The Champ returned to prominence in Phoenix with a very impressive ride through the field. The gap between Ryan Villopoto and his competitors is not very big right now, but if he starts to get on a roll it won’t be long until he is leaving them scratching their heads.
Each week, The Power Rankings will recognize the movers and shakers in Monster Energy Supercross. Villopoto’s rise to the top last week not only secured his first win of 2014 and the points lead, but also the top spot in this week’s rankings.
1. Ryan Villopoto – Monster Energy Kawasaki (Last Week: 2 / +1)
It was the kind of ride that defines a champion. RV started ninth and passed all of his main rivals to win. He was faced with adversity but just put his head down and went to work. The track was difficult, but he somehow overcame the odds. The red plate is back in his hands and he isn’t looking to give it up again.
2. Ryan Dungey – Red Bull KTM (Last Week: 4 / +2)
Mr. Consistency has already arrived. Dungey is the only rider to finish on the podium in the first two rounds. In Phoenix he was up to the task but appeared to be frustrated by the difficulty of passing, potentially even letting a win slip away. Regardless, he is one point out of the lead and is likely going to be a thorn in Villopoto’s side from here on out.
3. Ken Roczen – Red Bull KTM (Last Week: 1 / -2)
Had he not made contact with Barcia, it is hard to know what Roczen would have done in Phoenix. He looked good and was right in the mix before the incident. As a result, he has not dropped much in the rankings, especially because the series returns to the sight of his season opening triumph.
4. James Stewart – Yoshimura Suzuki (Last Week: 4 / No Change)
Stewart had a practice crash that looked much worse than it ended up being. However, going down hard for two straight weeks cannot be good mentally. He rode well in Phoenix but did not appear to be pushing the limit. Points are huge for Stewart already and based on what he did in Phoenix, he might be looking big picture and not going on that edge if he does not need to.
5. Justin Barcia – Team Honda Muscle Milk (Last Week: 6 / +1)
Bam Bam looked like he was ready to repeat his victorious Phoenix ride, but he got too aggressive and it cost him a chance at the podium. Barcia is well on his way to being a consistent challenger, but he got a little impatient in Phoenix. You can’t blame him for wanting to win, but he will need to be careful about giving away points to his rivals.
6. Justin Brayton – Toyota/Yamaha/N-Fab/JGRMX (Last Week: 7 / +1)
What a ride for Brayton. That had to be the best effort of his career. He did not back down and he fought all the way to the finish. No one would have ever given Brayton a chance at catching Villopoto once the pass was made, but he nearly did it. He could have been more aggressive and forced the issue, but he raced respectfully and took pride in the performance. Can he keep this up?
7. Chad Reed – Discount Tire Racing/TwoTwo Motorsports (Last Week: 5 / -2)
Not sure what it was, but Reed just did not look comfortable in Phoenix. He was resilient in the main event and fought hard to secure a top 10 finish, but you could see he was not at the level that got him a podium in Anaheim. With a return to SoCal, you would think Reed will be back up front.
8. Broc Tickle – RCH Racing/Soaring Eagle Suzuki (Last Week: 9 / +1)
Tickle improved on his opening round result with an even better ride in Phoenix. The RCH squad is developing into a strong operation and with Josh Hill unable to make the main event, Tickle’s carrying the flag.
9. Andrew Short – BTOSports.com KTM (Last Week: Not Ranked)
Back-to-back top 10’s to start the season is exactly what you expect from a veteran like Short. He’s as solid as they come and he’ll improve with every week that passes.
10. Wil Hahn – GEICO Honda (Last Week: Not Ranked)
The 450 debut for Wil did not go as well as he would have hoped, but he secured his first career top 10 in Phoenix. With his teammate Eli Tomac out of action, Hahn is leading the way for the GEICO squad and absorbing everything he can on the track to get better and better each round.
Dropped Out: Josh Grant (Injured Shoulder), Jake Weimer (18th in Phoenix)