(February 21, 2011) By Ashley Little, Kawasaki USA – Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto made the most of difficult conditions, coming from last to finish seventh despite a deteriorating track from a rain-filled day at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. His impressive ride helped him maintain his points lead, now ahead by three. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders also conquered the tough track with Tyla Rattray and Broc Tickle finishing on the podium in second and third, respectively. Teammate Josh Hansen retained his points lead going into the seven-week AMA Supercross Lites Western Region break after finishing sixth. Interim rider Fabien Izoird finished 13th in the supercross class.
The conditions and circumstances in San Diego did not go his way, but Villopoto pulled together a huge come-from-behind ride. On the first lap, he collided with a pack of riders, damaging his bike. He was forced to pull into the mechanic's area to remove a dangling rear fender. He was over a half a lap down in 20th, but steadily picked off riders in his path and finished the night in seventh.
"I didn't get a good start and I ended up getting hit from both sides on the first lap," said Villopoto. "I came in since my rear fender was hanging and went out in 20th. I did what I could to make up time and just put in solid lap after lap. I knew I wanted to push as hard as I could to make up as many points as possible."
After a one-race hiatus from racing due to a back injury, Rattray found his way back to the podium for the second time this season. He put in solid rides both in his heat and the main event, and now will use the break to try and build momentum towards a Supercross Lites win.
"I'm glad to be back healthy and on the podium," said Rattray. "I just hope that I can stay healthy over the break and come back strong in Seattle. I've already got a third place and second place, now I just need to get that win. I've seen the racing from Seattle and I think I can do well there."
Tickle has been attempting to go after his first title and closed the gap once again on his teammate Hansen. His steady performance in San Diego put him only three points out with three races to go.
"I definitely want to win, but my main focus is to do what I can to go after the championship," said Tickle. "I'll be staying focused during our break and hopefully I can get another win before the season is over."
Hansen had to use the one-week break to let his broken hand heal up as much as possible before the race in San Diego. Despite being off the bike for almost two weeks, Hansen transferred straight to the main and finished the night, salvaging sixth place.
"My hand wasn't feeling that great and the rain didn't exactly help me at all," said Hansen. "I had to hold on a little bit harder than normal because of the rain, but I'm glad to go into the break with the points lead."
Facing his first rain race of the season, Izoird came back from a tough race in Houston to finish 13th in San Diego. He qualified straight to the main, got a good start, and rode a steady race in the harsh conditions.
All day, the racing was constantly threatened by rain on the radar that lurked over the San Diego area. With showers coming in and out of the area, the racing became slippery and technical.
"During the first half of my heat race, the track was actually pretty good, but then the rain came and it became a skating rink," said Villopoto. "Rain really keeps you on your toes and I'm really glad I made it out of here so we can go back east to the domes."
The next race of the Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM Championship will bring back the AMA Supercross Lites Eastern Region riders for the next seven weeks. Dean Wilson and Blake Baggett already kicked off their season on the podium last weekend in Houston and are now looking to continue a streak on the podium and bring home a championship of their own.
The supercross points leader Villopoto is looking forward to going back east and getting inside the domes.
“I am pretty excited to go back east and get to the stadiums that are inside,’ said Villopoto. “Other than Jacksonville and Daytona, we don’t have to worry about the weather inside the stadium. I have always like the dirt in Atlanta and I’m really looking forward to going there.”
AMA Supercross Series
Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego, Calif.
February 19, 2011
AMA Supercross Class Results
1. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Honda
2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki
3. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
4. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda
5. Davi Millsaps, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha
6. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM
7. RYAN VILLOPOTO, POUSLBO, WASH., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI
8. Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki
9. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., KTM
10. Justin Brayton, Cornelius, N.C., Yamaha
AMA Supercross Lites Results, Western Region
1. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda
2. TYLA RATTRAY, WILDOMAR, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
3. BROC TICKLE, HOLLY, MICH., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
4. Cole Seely, Corona, Calif., Honda
5. James Decotis, Peabody, Mass., Honda
6. JOSH HANSEN, ELBERT, COLO., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
7. Ken Roczen, Germany, KTM
8. BEN EVANS, GARDEN CITY, IDAHO, KAWASAKI
9. Ryan Morais, Murrieta, Calif., Suzuki
10. Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha
AMA Supercross Class Point Standings
1. RYAN VILLOPOTO, POUSLBO, WASH., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 146
2. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha, 143
3. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda, 130
4. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Honda, 130
5. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 123
6. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM, 95
7. Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki, 93
8. Davi Millsaps, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha, 78
9. Justin Brayton, Cornelius, N.C., Yamaha, 76
10. IVAN TEDESCO, MURIETTA, CALIF., KAWASAKI, 66
AMA Supercross Lites Results, Western Region Point Standings
1. JOSH HANSEN, ELBERT, COLO., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 128
2. BROC TICKLE, HOLLY, MICH., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 125
3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Honda, 116
4. Ryan Morais, Murrieta, Calif., Suzuki, 96
5. Cole Seely, Corona, Calif., Honda, 88
6. Ken Roczen, Germany, KTM, 83
7. TYLA RATTRAY, WILDOMAR, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 80
8. Kyle Cunningham, Aledo, Texas, Yamaha, 71
9. Martin Davalos, Cairo, Ga., Suzuki, 69
10. James Decotis, Peabody, Mass., Honda, 67