(March 7, 2011) By Ashley Kittl, Kawasaki USA– Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto became the first rider since 2003 to race for back-to-back victories at the Daytona Supercross at Daytona International Speedway. The night led to Villopoto stretching his points lead to 23 over second place in the championship standings. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Blake Baggett rode to his first victory of the season in dominating fashion as he finished an impressive 15 seconds ahead of second place. Teammate Dean Wilson got off to a rough start and finished the night in eighth. Fabien Izoird experienced the Daytona track for the first time and finished 16th.
With long lap times, Villopoto’s game plan from the start was to ride a pace he was comfortable with and try to minimize his mistakes on the technical and long track. The game plan worked and he became the first rider since 2003 to earn two consecutive wins at the historical Daytona Supercross.
“It feels great to win the Daytona Supercross,” said Villopoto. “This track was pretty difficult and it only got more difficult as the track went away later in the race. I tried to be smart and ride a pace that I was good with even before I went into the lead. My team did a great job helping me set-up my Kawasaki KX™450F for this track, since it’s pretty different compared to a normal supercross.”
While Baggett already racked up his first career win in his rookie season, his second win felt almost as satisfying as the first. He made a huge statement as he grabbed the holeshot and quickly gapped the field. Baggett and his Kawasaki KX™250F came across the finish line 15 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
“I am really happy to finally get a win and prove that I am more than a third-place finisher,” said Baggett. “I think this win feels almost as good because last year it was said that I only won because everyone crashed. Now I won by a pretty big gap and I hope people see that I am here to fight for the championship.”
After qualifying with the second-fastest lap time, Wilson was confident with his ability to do well on the tough track. In the main, Wilson got out to a mid-pack start and had a few moments in the opening laps where he lost time. He used the final 13 laps to move through the pack from 18th to finish eighth.
“I am very disappointed with myself because I knew I had the speed to win,” said Wilson. “I can’t dwell on this race and have to keep going after wins. I will be working very hard this week to come out in Indy and do well.”
In his first trip to Daytona, Izoird continued to remain consistent with his heat race and main event finishes. He qualified straight through to the main where he finished 16th. With only four main events raced so far this season, he has put himself in the top-20 in points of an extremely talented class.
“I didn’t know what to expect for this race and it was a lot harder than the other tracks I’ve raced so far,” said Izoird. “I did my best to ride well and put in good laps. My Kawasaki KX450F ran great. I am happy to be going back to the stadium tracks.”
In 16 out of 17 weekends of the Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM Championship, the riders face tracks that have significantly lower lap times than what they saw in Daytona. This year, the riders had to have the endurance to finish a long race. In the supercross lites class, Baggett came across the finish just shy of 20 minutes. The supercross class saw a much longer race as Villopoto came across the finish after nearly 27 minutes of racing.
“It was a long race, but I have been training to make sure I can be up there the entire race whether the race is 20 minutes or 30 minutes,” said Villopoto. “I was never really worried about getting tired. It was just a long time to make sure you didn’t make any mistakes and the track was deteriorating pretty good in some spots.”
Villopoto increased his points lead from 10 to 23 points with his win in Daytona. Although he has a sizeable lead in the championship, Villopoto won’t be relaxing any time soon.
“I can’t stop what I’ve been doing because I want to be able to put myself in a good position once we get down to the last couple of races,” said Villopoto. “It would be nice to go into Las Vegas with a good enough points lead where I can ride comfortably that night. I’ve been taking it all race by race and I’ll keep doing that as we go to Indianapolis.”
While he remained consistent with two third-place finishes, Baggett now has pulled within four points of the leader in the championship standings. His teammate Wilson is just behind and only nine points down from the leader.
“I won’t be happy until I have the points lead,” said Baggett. “That is what I set out to do this year and I am getting closer. The win has definitely given me confidence and I hope to keep going after wins.”
The next race takes the Monster Energy Kawasaki and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki teams to the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. Last year, Villopoto won the race and he hopes that he can have the same fortune in 2011.
“I am looking forward to keeping the streak rolling,” said Villopoto. “I know it’s not going to be easy and I want to keep riding smart.”
AMA Supercross Series
Daytona International Speedway - Daytona Beach, Fla.
March 5, 2011
AMA Supercross Class Results
1. RYAN VILLOPOTO, POUSLBO, WASH., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI
2. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Honda
3. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki
4. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM
5. Davi Millsaps, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha
6. Justin Brayton, Cornelius, N.C., Yamaha
7. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda
8. Ken Roczen, Germany, KTM
9. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha
10. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., KTM
AMA Supercross Lites Results, Eastern Region
1. BLAKE BAGGETT, GRAND TERRACE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
2. Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda
3. Ryan Sipes, Ekron, Ky., Yamaha
4. Blake Wharton, Aubrey, Texas, Honda
5. PJ Larsen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
6. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M. , Suzuki
7. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki
8. DEAN WILSON, MENIFEE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI
9. MATT LEMOINE, COLLINSVILLE, TEXAS, KAWASAKI
10. Les Smith, York, S.C., Honda
AMA Supercross Class Point Standings
1. RYAN VILLOPOTO, POUSLBO, WASH., MONSTER ENERGY KAWASAKI, 196
2. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha, 173
3. Chad Reed, Tampa, Fla., Honda, 172
4. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 165
5. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda, 154
6. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM, 128
7. Brett Metcalfe, Lake Elsinore, Calif., Suzuki, 107
8. Justin Brayton, Cornelius, N.C., Yamaha, 105
9. Davi Millsaps, Carlsbad, Calif., Yamaha, 104
10. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda, 89
AMA Supercross Lites Results, Eastern Region Point Standings
1. Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda, 69
2. BLAKE BAGGETT, GRAND TERRACE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 65
3. DEAN WILSON, MENIFEE, CALIF., MONSTER ENERGY/PRO CIRCUIT/KAWASAKI, 60
4. Ryan Sipes, Ekron, Ky., Yamaha, 54
5. Blake Wharton, Aubrey, Texas, Honda, 51
6. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M. , Suzuki, 41
7. MATT LEMOINE, COLLINSVILLE, TEXAS, KAWASAKI, 35
8. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 34
9. PJ Larsen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 33
10. Lance Vincent, Youngsville, La., Honda, 33