Ryan Villopoto. (Photo: Monster Energy Kawasaki)

picked up his third win of the season. (Photo: Monster Energy Kawasaki)

Ryan Villopoto led wire-to-wire Saturday night at International Speedway to earn his fourth career 450SX Monster Energy class victory at the famed track.

The three-time defending series champion passed fellow Kawasaki rider on the opening lap and went on to lead all 20 laps, winning by a margin of 12.632 seconds over .


“It’s pretty big,” Villopoto said of winning at Daytona. “This is a unique track like I said earlier, and to get a win here with the way the track is – it’s kinda outdoors, it’s supercross, it’s very technical – so to get a win here it’s awesome. And this is kinda like a turning point in the season, we’re closing down onto the homestretch here and to get a win here is huge.”

Villopoto made a brief mistake on Lap 12 and washed out in a rutted-turn section. However, he recovered quickly and maintained the lead.

“Whenever you have a fall like that, all that’s running through your mind is, `don’t stall the bike and get up as quick as you can and take off,’” Villopoto said. “Luckily, I had a nice lead and I was able to get up and regroup.”

, known as “Mr. Consistency,” finished on the podium for the fourth straight race. was fourth followed by , Wil Hahn and Wilson.

The win gives Villopoto a 28-point lead over Dungey as the series heads to Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. next week. Roczen is third in the championship battle, one point behind his Red Bull KTM teammate.

James Stewart, who sits fourth in the standings, was forced into the mechanics area on the opening lap after colliding with Mike Alessi’s bike. Stewart lost one lap to the leaders while getting repairs and would finish 18th. He now trails Villopoto by 52 points.

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