As the 2011 season heads into the final stretch, the battle for the championship remains tight with the leading contenders battling hard for valuable points. In Arlington, the top five riders in the standings were also the top five in the opening eight laps.
Leading the way was Canard. The American Honda rookie led each lap on his way to his third win of the season. Canard took the lead after passing KTM’s Mike Alessi, who had taken the holeshot, and was never seriously threatened over the rest of the 20-lap race.
“I’m so grateful,” says Canard. “So many people from home are here. This is such an awesome day and I’m just so thankful. I knew I needed another good start and it happened again. I tried to put in (20) solid laps, (but) the whoops were really tough. We’ll see (about the championship). I’m just going to keep doing the best I can. That’s all I can control.”
Longtime rivals James Stewart and Chad Reed added another chapter to their story by battling for second place over the first eight laps. Things came to a head on lap nine when Stewart lost control through the whoops and collided with Reed, sending both riders off the track.
San Manuel Yamaha’s Stewart dropped back to fifth while Reed remounted in eighth place while Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Villopoto took over the fight for second.
Dungey held the advantage until he fell after making contact with a lapped rider. Villopoto took advantage by taking over second place where he finished, just half a second ahead of Dungey.
“I got off to a good start in the Main and was able to work my way up to second in like the tenth lap, but then a couple of laps later I came up on a lapper and just misjudged what he was gonna do and went down,” says Dungey. “I got back up in third and made a hard charge for second and got close but just came up a little short.”
With his second-place finish, Villopoto regains the lead in the standings at 255 points. Reed salvaged an eighth-place result to keep him six points back at 249 while Dungey is close on his heels at 248. Canard’s win bumped him up to fourth place at 239 points while Stewart remains in the title hunt at 234 points.
The 2011 AMA Supercross season continues April 9 in St. Louis, Mo.