Monster Energy AMA Supercross titles from 2011-2014 while also claiming two AMA Pro Motocross titles (2011, 2013.) Villopoto’s nine professional AMA national championships places him second in the record books behind only Ricky Carmichael.
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!