Defending AMA Monster Energy Supercross champion Ryan Villopoto got off to a fast start and never looked back in winning the first round of the 2012 season in Anaheim on Saturday night.
Villopoto, who also won last year's season opener, pulled away to a 12.2-second victory as his championship rivals battled behind him.
"This race doesn't mean everything, but I was just glad to get out of the gate clean in that race," the Kawasaki rider told Speed's broadcast. "I got through the first turn safe, and then I just tried to put in smooth, clean laps and just pull away."
The real fight for most of the race was for second and third place. Chad Reed crashed while running second and opened the door for Ryan Dungey and James Stewart, but Reed ultimately kept his composure for a runner-up result.
"I'm so happy to get out of here with a second," he said. "I was fighting myself all day today to try and get motivation to come out here and ride this track."
The same couldn't be said for Stewart, who was riding in his first race with Joe Gibbs Racing.
With five laps to go, Stewart was battling with Dungey for third place but made a tremendous mistake and misjudged his landing. Stewart crashed into the barrier and damaged his bike, letting Dungey and several other competitors get by.
Dungey was third, followed by Justin Brayton – who made the main event via the last chance qualifier – and Jake Weimer.
Stewart ended up finishing sixth when he could have had a podium result.
"The track was just tough," Stewart said. "I'm not really that frustrated. ... We've got 16 more races. I know a lot of things can happen."
Villopoto leads the Monster Energy Supercross standings by three points over Reed and five over Dungey.
Here are the full AMA Supercross results from Saturday night's main event in Anaheim:
- Ryan Villopoto
- Chad Reed
- Ryan Dungey
- Justin Brayton
- Jake Weimer
- James Stewart
- Andrew Short
- Kevin Windham
- Mike Alessi
- Josh Hansen
- Brett Metcalfe
- Broc Tickle
- Ivan Tedesco
- Kyle Chisholm
- Ryan Morais
- Davie Millsaps
- Jimmy Albertson
- Chris Blose
- Josh Grant
- Tommy Hahn