Ryan Villopoto has announced his retirement from motorcycle racing, immediately, in a statement released on Thursday.
Villopoto won four consecutive AMA Monster Energy Supercross titles in succession from 2011 to 2014 and wracked up more than 70 wins in AMA competition from 2006 to 2014.
However, a severe crash in April left him sidelined with tailbone and back injuries.
The 26-year-old rider explained his situation in the statement, a full version of which is linked here and some excerpts below:
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.
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 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.