The first time jitters are gone and hopefully this time out Ryan Villopoto's bike doesn't stall.
As the gates dropped on Race 1 of Round 1 for the 2015 Motocross World Championship on Saturday in Qatar, Villopoto went nowhere fast as the top riders in the field tore out to an insurmountable lead leaving the American star trying to restart his bike. He eventually finished in ninth place despite crashing twice.
In Race 2, Villopoto rode with a damaged rear break half the time and managed an eighth-place finish for a seventh overall. Not exactly what the United States' biggest hope for an MXGP Championship expected for his first time out.
"We struggled a little bit with the start today, a little me and a little the bike, but we came back and got points," Villopoto said after Round 1. "We've definitively some work to do, but that's part of it. We learned a lot this weekend and will be stronger at the next GP. We have to work on setup stuff, which makes things a little bit easier."
Reportedly, Villopoto returned to Europe for more testing before heading to Thailand for Round 2 on Sunday. In addition to a somewhat surprising Max Nagl, the German who swept both races in Round 1 and Clement Desalle, the Belgian who took second-place both times out, the weather should prove to be another obstacle. The forecast calls for temperatures in the 90s and a whole lot of humidity. Oh, don't forget Italian Antonio Cairoli, the eight-time MXGP Champion everyone wants to see showdown with Villopoto. Cairoli might not have had the impressive start everyone expected but he still went (3-4) for fourth overall though he tied in points with Gautier Paulin who took third overall. Cairoli won the Thailand Round in 2014, Desalle took second.
The track in Nakhonchaisri, Thailand is new and according to the track builder it'll be tight and technical, yet fast. Sounds like a Supercross track. Expect Villopoto's bike to start this time around and mounted by a rider with something to prove.
The CBS Sports Network airs a delayed Race 2 at 4 p.m. (PST) on Sunday.
2015 MXGP Season Standings
- Maximilian Nagl - GER (50)
- Clement Desalle - BEL (44)
- Gautier Paulin - FRA (38)
- Antonio Cairoli - ITA (38)
- Jeremy Van Horebeek - BEL (32)
- Romain Febvre - FRA (29)
- Ryan Villopoto - USA (25)
- Evgeny Bobryshev - RUS (25)
- Kevin Strijbos - BEL (24)
- Shaun Simpson - GBR (21)
Written By: AndrewT