There have been a handful of new developments in Ryan Villopoto’s world, from new gear to a new brand deal with Yamaha. We’ve also seen him participating in more races recently. The 2018 Trans Am Vet Classic marked the first gate drop for Villopoto on his new 2018 Yamaha YZ450F. Despite retirement and a bike change, he looked just as fast as ever racing up and down the hills of Glen Helen. Following his three moto sweep of the 30+ Pro class, we caught up with Villopoto to learn more about his deal with Yamaha and even got his thoughts on the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Series.
What are your thoughts on the 2018 Trans Am?
It’s pretty rad! I haven’t been racing at an amateur race or local race in a really, really long time. It’s cool and really mellow. TransWorld does a pretty good job of putting on events and this one is cool. The track has been awesome with all of the rain. I was kind of worried that it would be a little muddy and messed up, but the track held the water well. Everything has been awesome so far.
On that note, like you said, it’s your first gate drop at this type of event in quite awhile. It’s also the first gate drop on this Yamaha, which is a new deal for you. How has it been getting to race that bike and spend some seat time on it?
It’s the first gate drop on a Yamaha in a really long time. The bike is really good and it’s a lot of fun. It’s an awesome bike to ride and it has gobs of power. I’m just having a good time.
With Yamaha, there’s a lot of new things happening between the new 65, the new 450, and the 250 that we anticipate will be coming soon. Have you been able to spend any time on the development and testing side of things?
I haven’t done a whole lot with that at all. I have the 2018 model and I’ve been doing my own testing with figuring that bike out as a rider. They’ve put a lot of time into that new 65, it’s been years. They did a hell of a job designing what is probably the best 65 out there on the market. If I was a kid, that’s the one I’d want to be on. As a parent, working on it is going to be a really rad bike. It has an aluminum subframe that comes off. It’s basically a big bike shrunk down with all of the parts that are on it.
Is a bike that you see being in your garage at some point in the future?
I don’t know, we’ll see! That will depend on if they want to ride. The twins are only 18 months right now, but more than likely they’re going to. They like to watch riding videos a lot. It’s nice to know that being under the Yamaha umbrella now, there are so many options for motorcycles in all of the different categories. That’s pretty rad and I look forward to being able to experience those more. It’s great having a 65 that if the boys want to ride, it’ll be the best one out there.
Shifting away from where we’re at right now, what are your thoughts on the current Supercross season? This year has been wild and injury filled.
Yeah, I mean it’s motorcycles and injuries happen. I think that it’s interesting that you bring that up actually, Donn and I have a test coming up that I think is going to be really cool. It’ll show the differences in the bikes nowadays versus what they used to be years ago. It will open a lot of peoples eyes up as far as the differences, from cost to speed to parts. Supercross has been interesting, there have been a lot of ups and downs. There has been so much inconsistency from everybody except for Jason Anderson. He has that lead right around 40 points and that comes from the handful of race wins that he has had, but also his consistency. There are some guys who are faster than him at times, but they can’t stay consistent out there. I’m not sure why that is.
Looking at this Trans Am event and where it’s headed, do you see yourself continuing to participate in it over the next few years?
It’s definitely cool and fun. We’ll see! There’s potential whether it’s this event or one of the others. All I can say is don’t count me out of anything [laughs].