HOUSTON — Following a weekend off, Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship, will be back in action Saturday at Reliant Stadium for the 13th stop on the schedule.
At the championship’s lone international stop in Toronto two weeks ago, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto captured his seventh win of the season to extend his current winning streak to four races and pull to a double-digit advantage in the 450SX Class standings.
Villopoto’s path to victory in Toronto wasn’t easy, as the reigning back-to-back champion needed to overcome strong efforts from both Davi Millsaps, his closest championship rival, and veteran Chad Reed. Villopoto was able to make a pass for the lead just past the halfway mark of the Main Event and pulled away for his fifth win in the last six races and his sixth consecutive podium result. Houston was the sight of Villopoto’s historic championship-winning ride one year ago in which he not only grabbed the victory, but also clinched the 450SX Class title earlier than any rider in history. While he will not be able to wrap up the title this weekend, Villopoto can still add to his 12-point lead in the standings.
“We’re in a good spot heading into Houston,” said Villopoto. “After the Easter weekend break, I’m excited to get back to racing. It was refreshing to have a weekend off, but now it’s back to business. There are still lots of races left, so we need to stay focused and take it race by race.”
Rockstar Energy Racing’s Millsaps continued his resurgence in Toronto, leading the majority of the Main Event. Following a three-race drought from the podium during which he lost possession of the championship lead, Millsaps claimed his best finish in five races with a runner-up effort behind Villopoto. Millsaps minimized the points lost in the title fight and now enters Houston with a 12-point deficit and some momentum on his side. He finished second to Villopoto inside Reliant Stadium one year ago.
“It was definitely good to get a solid weekend under my belt, it’s been about six weeks for me,” said Millsaps. “I had a weekend off, so I’ve had a lot of time to practice and get back to where I was. Toronto was a great race for sure and (Ryan) Villopoto rode awesome. I just made a few mistakes here and there and he capitalized on it. He was obviously going faster than me. All in all from the past couple weekends to this weekend, I’m going in the right direction. It’s crazy how three days of riding a bike helps so much.”
Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey is keeping himself in the battle for the championship with consistency. The KTM rider has posted three consecutive podium finishes and has finished on the box in seven of the last nine races. In Toronto, Dungey had to overcome stalling his bike halfway through the race in order to finish on the podium in third. While he currently faces a 22-point deficit to Villopoto in the standings, Dungey is still doing what he needs to do in order to give himself a chance in Las Vegas.
Chad Reed will miss Saturday’s race, having undergone knee surgery following the Toronto event.