Kawasakis Villopoto Wins San Francisco Slugfest
February 3, 2010
Villopoto returned to the top step of the podium Saturday night with his first win of 2010.
Kawasaki's Jake Weimer earned his fourth straight supercross lites podium with a runner-up finish.
Villopoto had been looking for a breakout race and San Francisco showed the 21-year-old was ready to battle for the title. After moving into second, Villopoto started to cut the gap to first. When the leader went down, Villopoto was able to take control of the race.
"I went into the main with a good gate pick," said Villopoto. "I didn't get the start that I wanted, but I got up to third pretty quickly. (Josh) Hill and I went back and forth for a little bit. I was able to get around him and out of the corner of my eye I saw (Ryan) Dungey go down and I thought, ‘it is on now.' I took the lead and I made up some points this weekend."
Wey got a great jump off the gate coming out of the first turn in third place and held steady for most of the race as he continued to get acquainted to his new factory Kawasaki KX450F.
"This is probably one of my best races in the last couple of years," said Wey. "The bike was great, I just need more time on it so I know how it is going to react on the softer dirt.
The race didn't go exactly how I wanted but I got a good start. I rode a little tight and I was nervous. I'll get over that for the next race and it should be good."
After winning his fourth straight heat race, Weimer looked poised to sweep the evening program again.
After getting through the first turn in fourth, he quickly moved up to second. He started to slowly trim the gap to the leader when a small mistake at the finish line forced him to ride for second place.
"All things considered, I'm happy," said Weimer. "I struggled a little bit today with the dirt and the track. I made a little mistake in the main event and landed on a tuff block. The contact with the tuff block bent my shifter, but it didn't slow me down too much. The layout was super easy and it was tough to make up time.
It wasn't a horrible night and I salvaged points and I'm still motivated to win. We'll learn from some things tonight and move forward."
Hansen looked to get his third holeshot in as many weeks when he wasn't able to slow down enough for the slippery first corner and he went off track. Though he wasn't able to rejoin the race until after every one had gone by, he steadily moved up through the field and finished inside the top 10.
"I came up to seventh from last," said Hansen. "I went into the first turn a little hot and went off the slippery track. It's just little things that are holding me back. I feel like I can be on the podium, but it just hasn't gone my way yet. I felt like I rode with some heart tonight. I didn't want to give up, because in the past I have. I'm excited to be a part of this team. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's a winning program and I know I belong here."
Villopoto came into San Francisco looking to be more aggressive out on the track and the Washington native wasn't afraid to battle for position. For two laps, RV2 and Hill battled for second place with Villopoto finally making the move stick just before the finish line.
"Hill and I battled back and forth," said Villopoto. "He ran me high after the finish line and I got into the tuff blocks a little bit. It wasn't too bad. It was all racing. I didn't know if Dungey was going to be able to get back or not. I pushed to build a gap so I could get the win. The track was tough, and you had to be smooth and perfect. It was slippery and rutty."
Wey only had three days of practice on the Monster Energy Kawasaki before Saturday's race and the Michigan native is still getting used to the powerful bike.
"It's going to take some time to get used to this new bike," said Wey. "I know we can get better results. You can ride it all day on the practice track, but there are small differences in the race that I need to get used to."