Ryan Villopoto retires from motocross

Supercross champ hangs up his boots after getting hurt in maiden GP season

Ryan Villopoto has announced his retirement from racing following the crash and subsequent injuries sustained at the fourth round of the world championship in Italy in April. The 27-year-old, the first defending AMA Supercross champ to tun his back on the USA to tackle the GPs, had a tough start to the season and looped out at the Trentino track, breaking his coccyx and damaging other parts of his lower back. He had already said 2015 would be his last year in racing - win or lose.

"I am grateful for having had the opportunity to do something I have loved since I was a kid and make it into my livelihood," said Villopoto. "I am grateful for the support of my family for all the years they spent hauling my bikes and me around to races, interrupting their lives in the process. I am grateful for the support of my many sponsors through the years, first and foremost Kawasaki, which has been my bike of choice since my Team Green days. They have been with me through ups and downs, serious injuries and great successes. Kawasaki is a brand that is synonymous with my racing career.

"I am grateful to have had the chance to race with the very best in world, my competitors in Supercross and Motocross as well as on MXGP. I am grateful to know that our competitiveness helped to continue the growth of our sport."

Villopoto's first national title came on a KX125 at the AMA Amateur National Championships in 2005. After turning pro, he went on to sweep three consecutive AMA motocross championships from 2006-2008 in the 250 class while also claiming the 2007 250SX AMA Supercross West Regional championship. Villopoto is one of only four riders to ever win three consecutive 250 class titles.

Once he moved up to the 450 class, he won four straight AMA Supercross titles from 2011-2014 while also claiming two AMA National titles in 2011 and 2013. Villopoto's nine professional AMA national championships places him second in the record books behind Ricky Carmichael.

"Ryan defines the word champion," said Kawasaki USA's Chris Brull. "Since he started with Kawasaki on Team Green, Ryan has pushed himself and Kawasaki to be better every year. His dedication to his craft has paid off in the championships that he has won, and the developments we have been able to make throughout our KX line. Ryan will always be a part of the Kawasaki family and I speak for everyone at Kawasaki when I wish him all the best in his retirement."

Kawasaki's European race boss Steve Guttridge said: "Ryan brought a real buzz to the MXGP championship this season that was incredible to witness and be a part of. It's such a shame that he was only able to compete at the first four rounds because I honestly believe that Ryan was adjusting well to the big change of racing around the world as he became more acclimatized to the different circuits and race format in MXGPs.

"Though his time in Europe did not go as planned due to the unfortunate injury, everyone on our team is proud to have worked with Ryan and we have all gained a massive amount of experience in the process. Following such a major career decision, Ryan is now considering his future goals and ambitions. We wish him well with whatever direction he chooses to take from this point forwards."

It's not known who will replace him on the factory 450 Kawasaki this year, but it's believed to be Steven Frossard who rode for the team last year and who split from KTM a week ago. Jordi Tixier has already been signed up to the squad in MXGP next season.

Read More