Post Race: Ryan Villopoto A1
The race, the track, his near crash
Post Race: Ryan Villopoto and Anaheim 1
Photos and interview: Scott Hoffman
Last year was an epic season and Ryan Villopoto emerged the victor despite some bad luck, yet that luck also swung his way as well, which helped secure his first premier title and Monster Energy AMA Supercross and FIM World Supercross Champion of 2011. RV kicked off 2012 just like he left 2011—a winner. He almost made it look easy. We can honestly say his night was rock solid whereas his rivals Chad Reed, James Stewart, and Ryan Dungey touched the ground or had some issues at least once during the main. So it’s safe to say the top dogs were not able to challenge the champ in a fair fight . . . yet. And I imagine that it’s not going to be that easy as the series leaves So Cal for Phoenix, Arizona, and then 15 more rounds after that. We got a few words with the champ right after he nabbed the trophy for the well-deserved victory.
“I rode good. This one felt a lot easier than last year so I’m excited with it and I’m excited to see what’s to come.”
Motocross.com: You don’t seem too surprised with the win?
Ryan Villopoto: It feels good. I felt like this one was a lot easier than last year. Not to say that it was easy, but I felt a lot better in these 20 laps in a race than I have in a long time, or ever I should say, so I’m excited to see what’s to come.
Seems like you got out front and pretty much rode your own race and didn’t seem worried about the guys behind you.
No, you can’t be worried about the guys behind you. Once I got the holeshot I tried to put in smooth, clean laps and pull away and that’s all I could do.
You had no idea that James and Chad went down and Dungey had a little off-track excursion? A lot of stuff was going on behind you and you were just cruising in for the win.
No, I rode smooth and flawless. I felt good other than that one big mistake on the triple on where I almost went down. I’m just looking forward to Phoenix.
What’s it like to get this particular race out of the way and win it?
Anaheim 1 is probably one of the hardest races to win. There’s a lot of hype around it, a lot of pressure to see where you’re at and where everyone is at. I’m glad it’s out of the way. I feel good with where we’re at. Believe me, they aren’t all going to be that easy, not that that was easy but I feel like I’m in a very good position.
When you’re out in front like that what do you do to maintain your pace?
Just keep pushing really. Lap time was long tonight. It’s not normally that long. Lap times were 1:00, 1:01 and those are long lap times. Just stay focused, there was a lot of moisture coming up through the track. It was rutty in practice and when we did the hot lap you could see the dirt was shiny. It was really slippery so you just had to stay on your toes and maybe ride some of the outsides.
What did you think of the track?
I liked the track in terms of safety. It was safe but I think they can still make it safe but maybe make some longer straightaways. There was a lot of turning. To race a 450 on a track like this is really hard. Because of the weight and the power, you’re always switching directions so it’s pretty hard to race a 450, it’s pretty tiring. The track is tight and just switching the weight going from right to left and then the power just all of a sudden exploding it just makes it hard. It’s not a 250F.
The starts are important, talk us through the start.
I lined up next to the box and there was a little bit of a hole out in front of my gate but I felt like the space in between the box that it gives you on the right was better for me than to line up in another gate. I just tried to leave the gate without a wheelie because the dirt was really tacky and I was able to do that. I had a little bit of a problem in the heat race with my clutch. We just made a little adjustment with the screw behind the lever to bring it out from the bar just a little bit and give me a little more swing on the lever.
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