Round two of the 2013 Lucas Oil AMA National Motocross Series brought the traveling moto circus to beautiful Thunder Valley Raceway in Lakewood, Colorado, where the power-robbing, energy-sapping altitude challenged the best riders in the world. In the end, Ryan Villopoto and homeboy Eli Tomac prevailed on an unusually rough Lakewood course.
Ryan Villopoto continues his dominate ways and took a strong win on the undulating and picturesque Thunder Valley Raceway circuit, going 1-1 for the second-straight weekend. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider seems to be at his best on the rougher courses, and Thunder Valley was rougher than ever, with huge braking bumps developing in most of the corners.
Villopoto ran in third until the halfway point of the opening moto, at which point he passed holeshot winner Justin Barcia on the Muscle Milk Racing Honda and Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey on subsequent laps. Once in the lead, Villopoto pulled way from the pack, finishing the race with a 10-second margin over Dungey.
In moto two, Villopoto made short work of Honda teammates Barcia and Trey Canard, taking the lead on lap five before pulling away to an impressive win.
“We got a pair of wins today and we’re really going to try to keep it rolling,” said Villopoto. “With the way the racing is this year and the guys that are in the class, just to be up front means you’re riding well.”
Ryan Dungey kept the pressure on Villopoto all day, and most of the first half of moto one in a three-way battle with the Kawasaki rider and Justin Barcia. On lap 10, Dungey took over the lead position after making an inside pass on Barcia, which he held for two more laps before Villopoto was able to get around Dungey to take over the lead.
In the second moto, Dungey passed Mike Alessi and Trey Canard to move into third place. On lap six he was able to make the pass on Barcia to move into second and went on to set the fastest lap at that point of the race. Dungey continued to push and gained time on Villopoto in certain sections throughout the remainder of the race but was unable to close the gap and settled for secondplace. His 2-2 finishes earned him second overall for the day.
“I really like this track but it is definitely getting pretty rutted and challenging. I am glad I got a good start because that is key to my finish in these motos. It’s important to be there from the beginning and not let Villopoto get away,” said Dungey. “The team and I are really happy with the progress we made this week. We know where we need to improve and we are looking forward to the next race. It’s great to be consistent but we need to start getting some race wins.”
Justin Barcia killed it on the starts, grabbing the holeshot in both motos. The Muscle Milk Racing Honda rider went 3-4 for second overall, after leading a total of 10 laps.
“The track was rougher than it’s been in the past, so luckily I got great starts,” said Barcia. “Because of the starts, I was able to run up front with both Ryans and Stewart and I was able to learn a lot, so that was good experience for me to mix it up with those guys.”
After a rough first moto, Stewart came back to land on the podium in the second moto for a seventh-place overall result. The Yoshimura Suzuki rider was working his way up from a poor start in the first moto when another rider fell in front of him, putting both riders on the ground. After rejoining the race in last place, Stewart put his head down and moved forward, eventually making it to 15th. Getting a better start in moto two, Stewart got off the gate in the top-10 and worked his way through the field and into third.
“I went 15-3,” said Stewart. “The 15 sounds pretty bad, but I didn’t get a good start in the first moto and a rider went down right in front of me and I ran straight into him. I went over the handlebars…. I was way dead last, but I made my way up to 15th. It was good because I felt strong the whole race. In the second moto, I didn’t get the best start but I tried to pick off people one by one. I got into third and kind of settled in. Overall, the third was nice, the 15th wasn’t, but I feel better. We’ve really been working on bike stability and now I feel like we’ve got the Yoshimura Suzuki RM-Z450 dialed in. I’m happy with that and I actually feel really good… I think it’s time to start winning some races.”
Though he had problems in the first moto, Eli Tomac was clearly dominant in the 250 class at Lakewood, winning the second moto by a massive 20 second margin and taking the overall win via 3-1 moto finishes. The GEICO Honda rider fell in moto one, which may have cost him the overall victory, however, the Colorado native still came away in good positions, moving to within six points of Roczen in the points standings after coming away with a third place finish at the opener at Hangtown.
Ken Roczen took a wire-to-wire victory in the opening moto of the 250 class, holding off heavy pressure from Tomac for the entire distance for his third moto win so far this season.
In the second moto, Roczen once again got off to a decent start and was second behind Tomac as they rounded the first corner. Roczen held the position until the final lap when he made a mistake and rode off course while battling with GEICO Honda’s Zach Osborne. Roczen dropped to third and immediately found himself in a battle with Musquin when he regained his rhythm. Roczen was able to hold off his teammate to the finish and the Red Bull KTM riders finished third and fourth, respectively.
“Eli rode a great second moto,” said Roczen. “I have to give him credit for the second moto as I wasn’t able to get up there and battle. I am happy to still get second overall and remain in the points lead heading to the next round.”
1. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)
2. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
3. Justin Barcia (Hon)
4. Trey Canard (Hon)
5. Mike Alessi (Suz)
6. Clement Desalle (Suz)
7. James Stewart (Suz)
8. Tyla Rattray (Kaw)
9. Kevin Strijbos (Suz)
10. Dean Wilson (Kaw)
1. Eli Tomac (Hon)
2. Ken Roczen (KTM)
3. Zach Osborne (Hon)
4. Marvin Musquin (KTM)
5. Blake Baggett (Kaw)
6. Jeremy Martin (Yam)
7. Martin Davalos (Kaw)
8. Jason Anderson (Suz)
9. Cooper Webb (Yam)
10. Justin Bogle (Hon)