No one expected the 2015 Motocross World Championship to be a walk on the track for Ryan Villopoto, OK maybe some did, but landing in fourth-place twice on Sunday for MXGP of Patagonia keeps him in the Top 5 and well within reach of first place.

Villopoto never led any of the races but hunkered near the front of the pack applying pressure to the riders he trailed.

In Race 1, Shaun Simpson of Great Britian took the holeshot as Villopoto rounded the first turn in fourth but shortly after got pushed back a couple of positions. Simpson ran wide which gave Clement Desalle of Belgium an advantage and he took it. As the race wore on Villopoto managed to crawl into third and started to chase the Italian MXGP star Antonio Cairoli but Max Nagl of Germany emerged from eighth, passed Villopoto and left it for Desalle and Cairoli to battle it out for first, the victor being Desalle after Cairoli crashed on the last lap. Cairoli managed to quickly remount and hold off Nagl to take second.

In Race 2, Nagl, who swept Round 1, grabbed the holeshot but Desalle led the first five laps and went bar-to-bar with Nagl for a good portion of the race. A few mistakes by the Race 1 winner gave Nagl the edge and the lead for good. Cairoli later added pressure and passed Desalle and then Villopoto tried to round out the podium but ran out of time and ended in fourth.

Nagl, who followed his dominating performance in Round 1 with a fourth and 11th place effort in Thailand that dropped him to third-place, moved up a spot into second. His (3-1) day in Argentina gave him the overall though he tied in points with Desalle who went (1-3). Desalle opened the year finishing in second-place for the first two rounds including in all four races. He remains in first place with a 10 point lead over Desalle and Cairoli, who took second-place twice for third-place overall, just a point less than Nagl and Desalle.

Ryan Villopoto went (4-4) for fourth overall in MXGP Round 3 - All Photos MXGP

Villopoto missed the podium for the second round this year. Last time out, he dazzled with a (1-3) effort for first overall which came just a week after a somewhat disastrous start to his MXGP career when he went (9-8) for seventh overall. Villopoto is in fourth-place in the standings 17 points back from Cairoli.

It's not foreign territory for Villopoto, well maybe the country he's racing in, but not the point standings. In his 2011 Motocross Championship season, Villopoto started the year with one victory in six Motos, tallying three third-places, a second and fifth place in the first three rounds. Last year for his fourth-straight Supercross Championship, Villopoto started the year in fourth, won Round 2 and rolled up in fifth place for Round 3. And how can the 2013 Supercross season be forgotten when Villopoto finished in 16th for Round 1 before winning his third-straight Supercross Championship.

The MXGPs head to Cairoli's home country for MXGP of Trentino on April 19 in Pietramurata, Italy.

2015 MXGP Patagonia Argentina Overall Results

  1. Maximilian Nagl (3-1)
  2. Clement Desalle (1-3)
  3. Antonio Cairoli (2-2)
  4. Ryan Villopoto (4-4)
  5. Gautier Paulin (6-7)
  6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (9-5)
  7. Romain Febvre (8-6)
  8. Evgeny Bobryshev (5-10)
  9. Todd Waters (11-9)
  10. Glenn Coldenhoff (14-8)

2015 MXGP Season Standings

  1. Clement Desalle - BEL (133)
  2. Maximilian Nagl - GER (123)
  3. Antonio Cairoli - ITA (123)
  4. Ryan Villopoto - USA (106)
  5. Gautier Paulin - FRA (96)
  6. Romain Febvre - FRA (95)
  7. Evgeny Bobryshev - RUS (72)
  8. Todd Waters - AUS (62)
  9. Jeremy Van Horebeek - BEL (60)
  10. Kevin Strijbos - BEL (55)

Written By: AndrewT