Altitude No Problem For Villopoto
LAKEWOOD, Colo. — The picturesque Thunder Valley Motocross Park hosted Round 2 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, on Saturday for the ninth running of the Rockwell Watches Thunder Valley National.
Taking place in Lakewood, Colo., this event is notorious for its mile-high altitude, which demands the utmost preparation from both man and machine. The 450 and 250 Classes each saw first winners at Thunder Valley as Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto swept the day with a (1-1) score in the 450 division and Colorado’s very own Eli Tomac went (2-1) to secure his first victory of the season in the 250 Class.
Villopoto picked up right where he left off at the opening round last weekend, throwing down the fastest lap time of the day in qualifying before sweeping both 450 Class motos at Thunder Valley. In Moto 1, it was Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia who got off to the early lead after grabbing the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Holeshot. Reigning 450 Class Champion Ryan Dungey contested the leader right away, while Villopoto rode close behind.
Barcia led the pack until the mid-way point when Red Bull KTM’s Dungey made a pass for the lead. From there, Barcia and Villopoto kept the pressure on Dungey and it wasn’t long before Villopoto took over the lead.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart, third a week ago at the series’ opener, ran into some issues in Moto 1 when a downed rider caused the Florida native to crash early in the race. Stewart recovered from his fall, making his way back to fifteenth in the opening moto.
Meanwhile, Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Trey Canard and FIM World Championship contender Clement Desalle had a race of their own in Moto 1. Canard was able to hold the Belgian rider off for fourth place in the opening moto, as Desalle followed closely in fifth.
In the 250 Class, GEICO Honda’s Zach Osborne made it to the first corner ahead of the pack, grabbing the Motorcycle Superstore Holeshot, but it was Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen who jumped to the lead right away. The GEICO Honda teammates of Osborne and Eli Tomac were side by side on the opening lap, with Osborne just ahead. However, while battling with his teammate, Osborne went down and lost a few positions in the process. Rockstar Energy Racing’s Jason Anderson capitalized on Osborne’s mistake, taking over the third place position early on.
Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin and MyPlash Star Yamaha/Metal Mulisha’s Cooper Webb had a quick pace set from the start. The duo made their way up to podium contention, where Musquin made the pass on Anderson for third. That’s when the rookie Webb made his charge toward the front, passing Anderson and Musquin to secure his first career podium finish in Moto 1.
Tomac made a valiant charge on the leader Roczen as the two went head-to-head on the final lap of Moto 1. As Tomac neared the rear wheel of Roczen, he ended up tipping over in the corner and Roczen grabbed his third consecutive moto win of the season.