Monday Conversation II: Ryan Dungey

June 9, 2008 1:26am

If not for Ryan Villopoto, Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey would be the talk of the pits in the Lites class at the AMA Nationals. Three rounds in, and he’s racked up four second-place finishes, a third, and a fourth, and he sits a strong second in points, only 15 behind defending champ Villopoto. Besides that, he’s getting a lot of assistance from none other than James Stewart.

Racer X: You said in the press conference that you weren’t working with Johnny O’Mara anymore, and that you’re staying with James Stewart a lot down in Florida. Are you working with Aldon Baker, too?
Ryan Dungey: No, I’m not working with Aldon. It would be unfair for him, even if he could help me, to do it with a limited time like we have. It would be hard to gain the fitness in the middle of the season. It takes a lot more than 30 minutes in the morning or something. That wouldn’t be fair. I’m not working with Aldon or anybody, I’m just working with James [Stewart]. I’m kind of doing my own thing before we ride, and then we meet up, and riding together, that’s where James comes in. He helps me out with that, but he doesn’t just help me out with riding. It’s a lot of other stuff. He’s a really good person. A lot of people should see that. He’s really changed up some things in his life, and he’s a good person to be around, and all of the help that he’s given me thus far, I really appreciate everything he does.

Does he set an example for you, too?

He definitely sets a good example, and he’s a calm person – real chill – and when things are tough, he’s been through it all, so when you have a person by your side helping you with some similar problems that I’m going through and that he’s already gone through, it’s good to have some good advice from him.

Is it easier to listen to him because he’s James Stewart and he goes that fast on a motorcycle?

Yeah, he’s definitely a dominant rider, and he’s the best there is today. He’s a great rider, and has always been. I’m not using him or anything like that.

No, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying, sometimes you might get advice from someone like, say, me. But what the hell do I know? James is out there, and he knows what’s up, so is it easier to listen to his advice because of that?
Obviously, he’s the king of riding a dirt bike, so you’re going to listen to him when sometimes listening to someone who doesn’t ride won’t make sense. With him in my corner, it’s really good.

The Nationals haven’t always been your strong suit, but you’re putting a whoopin’ on almost everybody...
Yeah, I’m a little bit behind right now, but I’m going to keep my head up, keep from getting frustrated, and keep working hard. I think things will come around. Ryan [Villopoto] is riding good, and it’s nothing new – I expected that of him. It’s just a matter of me finding the speed and making it happen. I need to start laying some wood, and it’s going to take a lot, but with my heart in it, I think we can do this.

Late in a moto like you had this weekend, when it’s this hot and humid, and you’re riding around by yourself, is it easy to let your mind wander and make mistakes?

Yeah, it definitely was hot, but you just have to concentrate, and I never gave up. I put my head down. Everybody got a little fatigued out there. We’re all human. It’s just working on fitness and not giving up, and putting your head down.

It seems likely that the next few races will be similar to this, as far as heat and humidity and things like that are concerned. Does a race like this help you get your mind ready for the next races like this coming up?

Yeah, plus all of these motos go in the books as far as training goes. They all add up. Plus, being in Florida, it’s been hot, so a couple more weeks, and we’ll adapt to it even better. It’s been 105 in Florida, and humid, so I think we’ve got a good spot there, and like I said, I’m going to put in my time and my work, and just make it happen.