Villopoto wants to put everything behind him and get to the task at hand; winning the Eastern Region Monster Energy Supercross Lites title
CORONA, Calif., (March 5, 2008) – Before we get into it with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto on last Saturday’s incident in Atlanta, Monster Energy would like to point out that in its efforts on deadline to jump to the defense of its star athlete –video documentation and public opinion of the get together with Josh Grant notwithstanding – observations from a number of key players involved were overlooked - including Ryan’s. So after looking at that video like 30 times and in our rush to, as they say, ‘Have our guy’s back,’ we may have been too quick to judge intent on Grant’s behalf. And for that we apologize.
Monster Energy stands by its athletes with great pride and passion. Guys like defending Monster Energy Supercross Eastern Lites class champion Ryan Villopoto are paramount to Monster Energy’s success. And while all parties involved with last week’s incident have learned some valuable lessons, Monster Energy will continue to stand up for and defend our athletes with great fervor and loyalty.
Bottom line: The M-claw logo those athletes run represents a lot more than sponsorship money. It represents family.
That said, here’s Ryan Villopoto take on the Lites class main event last Saturday in Atlanta.
Monster Energy: Ryan, these are uncharted waters for you. Twenty five points back of the WSX title in an abbreviated seven-race season. Is this a gap you feel you can make up?
Ryan Villopoto: “Yeah, I mean it’s going to be a hard gap to make up. But on the other hand Ben (Townley) did it last year with a DNF at Atlanta and Jason’s (Lawrence) done it this year – so anything can happen. It’s going to be good racing and I just have to try and get as many wins as I can.”
Monster Energy: You just had some wrist surgery. How’s that going and has it in any way affected your performance on the Pro Circuit-tuned KX250F?
Ryan Villopoto: “I’ve been dealing with a wrist injury since October, so it’s an old injury. I finally got it sort of under control and am getting back out there to do what I can do. But no, I definitely wasn’t 100-percent coming into Atlanta. But it’s better than nothing.”
Monster Energy: This WSX field is hyper-fast. There’s a bunch of new names, including Atlanta race winner Trey Canard, multi-time Loretta’s champ Nico Izzi and Tyler Bowers. Will making up the difference with this field be any different than if you, say, had to do the same in 2006?
Ryan Villopoto: “No, I don’t think so. Trey’s obvioulsy pretty good,
he won it. Nico’s pretty descent. Tyler Bowers will be kind of
whatever, not really sure. There are about four other guys that are
OK, but I think it’s going to be me and Josh (Grant) and Trey.”
Monster Energy: What was your take on the wreck involving Josh Grant?
Ryan Villopoto: “It’s hard to say. It was like we were racing an
enduro race with two walls and some sand right there. They should have just put some logs and tires out there (laughter). But, you know it was kind of a hard section. You had a set of whoops and a dog leg with sand – then a wall. So it was like, ‘whatever,’ it wasn’t like he could check up and hold his line because every one of us was going in the same line. I hit the backside of Bowers and that’s why I crashed. That’s pretty much how it went down. I was glad I didn’t get hurt, so that was good.”
Monster Energy: Josh said in an interview that “I had my head down and was focused on the rut, and then I went to go gas it up the spine and I just see Ryan there… There was nothing I could do.” That said, had you been in the same position would you think the same result would have occurred?
Ryan Villopoto: “(Pause) Um, I definitely would have hit him, yeah. I don’t know if it’d have been as hard or what else. His his bike or
whatever. Maybe checked up? I dunno. I mean, it’s not that big of a deal.”
Monster Energy: Do you have it in yourself to forgive Josh Grant?
Ryan Villopoto: “Yeah, I talked to him on Monday. And yeah, it’s over and it’s not a big deal.”
Monster Energy: Thanks, Ryan. And good luck this weekend.
Ryan Villopoto: “Thanks.”
Next up for Villopoto and the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team is the third round of the ESX Lites series at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, March 7..