The loss of Ryan Villopoto to an injury just weeks ahead of the AMA Motocross opener shocked the motorsports world, but Monster Energy Kawasaki isn’t just closing up shop with their star rider on the shelf. The team recently announced that South African Tyla Rattray will be taking Villopoto’s place on the KX450F.
Cycle News reports Rattray is the choice to replace the defending champion. Rattray raced for Pro Circuit Kawasaki in the 250cc series and finished second in that class last year. The rider has reportedly been training with the team for the past two weeks as they prepare for the Motocross opener.
“I’m pumped to race the 450cc class with Monster Energy Kawasaki,” Rattray told the news source. “I know both the team, and the bike can win championships. I couldn’t be more thankful to everyone allowing me to have this opportunity.”
Rattray is no stranger to injury himself. A crash caused the rider to fracture his C7 vertebrae and sustain a concussion at the very beginning of the Supercross Lites series. The injury meant that Rattray is just now getting back on his bike after missing much of the indoor season.
The AMA Motocross season starts off with the Hangtown Classic in Sacramento, California on May 19.