5 Minutes With ... Ryan Villopoto

September 13, 2006 2:37pm

Things can’t get much better for the young Ryan Villopoto. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rookie went 1-1 at the Toyota AMA Motocross finale at Glen Helen, and took home the national championship in his first full season. To make it even sweeter, he’s going to race the MX des Nations in two weeks with the biggest names in American motocross as teammates, Ricky Carmichael (hopefully) and James Stewart.  
     Ryan just had to stay out of trouble to take the title on Sunday, and in both motos he had a clean race with his rival Mike Alessi of the Red Bull KTM team. The racing was, unlike last year here, uneventful.

Racer X: Ryan, today you are a national champion, how does it feel?
Ryan Villopoto: It feels good! I came here to get the first moto out of the way so I could just ride in the second moto, like it was just going to another race. That’s what I did and it made it easier on me to get it done the first moto. 
Coming in to this weekend, what kinds of plans did you have to make. Did you have to think defensively?
No, I just came in hoping for two good starts. The first one wasn’t too good. I had a little missed shift. I came out decent and worked my way up. In the second moto I had a decent start so I went from there. 

When you made passed for the lead in the second moto, was there a certain section of the track you liked?
No, I think I was just a little bit quicker around the whole track than Mike was. We ride this track a lot so we are both pretty fast here. 
Hey, you are on top of the word right now aren’t you? You just won a national, and a championship, and you are going over to Europe to race with Team USA. Does it get any better?
[Laughs] No, it should be good to go to Europe. Everyone speaks English where we are going—at least I think they do [laughs]. It should be fun.
Any thoughts on if Ricky can’t make it, will that change anything for you?
No. I would love to race with Ricky. It would be the first time I get to race with him and maybe the last time. I hope he can make it and he can race.
People can’t help but compare the start of your pro career with Ricky’s. You have a national championship on your first try, and you are strong in supercross. What do you think when you hear things like that?

I think it’s awesome. You saw this weekend, he had “The Goat” on the back of his pants. He is the baddest dude around! Hopefully I can be like that one day.
Was there any of that defensive or crazy stuff going on this weekend? Like did you tape over your kill switch or anything?
[Laughs] No, I didn’t do anything. Mike rode the two races clean. I thought it was awesome. Nothing went on. He and I racing together was good. I didn’t have to worry about anything. I just rode.
How would you score the summer then, did things go pretty fair?
I had two DNFs, he had one. It set me back and it set him back. His [DNF] put me back in the points race. We both had troubles, so did Shorty. We just made the best of it.
So will anything special happen because of your championship?
I don’t know yet!  I was talking about maybe getting a car, but I think I something in Texas, maybe some land or something.