The Monster Energy AMA Supercross series may be taking place in another country, miles away from where we are based. But, the entire motocross community will most definitely have their attention placed firmly on Angel Stadium, Anaheim this weekend. After a long, quiet off-season the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series will fire into life on Saturday night, and keep us entertained until our domestic series starts in a couple of months time.
The first round is always the most exciting in any series; there are so many questions that are unanswered. All of the riders will be brimming with confidence; they believe that they will be at their best after “working harder” with “a great bike” beneath them that will help them acquire great results. The depth in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series might be the best in the world; the battles right down the field should be enthralling!
Who do you think will win? Let us know in the forum. Here are our predictions on who will win Anaheim 1, and who will be the champion when the curtain closes on the season.
Anaheim 1 Winner: Ryan Villopoto
2013 Champion: Ryan Villopoto
There has been a lot of hype surrounding the 2013 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season opener; undoubtedly this year’s series has the potential to be the greatest ever. There will be ten riders on the line in the 450SX class that have previously won a main event on the big bike (and that is not including guys like Justin Barcia and Jake Weimer; they could add their name to this list, also).
On paper, it does seem like the series is going to be a lottery; there is not a way to tell who will win. However, I personally believe that the series is not as close as it is perceived to be; Ryan Villopoto might just be a step above his competition. I think that Ryan does not really get the credit that he deserves; maybe that is because he is not as outgoing as some of his rivals?
Of course, there is one major weakness that Villopoto has coming into the season, the ACL injury that he suffered at the tail end of last years Monster Energy AMA Supercross campaign. I do think that this will not be an issue for him though; he proved at the Monster Energy Cup that he was one-hundred-percent, and ready to go. Now, he has had a handful of months to get even faster, and stronger. Even Justin Barcia couldn’t shy away from the fact that RV was a lot quicker at the Monster Energy Cup. Villopoto has won A1 coming off of a serious injury before, why can’t he do it again? There is no doubting the fact that he has put in the work; Ryan is the type of rider that would just put their head down and pound out countless laps.
So, I’ve just proclaimed why I am so certain that Ryan Villopoto will win the season opener, Anaheim 1. The same thoughts apply to the whole season really, how can you bet against Ryan Villopoto? In the previous two seasons, RV has shown that he can overcome adversity to win the championship. If he makes it to every round this year, it will make it even harder for his competition to catch up to him. Ryan Villopoto is the favourite for this title; I also think that he will be the favourite every time he lines up at the gate at each individual race.
What about his competition? Chad Reed and Ryan Dungey are extremely similar, I believe. They will both be consistent, and right in the hunt every single week. But, do they have the raw speed that Villopoto (and Stewart) possess? I don’t think so, they’re close; but they are just a tick off I believe. Villopoto is the complete package, he has the consistency that Reed and Dungey have, but he also has the raw speed of Stewart. James is the biggest question mark; he has spent the off-season hidden away in his Florida compound. Obviously, it will come down to whether or not he can stay on two wheels, if he can he will be a contender. But if he can’t, it will be the same story as every other year.
Anaheim 1 Winner: James Stewart
2013 Champion: Ryan Villopoto
James Stewart really needs to win this race [Anaheim 1] more than the rest I think, at least in his own head. James wants to get his momentum back quickly, and show everyone that he is a new man on the Suzuki, he wants to show everyone that he has blistering speed, and make a statement early to try and get into his competitors minds that he is a title challenger. He looked very focused in the press conference too, James Stewart is not messing around this weekend and he wants to set the record straight.
All the other guys especially Reed and Dungey will be content with a podium to start the year; even Villopoto (if he doesn’t get the start) won’t risk crashing out just to get a win, although if he does win A1 this year it will be his third year in a row! Justin Barcia will want to win as well, but the nerves may tighten him up in his first ever 450 Supercross main and Canard will just be looking to get through Anaheim safe!
If the win is there the rest will go for it but if it isn’t they may be able to settle for a podium, James Stewart has never been able to settle for a podium, so on that shaky hypothesis I am going for James Stewart to win A1 with RV second and Chad Reed third.
Ryan Villopoto is hard to bet against for the Championship, Stewart may be faster at times, but he may not have the consistency. Chad Reed and Dungey are consistent but do they have the raw speed of Stewart and RV? Barcia and Canard could win races too but Justin may not have the consistency to win in his first year, while to expect Canard to win the series after all his injuries is maybe just a bit unrealistic. If I could choose someone I would like to see win it would be Trey though!
The big thing about Villopoto is he is just brilliant under pressure. If all the championship contenders had the same points going into the last round, he would be the guy you would put your money on. Villopoto does what he has to do when he has to do it and that is why I am going to have to go with the defending champion to retain his title in 2013.
Words by Lewis Phillips and Jonathan McCready
Photo courtesy of Simon Cudby/KTM Images