In light of his recent dominance in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, you might never guess that Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto has been riding with an injury. But he has, and it will prevent him from representing the USA in the upcoming Motocross of Nations.
For now, the reigning Monster Energy AMA Supercross Champion is focused on landing his second career 450cc Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Thus far in the season, he has collected six overall wins and 14 moto wins, and he could clinch the title with a win at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, this weekend. But Villopoto plans to undergo surgery to repair a lingering ankle injury immediately following the series finale at Lake Elsinore.
“It is always a tough decision to go in and have surgery,” Villopoto stated in a team-issued press release. “But just like my Monster Energy Kawasaki team works hard to give me the best bike possible, I have to make sure I’m at my best as well. The hardest part of this decision is the timing. I was really looking forward to racing the Motocross of Nations again this year, but I won’t be fully prepared in time for MXoN, and I don’t want to give less than 100% to Team USA. The MXoN is always a highlight of the season and it is an event that has helped to define my career.”
Following his recovery, Villopoto will begin preparing for the 2014 Monster Energy Supercross season where he has a chance to become only the second rider in series history to win four straight titles; Team Honda rider and supercross legend Jeremy McGrath won four straight title from 1993 through 1996.
With Villopoto unable to participate in the Motocross of Nations, speculation is that Muscle Milk Honda rider Justin Barcia could get the nod as his replacement.