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Ryan Villopoto wins supercross race in Anaheim

January 7, 2012 | 10:48 pm


Ryan Villopoto of Seattle trounced the field in the season opener Saturday night at Angel Stadium as he set out to defend his championship in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series.

After attaining the "holeshot," or reaching the first turn ahead of the pack, Villopoto cruised to a 12-second win on his Kawasaki over second-place finisher Chad Reed in front of a sold-out crowd of 45,050. Ryan Dungey, the 2010 champion, finished third.

Supercross is the stadium version of off-road motorcycle racing, or motocross.

At times Villopoto's lead in the 20-lap main event reached more than 20 seconds. "Villopoto made us look silly out here tonight," said Reed, a two-time AMA champion.

Villopoto said that "once I got that holeshot, I just tried to lay down fast laps and get a gap, and that's what I was able to do."

James Stewart, another two-time title winner, finished sixth in his debut race with his new team Joe Gibbs Racing. Stewart had climbed as high as third but lost control and fell on Lap 16.

In the second-tier supercross lites division, Honda rider Cole Seely of Murrieta won the 15-lap main event and Tyla Rattray of Wildomar, Calif., was second.

-- Jim Peltz

Photo: Ryan Villopoto wins the AMA Supercross Series event at Dodger Stadium last year. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press