Ryan Villopoto announces retirement

Nine-time AMA Champion Ryan Villopoto announced his retirement from motorcycle racing overnight. Below is the statement in full.

MXGP Thailand Ryan Villopoto
MXGP of Thailand 2015 – Ryan Villopoto

Farewell

It is with gratitude, humility, a bit of sadness but without regret, that I announce my retirement from motorcycle racing today.

As many of you know, I experienced a pretty horrendous crash back in April that left me with multiple fractures in my tailbone along with soft tissue damage. My initial thought was that I could be back riding in a few weeks if I just stayed quiet for a while. That has not proven to be the case. Follow-up X-Rays have made clear that I also suffered severe compression of multiple disks in my lower back. I am still in significant discomfort and I realize that even if I start my fitness program and training now that I been cleared by my physician, I will not be able, prior to the end of the MXGP season, to achieve the fitness necessary for me to compete at the level I have always striven for.

I am grateful for having had the opportunity to do something I have loved since I was a kid and turn it into my livelihood. 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. What people don’t often think about, when it comes to individual “action” sports like motocross, is that we rely on sponsors to compete. In motocross, the sponsors aren’t just a name on your jersey – they are part of your racing team. If they are good, they are sponsors in the truest sense of the word. They are involved in building the best bike, putting together the best team, supporting your training, and so much more. So, with that in mind, first and foremost I want to thank 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. They’ve always cared about me and I’ve been successful in large part because of it. THOR/Parts Unlimited and Monster Energy Company have been with me through it all as well. Thanks also to DC, GoPro, Oakley, Alpinestars, Atlas and Mobius Braces. Each of you has been an integral part of making this an amazing career.

I want to thank my long-time agent, my friend, Bobby Nichols, and his agency The Sports Syndicate, for the strong guidance and support they have offered my entire career.

But most of all, I’m writing this retirement note to my fans. I am grateful for the hundreds of thousands of fans, not only in the U.S., but throughout the world. It is amazing to know that you have cared so much and been so supportive along the way.

That gets me to the sadness about making this decision now. I was so stoked to make the decision to be a part of MXGP racing. It has always been important to me to ride my best and to be in the best possible position to give my best, in part because of wanting to give back to you, the fans. I am sad that this year did not work out the way I had hoped in that regard. I wanted to be at my best, to compete with these riders who are among the very best in the world and leave it all out on the track as each of them does every race. The sadness is that I only got to do that for a few races.

I am grateful to have had the chance to race with the very best in world, my competitors in Supercross and Motocross in the States as well as those who make the MXGP what it is. I am grateful to know that our competitiveness helped to continue the growth of our sport.

I leave with no regrets. I have been blessed to experience so much of life through my racing. I have never wanted to disappoint my fans nor my supporters and my hope is that for the most part I have lived up to that.

Again, thanks to each and every one of you who have been a part of my team.

Ryan Villopoto announces retirement
Ryan Villopoto announces retirement

Sincerely,

Ryan Villopoto

Monster Energy Kawasaki Congratulates Ryan Villopoto on His Incredible-Racing Career

Following his announcement today, Monster Energy Kawasaki would like to congratulate Ryan Villopoto on an amazing Supercross/Motocross career. Villopoto’s entire professional resume was built on a Monster Energy Kawasaki KX and he leaves the sport as one of the most successful riders in history. The Poulsbo, Washington native joined Kawasaki Team Green in 2003 and for the last 13 years has found incredible success with Kawasaki.

“Ryan defines the word champion,” said Kawasaki Motors Corp. U.S.A. Vice President of Marketing 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.”

Villopoto’s first national title came on a KX125 at the AMA Amateur National Championships at Loretta Lynn’s 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 KX450F, Villopoto won four straight Monster Energy AMA Supercross titles from 2011-2014 while also claiming two AMA Pro Motocross titles (2011, 2013.) Villopoto’s nine professional AMA national championships places him second in the record books behind only Ricky Carmichael.

Ryan Villopoto
Ryan Villopoto

“We have sponsored Ryan and his teams throughout his entire career,” said Monster Energy Vice President of Sports Marketing Mitch Covington. “Since 2006, Ryan has been able to give us everything we have asked for on and off the track. He is a great racer who started to build his legend from the first time he lined up on the starting gate as a Pro. We look forward to seeing the next chapter in the Ryan Villopoto story.”

With all of his success in the United States, Villopoto set his eyes on the MXGP World Championship in 2015 as part of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team in Europe.  After earning an overall win in the second round of the series, Villopoto was injured in a crash at the fourth round of the series and has been unable to race.

“Ryan brought a real buzz to the MXGP World Championship this season that was incredible to witness and be a part of,” said Kawasaki Motors Europe Racing Manager Steve Guttridge. “It is 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 MXGP’s. Though his time over here 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.”

In retirement, Villopoto will continue to be a part of Kawasaki.  We plan to see him continue in the industry because of his deep connection to the Kawasaki brand and the sport of motocross.

Ryan Villopoto
Ryan Villopoto
Kawasaki Statement

Winner of multiple AMA Supercross and AMA Pro Motocross titles, Kawasaki icon Ryan Villopoto has announced his retirement.

As a result of a crash and subsequent injuries sustained at the fourth round of the current MXGP Championship in Trentino, Italy, the 27 year old Kawasaki rider has taken the difficult decision to cease competing in the sport that has seen him elevated to the status of one of the all-time greats both indoors and outdoors.

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.

“Ryan defines the word champion,” said Kawasaki Motors Corp. U.S.A. Vice President of Marketing 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.”

Once he moved up to the KX450F, Villopoto won four straight Monster Energy AMA Supercross titles from 2011-2014 while also claiming two AMA Pro Motocross titles (2011, 2013.) Villopoto’s nine professional AMA national championships places him second in the record books behind only Ricky Carmichael.

Taking the typically bold decision to enter the MXGP series this year after a long and successful career in America, the Washington born rider was in contention during the early part of the season resulting in a race win at the Thailand hosted round in March.

Unfortunately the uncharacteristic crash in Italy resulted in both an injury to his coccyx and, upon further detailed investigation, other traumas to his lower back which are still in the process of healing.

Ryan Villopoto
Ryan Villopoto

Gathering his thoughts on retirement after a lifetime of support from Kawasaki and Monster Energy, Villopoto has written an emotional open letter to his thousands of worldwide fans which includes the following passages: “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. 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.”

For Monster Energy, Mitch Covington, Vice President of Sports Marketing added: “We have sponsored Ryan and his teams throughout his entire career. Since 2006, Ryan has been able to give us everything we have asked for on and off the track. He is a great racer who started to build his legend from the first time he lined up on the starting gate as a Pro. We look forward to seeing the next chapter in the Ryan Villopoto story.”

While Ryan considers his future and reflects on a career of stellar success, Kawasaki Motors Europe Racing Manager, Steve Guttridge, commented on the Villopoto phenomenon and thanked the star for his grit, commitment and enterprise.

“Ryan brought a real buzz to the MXGP World Championships 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 MXGP’s.

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”

Ryan Villopoto
Ryan Villopoto