5 Minutes with ... Ryan Villopoto

There’s no question that Ryan Villopoto is going to be one of the next superstars of motocross. As he chases his third 125, or Lites, title this summer, he already has some pretty serious championship credentials. While he won’t confirm or deny it, word is out that RV is headed to the Monster Energy Kawasaki team for 2009 to replace James Stewart. He tried to tell me that he was going to Husqvarna or KTM next year instead, but I think he might be pulling my leg.

Racer X: Are you still a little bitter about the way the East Region Supercross Series went down?
Ryan Villopoto: I don’t know. I mean, there is definitely going to be some payback. He can’t think he’s going to pull a move like that on the sixth lap of the final and then not get anything back later on down the road. Then you have [Josh] Grant almost taking me out and then throwing a huge whip over the triple right after he passed me. I could have had [Branden] Jesseman doing the same thing up there, but we chose to race clean. I don’t know when it’s going to come back around on him, but it will.

RV preparing at Glen Helen

Okay, settle down and let’s move on. How are you feeling going into the weekend?
Yeah, I feel all right. I’ve got all my testing done, finally. I’ve just been trying to find places where I can ride without being kicked out by the cops. We just got shut down at Central [a practice track in Lake Elsinore that has been there for decades] and there aren’t that many places to go anymore.

Do you think your speed is as good as it was last year when you and Townley were pushing each other?
I think it is probably pretty close.

Is your setup the same?
It’s just about the same. Every year, it gets a little stiffer. I’ve gotten a little heavier and my setting gets a little more firm every year.

How does the track look?
I’ve seen most of the layout. It looks pretty good. They have a couple big boobs out there in the back canyon; I’m not sure what those are about. They are, like, two huge singles. We’ll have to see how they run the mid-section.

Do you like starting at Glen Helen instead of ending there in September?
I liked ending it there. I’d rather do it when everyone is beat down and hating life. That track is so brutal that not a lot of guys can go fast there at the end of the motos, especially in the second moto.

You’ll be on the 450 full-time next year. Are you looking forward to that?
Yeah, it will be good to get out of the Lites class. RL [trainer Randy Lawrence] and I have worked on our training program to make a good transition, but I think that you are going to struggle a little when you move up. That’s just the way it goes. Hey, another thing about [Trey] Canard is that he and Lawrence blew it by winning those titles this year. Unless the AMA changes the rules, they both get one more year to defend that title and then they have to move up. Trey and Jason both have to ride 450s in 2010.

I hear you are all signed up with Kawasaki. Is that true?
Kawasaki? I’m riding for KTM next year. Me and Nick [Wey] are going to be teammates. No, I don’t know what’s going on for next year. Maybe I’ll pull a [Damon] Bradshaw and just move to Alaska and quit.

You had a lot of “experts” on the internet saying that your girlfriend was a major reason for your struggles this year. What do you say to them?
I say piss off. Those people don’t know what the hell they are talking about. BobbyM and the rest of those guys have to sit there and pretend like they know what’s going on because they aren’t in the industry and they really don’t know.

Do you think being a part of the Pro Circuit team was a major boost for your career?
Yeah, Mitch [Payton] and this team just put all of the best people around you. They all want to win and they will do anything they can to help you. I think I would have had a much harder time if I had gone anywhere else.

Is your mechanic going with you next year?
Yeah, he’s coming with me to factory Husqvarna.

Cool, good luck with that.
Thanks, Ping. Come by next year and I’ll get you a Husky T-shirt.