Ryan Villopoto returned to the top of the podium and extended his lead in the 2012 AMA Supercross Championship to 13 points with a victory at the Edwards Jones Dome in St. Louis, Mo.
The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider had his win streak snapped at three after losing to Red Bull KTM‘s Ryan Dungey last week in Atlanta, Ga., but Villopoto returned to form in St. Louis for his class-leading fifth win of the season.
The reigning champion got off to a good start in the St. Louis main event, trailing only holeshot taker Davi Millsaps of YGRMX Yamaha. By Lap 3, Villopoto had taken over the lead, which he held the remainder of the 20-lap race for the win.
Finishing second was Dungey who sits second behind Villopoto in the standings. Dungey ended the first lap in fifth place but moved up to third by Lap 9 behind Villopoto and Muscle Milk Honda‘s Justin Brayton. Dungey passed Brayton on Lap 13 to move into second place but could not catch Villopoto, finishing 2.403 seconds behind the winner. Brayton held onto third for his first podium of the season.
While Villopoto and Dungey finished one-two in St. Louis, James Stewart slips further out of contention for the 2012 championship. While his rivals have been consistent all season, Stewart had another challenging race in St. Louis. The YGRMX Yamaha rider crashed on the opening lap but still managed to finish the race in fifth place. That gives him 152 points on the year, 40 points behind Dungey and 53 points behind Villopoto.
With Stewart’s title hopes fading and barring injury, the championship chase is more or less down to Villopoto and Dungey. Villopoto is in control with 205 points while Dungey remains in striking range with 192. Next weekend’s race in Daytona Beach marks the start of the second half of the season, which promises to be an intriguing duel between Villopoto and Dungey.
[Source: AMA Supercross, with photos by Hoppenworld.com]