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Monday Conversation 1: Ryan Villopoto

It’s hard to bet against Monster Energy/Pro Circuit’s Ryan Villopoto right now. Villopoto has it all together. He’s strong, he rides his 250F wide open like it was a two-stroke, he corners fast, has a proven bike, and rides aggressively enough that he doesn’t do that bad even with bad starts and short main events. He’s won both Anaheims in 2007 and leads the West Regional SX Lites points by 17 ahead of Jason Lawrence.
     Villopoto went right to the front of the A2 main after a short battle with Steve Boniface for the lead, and his closest rival for the opening rounds up until now, MX2 World Champion Christophe Pourcel, had a bad start and hurt his foot just a few laps into the main and pulled out.

 
Racer X: After winning two Anaheims, how do you feel?
Ryan Villopoto: It feels good. At Phoenix, I couldn’t get a good start. I was pretty pissed that I didn’t win last weekend, but Mitch [Payton] says you’re not going to win every one. I just tried to come out here for Anaheim 2 and get another win. 
 

RV currently has a 17-point lead over Jason Lawrence

What is it with these Anaheims that works for you? People say they’re usually more difficult.
I think this Anaheim 2 is one of the best tracks. The transitions were good between the jumps. It had some tough sections—obviously, the triple after the whoops was big, and I think Jason Lawrence and I were the only ones doing it. I think that’s awesome. If only two riders are doing it, that means it’s hard. That splits it up fast line or slow line, and that’s the way it should be.
 
We heard so much about Josh Grant being your rival this year, but with him banged up, who is on your mind as your rival for this series?
All the guys are going fast. Jason Lawrence is riding really good. Christophe is maybe racing next weekend, er, well, will see.… Maybe he’s going home. All the guys are going fast. It is going to be up to me to be consistent. Anything can happen.
 
So when Christophe is here in California for Pro Circuit, do you guys run the same schedule and practice with each other, or was it more like you do your own thing and just see each other on race day?
No, pretty much just race day. He runs his program a little bit different—every rider does. I like to get my stuff done a little bit earlier. Obviously, what he’s doing works for him, because he won a race. He is fast. Next year we will have some battles.
 
During an interview this week, Mitch said one of your advantages was corner speed. Do you think of that, and what are your thoughts?
Yeah, that, and tonight the big part was the whoops. But to be fast in the whoops, you have to have corner speed. So yeah, it’s mainly the whoops and the turns.

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