Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto had a forgetful debut in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship 450 Class in 2009. The 3-time 250MX champion was primed to make a splash in the big class, but success was short-lived after he suffered a season-ending knee injury after the second week of racing.
Since rising to the premier class before the 2009 Supercross series, Villopoto had yet to complete a full season on any circuit. RV2 was back and forth with Ryan Dungey in the 2010 SX season before an injury gave the championship to Dungey and wiped out Villopoto’s 2010 campaign for either championship.
When healthy, Villopoto has shown dominance at times, often easily running away with motos and overalls, and it showed in 2011 when he took home both the 450SX and 450MX championships. He won 6 Supercross races that year en route to a slim 4-point victory over Chad Reed in the final point standings. During the outdoor season, he found himself chasing Chad Reed early in the year, but after a memorable Spring Creek crash, Reed was unable to get back into that early-season groove. Villopoto grabbed the points lead and held off Dungey to complete his championship sweep.
Villopoto made it three titles in a row in 2012, taking home another Supercross title in what was primarily a war of attrition. With Chad Reed, Ryan Dungey and James Stewart all getting knocked out of action for multiple races, Villopoto ran away with the title, clinching the championship with four rounds still to go. A week after locking up the title, Villopoto scored his 9th win of the year, but the following race would prove to be costly. In the Main Event at Seattle, Villopoto went down with a serious knee and was forced to sit out the 450MX season, bringing his reign as champion to an end.