Davi Millsaps crosses the finish line to win the season opener in Anaheim. (PRNewsFoto / American Suzuki…)
Supercross returns to Angel Stadium for its third race of the year Saturday night with the sport still waiting for one of its preseason favorites to win.
Ryan Villopoto, who has won the last two Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series titles, has yet to score a victory and three other former champions — James Stewart, Chad Reed and Ryan Dungey — are off to modest starts.
Veteran rider Davi Millsaps of Murrieta won the season opener at Angel Stadium on Jan. 5 for his first win since 2010, and rookie Justin Barcia won last weekend in Phoenix.
Barcia's win was not a fluke. A Honda rider from Georgia, Barcia (pronounced Bar-sha) joined supercross' big leagues after capturing the East division of its second-tier "supercross lites" series last year.
He quickly took the lead in the Phoenix race and never relinquished it in the 20-lap main event. "I didn't think this [first] win would come so soon," he said. "Hopefully I can have a few more this season to contend for the championship."
Supercross is the stadium version of motocross, or off-road motorcycle racing, and three of the first five races on its 17-race schedule are in Anaheim. However, the layout of turns and hills on the Angel Stadium infield is changed for each event.
Although he hasn't won yet, Villopoto appeared to be finding his stride in Phoenix. The Kawasaki rider spun and dropped to eighth on the first lap but then climbed through the field to finish second behind Barcia.
Millsaps, who finished third in Phoenix on his Suzuki, leads the point standings with Barcia six points behind in second. Villopoto is seventh in the standings, 18 points back.
The grand marshal for Saturday night's race is former Angels utility player Scott Spiezio, who hit a key home run in the Angels' World Series victory over the San Francisco Giants in 2002. Spiezio also attended the Jan. 5 supercross race in Anaheim.