MXGP star Ryan Villopoto is already coming under pressure to consider his plans for 2016 and contemplate another season trying to win the MXGP FIM Motocross World Championship or continue with his original intention to unbuckle his boots for good.
The American is now entertaining frequent questions about his future – as opposed to the previous popular topic of his adaptation to Grand Prix – and especially in light of results that have seen him walk the MXGP podium just once in five events with his victory and 1-3 run in Thailand.
The FIM series has seen burgeoning crowds at each round since the opener at Losail in Qatar and the interest and buzz around one of the most competitive line-ups in the premier class in recent memory has been partly due to what his own Monster Energy KRT crew deem the “Villopoto Effect”.
Keeping RV in Grand Prix for another season would suit many connected with MXGP; namely the growing fanbase, Youthstream’s promotion opportunities, Kawasaki’s attempts to conquer the category and Monster Energy’s desire to mess with Red Bull KTM’s hegemony in a championship they sponsor and support heavily.
At the 2015 KRT presentation on Friday evening before Valkenswaard, Villopoto admitted that Kawasaki had already asked ‘the question’. The manufacturer will be keen to avoid the protracted situation last summer where they were unable to confirm their athletes for 2015 until Villopoto’s decision was confirmed. “I get the question a lot,” he said, in reference to the heightened curiosity concerning his prospects, particularly as he still seems to need time to learn MXGP and is not dominating like his fans hoped he would.
“As of right now I have not gone back and thought about it too much, just concentrating on what is in front of us and getting where we need to be,” he added. “We were a little bit off coming into the season and from testing in the wrong places like back in the States where it is completely different. I have not put more thought into it. Steve [Guttridge, Kawasaki Motor Europe Racing Manager] asked me just recently and I am going to have to make a decision eventually on what I want to do; keep the decision I have made or change it.”