Newsflash, 9 March 2010
Kawasaki’s Villopoto jumped out to an early lead and dominated the supercross class main event at Daytona just minutes after Kawasaki’s Pourcel won his third straight supercross lites main event.
Pourcel’s teammate Dean Wilson scored his first podium finish coming home third. Nick Wey earned his best finish of the season finishing seventh and Chad Reed posted the fastest lap in practice, but did not race as he continues to recover from a broken hand.
After finishing 19th last weekend, Villopoto was determined to get back on the top step of the podium in Daytona. After getting a good start and taking the lead, a red flag came out meaning everyone would have to line up on the gate again. On the restart, Villopoto nailed the holeshot and led wire-to-wire to take the win.
“Tonight was good,” said Villopoto. “I got two good starts and rode a solid race. I was a little worried when red flag came out, because I got such a good start. I knew I needed to do it again and I got an even better start the second time. We are chipping away at the points lead and I know what I need to do.”
Pourcel was excited to race at Daytona because of the storied history of the race. For the French rider, he took the lead just before halfway and put a good-sized gap back to second place. He now has won the first three races of the East Coast season and holds the points lead as he looks to repeat as the AMA Supercross Lites Eastern Region champion.
“I always want to win at Daytona,” said Pourcel. “This is one of the biggest supercross races of the year and one I always think about. It is such a great race, and since it is run at Daytona International Speedway that is even more special.”
Wilson has been steadily improving throughout the season and his hard work paid off in Daytona as he earned his first career podium finish. The Canadian rider rode a strong race and with three laps to go, moved into third place and started pressuring for second. The career best finish came at one of the most difficult tracks Wilson will face.
“It feels great to get on the podium,” said Wilson. “I thought I might have even finished second but beggars can’t be choosers and I’m really happy with my third-place finish. I’ve made big improvements since the start of the season and I want to keep moving forward and working hard.”
Reed returned to his Monster Energy Kawasaki for the first time since breaking his hand at Round 2 in Phoenix and posted the fastest time in practice. After the practices were complete Reed decided to not race during the night program because he was still feeling the effects from the broken hand. He is looking to return to racing this week in Toronto.
“I achieved what I wanted to achieve this weekend,” said Reed. “I wanted to see where I was at. I love racing and it was killing me watching the races. I wanted to get out there and ride. My hand is still bothering me and I want to be healthy and 100 percent when I come back to race.”
With Wey riding for the team while Reed recovered from his broken hand, the Michigan rider earned six top ten finishes in six races consistently riding strong. At Daytona he benefited from the restart after crashing in the first turn, and he took that good luck to his best finish of the season in seventh.
“You never want to see anybody get hurt, and my thoughts are with Grant (Langston),” said Wey. “On the first start I crashed and probably would have finished 20th, so it was fortunate for me to have a restart. I came out fourth on the restart and battled hard with some guys. It was close racing and I ended up seventh. It was my best finish of the season and I can’t thank the Monster Energy Kawasaki team enough for the support they have given me. Next week I’ll be back on the Ti Lube/Babbitts/MSR/Foremost Kawasaki and I hope to keep running at the front.”
Wilson’s ride to his first podium came with a little assistance from his teammate Pourcel. After tightening up in the first two races, Wilson took some words of wisdom from a champion and turned them into a career best finish.
“Christophe really helped me this weekend,” said Wilson. “He told me I really needed to pace myself and not do too much. That’s what I did and when I got to the halfway mark I knew I could start pushing and give it everything I had. I want to thank Chris for his advice because it really paid off.”
Pourcel has been helping his rookie teammate learn the ropes this season, but with Wilson scoring his first career podium, some of Pourcel’s advice may be coming to an end.
“I really like racing with Dean,” said Pourcel. “He is fun to ride with and a good guy. I’ve been giving him some advice, but that may end soon because I don’t want him beating me with my own tactics, but really, I am happy for him.”
Daytona International Speedway rewarded the winning rider with a one-of-a-kind trophy that symbolized the history and tradition of the Daytona Supercross. For Villopoto this marks another great achievement in his championship career.
"The trophy is really heavy," said Villopoto. "Daytona is one of the most prestigious supercross races and it is awesome to get the win here. I've had a lot of success in my career and this ranks as one of my top wins."