The Daytona Supercross, which kicked off this year’s annual Bike Week festivities, has long been considered the crowned jewel of the Supercross series due to its unique layout in the middle of the legendary Daytona Speedway. It’s also one of the toughest races on the circuit, with its whooped-out sandy soil and long lap times, which is something that Ryan Villopoto is okay with.
The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider loves the rugged challenge of the Daytona course, which is why he has three Daytona victories to his credit. His latest win this past weekend was arguably one of his most impressive.
Villopoto grabbed the holeshot to start the 20-lap main event, but a small slip midway into the opening lap allowed Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen and Muscle Milk Honda’s Justin Barcia to squeeze by.
Villopoto came back, however, and on lap two he passed Barcia to move into second. Two laps later he passed Roczen to retake the lead, stretching his cushion to as much as nine seconds at one point, before slowing to a five second margin at the finish.
“Daytona is a unique place to race and to win here is pretty awesome,” said Villopoto. “It’s not like any other race, so if you can win here then it shows you are one of the best.”
With the victory, Villopoto took over the series points lead, moving ahead of Davi Millsaps by two points.
Ryan Dungey had one of his strongest performances of the year, working his way from fourth after the start to second at the finish, passing Roczen and Barcia in the process.
“By the time I got into second Villopoto had a pretty good lead,” said Dungey. “I tried to close that gap as much as I could each lap, but Ryan was riding a good race.”
Dungey solidified his third-place status in the points, and sits 12 points behind Millsaps.
Justin Barcia pushed Villopoto during the early going; however, the Muscle Milk Honda rider couldn’t keep up the torrid pace of the Kawasaki rider.
“The two Ryan’s ran a good race and I feel good to be up here with these two guys,” said Barcia. “This track was gnarly. It felt like an outdoor race for me, and I’m happy to be on the podium.”
Eli Tomac took the opportunity to race a 450 while the West Regional 250 series has been on break, and up until Daytona the GEICO Honda rider has been frustrated with his finishes. The Colorado rider turned it all around, however, with an impressive fourth-place finish in the Daytona sand.
“I’ve been struggling a lot with my bike setup and I was seriously thinking about not doing this round,” said Tomac. “I was sick and tired of going out there and getting 10th. But today I felt like I rode the way I should have been riding all along and I’m pleased.”
Chad Reed was one of the fastest riders on the track all day, but the TwoTwo Motorsports Honda rider simply had too many problems. A crash after the start in his heat race left him battling from the rear. And in the main, the Honda rider was running top five when he caught a course marker and bobbled on lap 10. Reed was able to work his way back up to fifth by the end of the race, passing James Stewart on lap 11, and Trey Canard on lap 16, before nearly catching Tomac.
After winning last year’s Daytona Supercross in extremely muddy conditions, James Stewart one of the favorites in this year’s race. However, the Yoshimura Suzuki rider didn’t look aggressive enough in the main event. Stewart crashed on lap four and was pretty much a non-factor after that.
Davi Millsaps suffered from a bad start, which was complicated by a tip-over on lap two. The Rockstar Energy Suzuki rider has missed the podium only three times in 10 races this year, but his 10th place finish this weekend hurt the most and cost him the red number plate. Millsaps now sits second in the standings, two points behind new leader Villopoto.
Marvin Musquin parlayed a great start and a fast getaway into his first-ever AMA Supercross win, leading all 15 laps of the East Regional 250 main event at Daytona. After the race, the Red Bull KTM rider was ecstatic about his victory.
“This was the longest race of my life,” said Musquin. “I really love this track, it’s fun for me to ride, and I think that’s way I did well today.”
GEICO Honda’s Wil Hahn passed Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Dean Wilson on lap 10 to move into second behind Musquin in the 250 main. Wilson tried to block Hahn, but Hahn held his ground and made the move stick. With his second place finish, Hahn extended his points lead in the East Regional 250 standings. With three rounds in the books, Hahn holds a five-point lead over Wilson, 92 points to 97, with Musquin sitting third with 87.
Star Racing Yamaha’s Jeremy Martin rode a very impressive race for a rookie, putting on a late charge to take third, passing Wilson with four laps to go.
JGRMX’s Kyle Chisholm was among the MIA at Daytona, having broken his left leg at St. Louis the week before, the incident that brought out the red flag in the main event at that race. According to team manager Jeremy Albrecht, there was good news in that the break was a clean one and the ankle Kyle also injured was merely sprained and not broken. However, an MRI on Kyle’s knee has yet to be read.
East Regional 250 class points leader Ken Roczen mixed it up with the leaders and even led three laps of the 450 main event while making his only appearance in the 450 class. The Red Bull KTM rider rode a 350 SX-F to a respectable seventh in the main.
1. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)
2. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
3. Justin Barcia (Hon)
4. Eli Tomac (Hon)
5. Chad Reed (Hon)
6. Trey Canard (Hon)
7. Ken Roczen (KTM)
8. James Stewart (Suz)
9. Broc Tickle (Suz)
10. Davi Millsaps (Suz)
1. Marvin Musquin (KTM)
2. Wil Hahn (Hon)
3. Jeremy Martin (Yam)
4. Dean Wilson (Kaw)
5. Blake Wharton (Suz)
6. Justin Hill (Kaw)
7. Kyle Peters (Hon)
8. Zach Freeberg (Hon)
9. Cole Thompson (Hon)
10. Vince Friese (Hon)