Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto has been the man to beat for a year and a half. He’s won two Supercross championships, one outdoor title, helped Team USA retain the Chamberlain Cup at the Motocross of Nations, swept the Monster Energy Cup, and won countless races. Simply put, he’s had a great run. But as is often the case in motocross he was struck down with an injury.
Following a horrible start in the Seattle main event two weeks ago, RV found himself doing all he could to catch up to the leaders. While entering a turn, Villopoto lost the front end, tore his ACL, and immediately found himself out for the remainder of the year unable to defend his outdoor title. While we were out shooting photos at Todd Potter’s FMX compound, Villopoto showed up to check things out. Fresh off his recent surgery—five days to be exact—we decided to find out how things have been going for the Washington state native.
You’re fresh off of knee surgery from your crash in Seattle, but what exactly happened in Seattle?
First thing is that I didn’t get the best of starts and was making moves pretty quick. I just came into the second turn before the second triple, Davi [Millsaps] got on the brakes a little harder than I thought he was going to, and I had to get on the brakes pretty hard. I just washed the front end out, and basically just popped my knee out right then and there. That was the end of the night.
Did you know you had done something bad to your knee right away?
I mean, I knew exactly what had happened, but I didn’t know the full extent of what happened to my knee until I had an MRI. But yeah, I pretty much figured what had happened.
What was going through your head when it went down?
It’s part of the sport and that’s just how it goes sometimes. Basically, if I hadn’t had the start that I did, the outcome would have probably been different. It’s just part of what happens sometimes. It’s a big deal for sure for my team, everybody involved, and me but what are you going to do?
What’s the prognosis on your knee right now?
Basically, I just tore the ACL. They ended up putting a new one in and it’s about five days after surgery right now. Everything is moving really quickly now—quicker than it did before—so things are going good.
Is there any chance that we’ll see you at any Nationals before the season ends?
I don’t think so—not unless something changes. But when it comes down to an actual ligament and how long it takes for a ligament to be completely healed, it’s still like three or four months no matter how good you might think you feel.
You’re a free agent at the end of this year. What are your thoughts on getting hurt before the end of the year with no contract signed yet?
I don’t think it hurts me. I’m worth what I’m worth, I think. Right now, I’m really happy with the team and what we have going on. My contract is up, but like I said, that doesn’t mean that I’m leaving. I’m really happy with where I’m at right now, so we’re just trying to finalize the deal.
You’re more or less going to be watching the Nationals from the sidelines, what are your thoughts on the up-coming series?
From my standpoint, it sucks for sure, but it’s part of it and it’s easier to watch now because I have two Supercross championships and one outdoor championship. When I got hurt in 2010 [Villopoto broke his leg], I had nothing. I really wasn’t proven at all. Yeah, I had won races, but I still wasn’t proven yet. Now that I’ve gotten two Supercross championships and one outdoor title, I wouldn’t say that I’m okay with sitting out, but it just sits better with me now knowing that I have already won those championships.
Were you having more fun over the past year and a half than you have ever had? You were winning everything…
The last year and a half I have been pretty much unbeatable. To have a year and a half like that, winning races and championships, is hard to beat. But I’ll come back and be as strong as I was, if not stronger.