Kawasaki’s Villopoto Wins 450 Class Motocross Debut

May 28, 2009

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto started off the 2009 AMA Motocross Championship just as he finished the 2009 supercross season, on the top step of the podium.

Villopoto went 1-1 in his motocross 450 class debut making it 26 straight moto wins for the Kawasaki KX450F. In the 250 class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Christophe Pourcel won the first moto and finished seventh in the second while his teammate, 2008 MX2 World Champion, Tyla Rattray went 5-2 in his first race on American soil. Jake Weimer went 6-9 and Austin Stroupe finished 13-5. Timmy Ferry started the first moto in the 450 class but was unable to finish as he continues to recover from a broken heel he sustained in March.

Villopoto joined elite company as he went 1-1 in his first motocross race in the 450 class. After winning the last three 250 class championships, he became only the second rider to then sweep both motos at Glen Helen in his 450 class debut. Ricky Carmichael also achieved the feat on a Kawasaki in 2000. It wasn’t easy for Villopoto who had to fight his way to the front during the 30 minute plus two lap motos.

During the second moto Villopoto worked his way up from 10th at the start to second on the sixth lap. When he moved up to second he was 16 seconds behind the leader. Over the next five laps, Villopoto caught up to and passed the leader to take his second moto win.

Rattray’s first race in America was a good one as he finished fifth in the first moto and followed that up with a runner-up finish in the second moto. Rattray came across the holeshot line in fourth during Moto 2 and then rode a patient race to slowly move up to second. Glen Helen not only marked Rattray’s first race in the United States, but also his first race on the Kawasaki KX250F.

Pourcel found a familiar position after the first moto, the top step of the podium. The French rider rode a smooth and patient race to get the win.

The rutted conditions combined with an already difficult track made for a long race day at Glen Helen. For Weimer, the tough conditions made it difficult for him to overcome mid-pack starts, but he knows there is still a long season ahead.

Ferry came to the race still recovering from a broken heel and rode the first moto. After the moto Timmy and the team decided it would be best to concentrate on his recovery.

Quote Villopoto: “It’s tough coming up through the pack. In the first moto it wasn’t too bad, but in the second moto I was back in tenth at the start so I had to work hard. I have to say this is one of the toughest tracks I have ridden at a national. It was really rough and it was good. I liked the track. It really separated the riders. My bike was good and I could ride a good pace.

Quote Rattray: “I really enjoyed the race today especially the second moto. In the first moto I got a little arm pump so I just rode as best I could and I’m happy to get third overall. The second moto was a lot easier to pass. The track was rougher and there were more lines to choose from. The first moto it was more difficult to get by guys, but I think everyone did a great job. The track was awesome. I’m also really enjoying riding the Kawasaki. It is a great handling bike and we have great engines. Put the bike with the team and it is even better. Everyone at the team works really hard. I’ve got a good team behind me.”

Quote Pourcel:“The first moto was good for me. I didn’t get a great start and it was kind of crazy. I was in fourth when the leaders made a mistake, and I got by them. I just rode really smooth until the end of the race.”

Quote Weimer: “It was tough. I just struggled with the starts. It was tough to pass because everybody is so fast here. Having to restart the first moto after the red flag was kind of a bummer. That was my best start of the day and we had to redo it. The track was rough and I didn’t get the results I wanted.”

Quote Ferry: “I’ve only been riding for about a week,” said Ferry. “I’m not at 100 percent yet and I kept going as long as I could. I’m going to get back out this week and ride some more and get ready for Hangtown.”