Ryan Villopoto on the Anaheim 1 Supercross
Photos by Ryne Swanberg
Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing’s Ryan Villopoto was at Glen Helen Raceway today, hammering out motos at an unbelievably fast pace. Compared to the speed he showed us a few weeks ago at Milestone, Glen Helen and in the hills, the pace he is currently carrying is mind-boggling. We saw the four-time Supercross Champion cruising the pits at Anaheim 1 last weekend, and we wondered if it was strange for him to be there as a spectator. We caught up with RV after his motos today and asked him to rundown the top five finishers, plus a couple other standouts…
Was it odd being a spectator at Anaheim 1?
You know, I didn’t know how I was going to feel. When I was driving there, I was telling Aldon Baker that I didn’t know how it would affect me, just watching. Obviously, I have watched races before like back in 2010, but at that time I hadn’t won the way I have won now. To be honest, when I got to the stadium and the races started, I didn’t feel any real emotion. I didn’t feel bad about not being out there. And that’s a good thing, because that means I made the right decision. I wasn’t sitting on the edge of my seat thinking, “Man, I want to be out there!”
What were your impressions of the racers?
Well, Anaheim 1 is always different. You can gain some impressions of guys but many times it is not a true indication of how the season will play out. There were obviously some guys who didn’t impress me the way they should have, but like I said, A1 is its own animal. I mean, I’ve won Anaheim 1 twice but I’ve also come away with a fourth and a 15th. You can’t judge people by A1.
What time did you show up?
[Laughs] I didn’t show up until like 2:30. I didn’t do track walk, and I just barely caught the last practice. I just cruised around and tried to stay out of people’s way.
1st – Ken Roczen
Obviously, Kenny looked good. He rode smooth and in control. The race was over five laps in because it looked like no one had any challenge for him. He’s the guy to beat, I guess, as the 450 National Champion and the guy with the most momentum.
2nd – Jason Anderson
I was surprised by Jason Anderson. He rode really well in his first 450 race. All the hype around Anaheim 1 makes some riders ride really bad and makes some guys ride really well. It obviously – the hype – worked in Anderson’s favor.
3rd – Trey Canard
Trey didn’t get the greatest of starts, but he rode well and worked his way through the pack. He was definitely one of the fastest guys, you could tell by the way he worked back towards the front of the pack. He will be one of the guys to watch through the season.
4th – Ryan Dungey
Dunge didn’t look great, but that’s kind of how he rolls. He shows up and just looks okay at the start of the season and builds momentum. He finished fourth. That’s not great, but it’s in the top five and keeps him in the hunt. It isn’t like he crashed out or is faced with any huge points deficit. I finished fourth at Anaheim 1 last year, so he is in contention.
5th – Andrew Short
I think Shorty has one or two rounds last year where he was really fast. I was surprised that he did so well, but he does have his moments. The track was not an easy one to pass on, and he rode just well enough to make it tough for guys to pass him. Plus, he is notoriously one of the harder guys to get around, anyway.
20th – Eli Tomac
To be honest, when I think of Eli, the race he had is what I envision. He will have unbelievable races, but then he will have terrible ones where he cannot stay off the ground. He will win one weekend and then do what he did at A1. I’ve done it, too. I’ve crashed over and over one weekend, and won the next. I know Eli will bounce back and ride really well at some rounds, but I don’t expect him to ride well consistently.
19th – Davi Millsaps
It was not a good weekend for the Monster Energy Kawasaki team with Wil Hahn getting hurt. That’s a huge bummer. But I know that Davi struggled with some little things all day long that held him back. He is in kind of a shot position, really. Coming off the last time he raced on a Suzuki, he won A1, and he just came off the win at the Monster Energy Cup. I think he might have had some pressure to live up to some expectations. I think Davi is a question mark. We’ll have to see how he comes around.
6th – Justin Barcia
It doesn’t look like he is gelling with that Yamaha at all. He didn’t look very good at all, and he seems to struggle with the power.