For Villopoto, his win was made even harder by a red flag off the start of the Supercross main event, which wiped out his early race lead. Yamaha veteran Grant Langston went down on the first lap of the race, which led to a red flag situation. Word wasn’t available immediately on Langston’s condition, look for an update as soon as possible.
When the race was restarted, Villopoto emerged with the lead again and put the hammer down, while series’ leader Ryan Dungey had to fight his way into second around San Manuel Yamaha’s Josh Hill. Hill put up a fight for a few laps, but Dungey eventually got around him and went after Villopoto. On Daytona’s rough track, the Dungey versus Villopoto chase would because a true battle of fitness and determination, and for a few laps, it looked like Dungey might be able to close in. But Villopoto proved his fitness is all the way back to 100 percent fitness after last year’s knee injury, as he never wilted and held strong for his fourth win of the season.
Dungey was second on his Rockstar Makita Suzuki, and he gave Villopoto a run, seemingly never backing off despite having a 23-point advantage over Villopoto coming into the race. Dungey knows it’s a long series and every point counts, especially since Villopoto’s teammate Chad Reed is going to be back racing next weekend in Toronto. Reed tried to race Daytona, logging the fastest qualifying times of the day before deciding his injured hand and thumb were not strong enough to hold on for 20 laps. Reed came out for opening ceremonies in street clothes, saying he wished to ride on one of his favorite tracks, but just wasn’t ready yet.
Behind the title battle, Trey Canard put his Red Bull Racing Honda on the podium for the second-straight week with third. Canard worked past Hill a few laps in and was never threatened, the 250 West Region rider is obviously comfortable on his big bike. Kevin Windham got a bad start but eventually wore down Davi Millsaps to put his GEICO Powersports Honda in fourth. Millsaps was fifth, Tommy Hahn sixth, Nick Wey seventh, and Kyle Chisholm eighth. Hill, who is still reeling from injuries after a crash last week in Atlanta, dropped back to ninth, ahead of Ryan Morias, who made his 450 debut for Suzuki with tenth.
In Lites, Pourcel did win last week’s main in Atlanta, but he had a strong challenge from Austin Stroupe and Justin Barcia. In Daytona, Stroupe grabbed the holeshot on his Rockstar Makita Suzuki and tried to get away, but a few laps in, Pourcel suddenly found a new line, got next to Stroupe, and powered into the lead. Stroupe seemed surprised by the move and lost a little ground early, only to come back and mount another challenge a few laps later. Meanwhile, rookies Blake Baggett, of Rockstar Suzuki, and Dean Wilson, Pourcel’s Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammate, were hanging right with the leaders. Pourcel began to pull away, but the rookies still didn’t back off and kept the heat on Stroupe. At the finish, Stroupe held on for his third-straight second place finish, with Wilson edging Baggett for his first career podium. Justin Barcia and his GEICO Powersports Honda teammate Brett Metcalfe were expected to challenge Pourcel, but they were stuck back in sixth and seventh for most of the main. On the last lap, Barcia went after fifth place Ryan Sipes and got the spot, relegating Moto Concept’s Yamaha-backed Sipes to sixth, ahead of Metcalfe. Darryn Durham, Kyle Cunningham and Martin Davalos rounded out the top ten.
Daytona was rough, but now the riders face a different challenge in Toronto next week, as that track is usually super rutted and technical. Villopoto needs more wins and some bad luck for Dungey, and with spoilers like Reed poised to re-enter the fray, anything can happen.