Following the single-most-successful season in the history of the sport in 2011, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto continued his current reign as the world’s most prolific rider by capturing his second straight Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, title on Saturday night inside Houston’s Reliant Stadium.
Villopoto’s eighth win of the 2012 season, and the 23rd of his Supercross Class career, was also a historic one as it vaulted Villopoto into the realm of Monster Energy Supercross elite. Villopoto’s back-to-back titles are the first since Ricky Carmichael in 2005 and 2006, making the Poulsbo, Washington, native just the fifth rider in history to accomplish such a feat, along with Carmichael, Bob Hannah (’77-’78), Jeff Stanton (’89-’90), and Jeremy McGrath (’93-’96, ’98-’00). He is also just the eighth rider in history to ever win multiple titles in the Supercross Class.
Moreover, Villopoto’s triumphant effort was the earliest a rider has ever captured a Monster Energy Supercross Championship in 39 years of competition, with four races still remaining on the 2012 schedule.
Since taking his first win in the premier Supercross Class at the Seattle stop of his 2009 rookie season, Villopoto has put forth an all-out assault on the Monster Energy Supercross record books. He went on to capture two of the final three races of the 2009 season, and has since won more than five races each of the following seasons. In all, Villopoto has posted 23 wins in 61 total starts, but since that inaugural win, he has gone on to stand atop the podium 48% of the time. In just four seasons of competition in the Supercross Class, Villopoto already sits seventh on the all-time wins list.
In his 61 starts, Villopoto has captured podium results on 38 occasions, including 11 in 13 races this season. He has finished inside the top five at the conclusion of 47 races.
Villopoto’s path to the pinnacle of the sport began in 2006, when he won one race en route to finishing third in the Western Regional Supercross Lites Championship. The following season, he captured the Western Regional crown and followed that up with a runner-up finish in the Eastern Regional Supercross Lites Championship, his final season in the division. He wrapped up his Supercross Lites career with 11 wins, currently ranking 11th on the all-time wins list.
Since he turned pro, Villopoto has competed aboard a Kawasaki, first as a member of the most successful team in history at Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki while in the Supercross Lites Class, and as the lead rider at the factory-backed Monster Energy Kawasaki effort the past four seasons. The accolades Villopoto has achieved while riding the iconic green bikes have made him arguably the most successful Kawasaki rider of all time. The back-to-back Supercross Class titles are the first for Kawasaki, while Villopoto’s pair of championships make him just the second Kawasaki rider to do so, joining Jeff Ward (’85 & ’87). Villopoto also sits second on the all-time wins list for the manufacturer.
As a brand, Kawasaki has also seen tremendous success in Monster Energy Supercross. The manufacturer’s first title came in 1976 with Jimmy Weinert and since then, seven additional championships have been won aboard a Kawasaki in each of the five decades of the sport, making it the first and only brand to do so.
Ironically, Villopoto’s 114th win for Kawasaki in the Supercross Class came at the very same city as the first, when Weinert took the checkered flag in Houston back in 1976.