Monday Conversation: Ryan Dungey

January 21, 2008 10:36am

Ryan Dungey has clearly fixed his problems with consistency from his rookie season last year. Last year, he seemed to either win or DNF. This year, he’s by far the most consistent rider on the west coast, winning two of the three races, finishing second in the other, and holding a commanding points lead with only five rounds left to run.

Racer X: You had a couple of mistakes last week when you didn’t do the triple a couple of times, and that may have cost you the race. Did that haunt you this week?
Ryan Dungey: Definitely not. I made those mistakes, and during this week, we just tried cleaning it up a bunch. The track was real slick there, and it’s not as slick here, so there were definitely differences between both tracks, but going down the line, in my mind, I was just trying to be mistake-free and to ride like I’m capable of – not be any different. I know what I’m capable of, so there’s no reason to ride tight or tentative or cautious. I definitely tried to make it so that if I made a mistake, not to make the same mistake twice. I made a few, definitely, but we came out on top. I think we can clean up some areas, for sure, and you can always get better. You’re never too good.
Even though you won, you still want to get better...
Oh, yeah! I mean, you’re never good enough. Never. Like Ricky [Carmichael] said to me, “I learned my whole life up until I was retiring.” You never stop learning. Every little thing, you’ve got to soak it up. Even listening to Ricky, or Roger [DeCoster] or Johnny [O’Mara] and soaking up information, it makes me a better rider, obviously. I want to take from what I learned in the past, but don’t live in it.
How did you like the track tonight?
It was definitely different, but it was fun. It was technical. If you weren’t on top of it, you would be on your butt quick. It would just throw you different ways and stuff. It was pretty crazy. But it was fun. It was different, and everybody had to do it. I think it made for better racing, to be honest. It was tighter, not as fast, and people were closer, so I hope the fans get a good show tonight, you know?
You know in the 1986 race with the famous battle between David Bailey and Rick Johnson that they were making a big deal out of tonight, your guy Johnny O’Mara was the only other guy on the lead lap. He got third.
He told me about that. [Laughs] Going into it, I was thinking, “It’d be cool to give the fans a show and have a battle,” because I want to win, but I also want to give the fans a show. But it didn’t happen. But I’m happy to come out on top. It’s great.
This should also put you in a strong points position with Jason Lawrence and some others having a bad night.
From what I’ve heard, it’s definitely a little more of a points lead, but I don’t think that’s any reason to be different at the races. Going to each race, you have a goal. You don’t want to do anything stupid and throw yourself out, but still. We’ve got a little cushion to sit on now, but I don’t want to be overly cautious. I still want to keep my eyes open and make sure we’re making the right decisions and not get ahead of ourselves.
So, you’re saying you want to just keep riding like you are now?
I don’t think you should give it anything less than your all, but there comes times where you think, “Maybe I shouldn’t do that,” or something. You’ve got to really think, but those decisions come up quick, so you have to be ready. Just be smart. Don’t overthink it, just know it, and don’t stress.