Spring Creek Preview


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Four rounds remain in the 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship and at this point it is Ryan Villopoto’s to lose. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider has a 42 point advantage over Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey on the eve of the Red Bull Spring Creek National. Mathematically, Dungey, who sits second overall, could close the gap on Villopoto in one round and move into the lead, but that would be in the unlikely event of a double zero on RV’s part and a clean sweep for Dungey. The latter part of the equation isn’t far-fetched for the KTM ace, whose home round is Spring Creek. He’s won the past four overalls at the track and will be well aware of the need for a strong performance in order to keep hopes of defending his 2012 Nationals title alive.

Villopoto has been on another level though and a zero-scoring round would only come as a result of some serious injury or pair of catastrophic mechanical failures. Even in the few cases when he’s gone down in a moto this season, such as in Moto 2 at Muddy Creek when he fell to 16th, his speed and skill allowed him to power through the crowd for a fourth-place finish. A similar incident occurred in Moto 1 at Southwick, but Villopoto was again able to rally back to fourth. They are the only two motos this year RV has been outside the top-two at the checkers. Villopoto’s last time out at Spring Creek was in 2011 where he finished second overall with a 3-2 result.

In the previous round at Washougal, Dungey scored the Moto 1 win with Villopoto in second. In Moto 2 the roles reversed and RV secured the win and overall, but the two walked away with a stalemate in points. Each earned 47 and Dungey gained no ground in the title hunt, which was made significantly more difficult after his DNF in Moto 1 at RedBud. Prior to his misfortune in Michigan, Dungey was only 12 behind Villopoto and had a real shot at upsetting the Kawasaki rider’s momentum.

Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia holds to third overall, 109 off the leader. He was a consistent presence inside the top-10 until Moto 2 at Washougal where he finished a disappointing 17th. Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart trails Barica in fourth, but has been on a podium hot-streak through the previous two rounds, going 2-2 at RedBud and 3-3 at Washougal. The two riders share the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Holeshot Championship lead, which comes with a $25,000 prize for the top points earner in the class at the end of the season. Both are more than capable of reaching the podium at Spring Creek and both will be fighting to achieve that mark.

One item of gossipy interest will be whether MotoConcepts Racing’s Mike Alessi will be in the mix following theincidents at Washougal since he has to pay $10,000 in fines before his credentials will be returned.

In the 250 class, the race for the 2013 title is much more intense, with Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen holding the lead by a single point over GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac. Tomac has turned on the jets in the previous rounds, taking five wins in the past seven motos. Roczen will need a strong showing at Spring Creek to frustrate the Honda rider’s charge to the top of the points tally, likely much better than the 4-3, fourth-overall result he posted there in 2012. Tomac enters the round having won at Spring Creek in 2012, where he finished 3-1.

Roczen’s teammate, Marvin Musquin is third overall and trails his teammate by 58 points. He got back on the overall podium in the previous round at Washougal, finishing 3-4 for third-place. Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett wasn’t so fortunate, with a mechanical issue taking him out of the running for a second-place result in Moto 1, leaving him to finish 35th. He grabbed eighth in the following moto, but now trails the leader by 96 points. The 2012 250 Nationals champion has struggled with a wrist injury this year and has been unable to match the pace he found so often in his championship-winning season. 
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