Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto Commands Fifth Win of the Season in St. Louis

March 5, 2012

Irvine, Calif. (March 5, 2012) – In front of a record-breaking crowd inside the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo., Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto scored his fifth win of the season at Round 9 of Monster Energy AMA Supercross. Villopoto’s teammate Jake Weimer got a mid-pack start and finished the night in seventh place. Although Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Broc Tickle got a slow start, he managed to advance to 11th before the checkers. In the supercross lites main event, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Darryn Durham and Blake Baggett finished fourth and ninth, respectively.

Putting Power to the Ground
Villopoto seemed unstoppable in St. Louis aboard his KX™450F. In practice he consistently threw down fast lap times and was the fastest qualifier. As the night progressed, he continued his winning ways, taking the heat race win and in the process set the fastest lap time of the night at 50.207 seconds. In the main, Villopoto got a great start and came around the first turn in third. By the third lap, Villopoto had taken command of the lead and never looked back. He gapped the field and took the checkered flag to earn his fifth win of the season. Villopoto currently sits atop of the leaderboard with a 13-point lead.

“That was my first win in St. Louis and it felt great,” said Villopoto. “I haven’t had the best luck here in the past so tonight really meant a lot to me. I got good starts all night and found good lines on the track. The track started falling apart halfway through the main event. A lot of concrete was showing on the track after lap 10 so I started taking different lines, slowed down, and played it safe. I’m looking forward to Daytona, it’s always been good to me. I’ve won there the last two years so hopefully I can make it a three-peat.”

Making Moves
After powering his KX™250F to a second-place finish in the heat race, Durham was feeling confident going into the main event. He got off to a slow start in the main and rounded the first turn in eighth. Undeterred, he started picking off riders, resulting in Durham finishing the night in fourth place. Durham currently sits third in the points standings.

“The track was good tonight,” said Durham.” I was feeling the track all day during qualifying and the heat race, but in the main I had a bad reaction time and got a slow jump off the gate. I was able to find a few places to pass and pushed up to fourth before the finish. I am going to do a little riding outdoors this week to prep for Daytona. It’s more like an outdoor race, you have to be able to handle the bumps and hit the jumps. I really love my Kawasaki, I just need to twist that throttle a little faster off the line next week.”

Off the Gate
On a tight and technical track like St. Louis, starts are especially crucial. In the heat race, Weimer got a good start and was able to advance to third before the finish. After the gate dropped in the main, Weimer was funneled into eighth going around the first turn and found himself fighting for position. He tried to find a rhythm on the deteriorating track, but ran out of laps and finished seventh. Weimer currently sits sixth in the points standings.

“I’m pretty frustrated with tonight’s result,” said Weimer. “I got a bad start in the main and ended up riding around by myself most of the race. I need to take what I’ve been doing in practice and find a better way to show it on the track. I know I have the speed to be up there on the podium, I just need to put it together. I’m looking forward to Daytona. I’ve never raced there, but it should be fun.”

Looking Forward
Baggett was working hard all night to find a consistent rhythm on the tight, technical track. He got off to a good start in his heat race, crossing the finish just behind his teammate Durham to take third. In the main event, Baggett was pinched off going around the first turn and found himself in 12th place, in the middle of a congested pack. He managed to work his way past a few riders to finish the night in ninth place and now sits seventh in the points.

“I really attacked in practice, trying to connect all my lines,” said Baggett. “But l just wasn’t able to get the track totally dialed-in by the main event. I just couldn’t find a consistent rhythm which really hurt my result. I’m just going to put this behind me and am looking forward to Daytona. I need to pick things back up and I know the track out there suits my style more, it has more of an outdoor feel. The layout in Daytona is always different too so you never know what to expect. You just have to go out there and hang it out.”

Back to the Basics
Tickle has yet to find a consistent rhythm since moving up to the supercross class. He started off the night by transferring to the supercross class main event after finishing fifth in his heat race. In the main, Tickle got caught in the pack going around the first corner and was pushed back to 14th place. He tried to loosen up of the tight track and was able to move into 11th by the finish.

“I was feeling really tight all night,” said Tickle. “I need to figure out why I’m feeling so tight every weekend. Once I can pull through that I can loosen up, get the pep back in my step, and ride like I know how. I know I can finish in the top-five if I can just have to put all the key ingredients together on race day. I am going to practice some motocross this week and just try to loosen up and have fun on the bike. That’s the whole reason I started racing in the first place.”

New Player on the Field
After clinching the 2012 AMA Arenacross championship last weekend, Babbitt’s Monster Energy Amsoil Kawasaki’s Bowers decided to take it to the big show. He got his championship KX250F ready to race the Supercross Lites class and headed to St. Louis with high expectations. In the lites heat race, Bowers rode in ninth most of the race, but allowed someone to slip past on the final turn and was forced to the LCQ. In the LCQ, Bowers put together a solid ride, making a late race pass to finish in second and advance to the main event. When the gate dropped in the main, Bowers got squeezed out in the first turn and ended up in 18th place. He started charging forward and immediately began picking off riders. By the fifth lap he had already moved into 15th place, but a crash on the same lap would take him out of the race. Bowers finished the night in 20th place.

“We got off to a rough start this weekend,” said Bowers. “Even though the weekend didn’t turn out how I wanted, it’s still great to be part of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross. I heard a lot of the other racers saying the track was tight, but for me it has a lot of space compared to the arenacross tracks I’m used to riding. I will be racing the rest of the Supercross Lites Eastern region races and am more determined than ever to earn my first supercross podium.”

Fresh Paint
When Villopoto arrived at St. Louis, he picked up his new race helmet from Thor with a fresh custom paint job. The impressive art work on the helmet’s shell cost well over a thousand dollars, but was worth every penny. The back of the helmet sported a chromed out red and silver number one to match the red number one plate on his KX450F.

Road to Daytona
Next week, the Monster Energy AMA Supercross heads to the famed Daytona Motor Speedway in Florida. Traditionally the track in Daytona has more of a motocross feel so the Monster Energy teams will be mixing up their training routines this week in hopes to get on the podium at the prestigious venue.
Monster Energy AMA Supercross Season
Edward George Dome – St. Louis, Mo.
March 3, 2012

Supercross Class Results

2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Paine, Minn., KTM
3. Justin Brayton, Murrieta, Calif., Honda
4. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda
5. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha

Supercross Class Points Standings

2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 192
3. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Yamaha, 152
4. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Honda, 128
5. Kevin Windham, Centreville, Miss., Honda, 123

Supercross Lites Eastern Region Results
1. Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda
2. Ken Roczen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM
3. Blake Wharton, Beaumont, Texas, Suzuki
5. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Oka., Honda

Supercross Lites Eastern Region Points

1. Justin Barcia, Ochlocknee, Ga., Honda, 75
2. Ken Roczen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 57
4. Blake Wharton, Beaumont, Texas, Suzuki, 56
5. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Oka., Honda, 43