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Monday Conversation II: Ryan Dungey

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Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey has a well-publicized history of having trouble handling pressure, but this year, things may be turning around for him. After he lost the last couple of races to Jake Weimer, and the points lead, he went out at San Diego – the last race before the break for the Lites West – and led every lap, taking back over the points lead in the process. We talked to him after the race.

Racer X: You’ve had a tough past couple of weeks, and now you’ve shoved yourself back up into the points lead again. Can you talk a little bit about what was going through your mind?
Ryan Dungey: The last two weeks, obviously, they weren’t wins. I mean, they weren’t tough, but in San Fran, I wasn’t able to make the pass, and then going down on the holeshot last weekend was just kind of a tough break, but that’s the way it goes. I just looked at it like, hey, it’s an obstacle, and it’s a test, and I really felt that tonight was the night that I needed to take control and I came here and did what I wanted to do, and that was to win the race, and it put me in the points lead, so I’m pumped on that and the whole night. I led it from start to finish.

What about the break coming up? What are you going to do? Are you going to ride 450s, or are you going to test for the Nationals, or what?
I’m not going to do any 450 races this year, like I told you in San Fran, dude!

Well, you weren’t very committed to it. You said you didn’t know for sure.
No, I’m not, I just feel like I want to come into it prepared and make an impact.

So you’re going to be testing for the Nationals and stuff, right?
Right. Probably not so much really soon, but toward the end of the break, for sure, oh yeah.

Because that’s the other championship you’re looking at this year, having challenged Ryan Villopoto a bit last year and that sort of stuff, right?
Yeah, definitely. Outdoors, I’m really looking forward to, and I just really feel that last year was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it, and I’m really looking forward to it.

Is this series a little bit harder than you expected with Jake Weimer giving you such fits every week?
Weimer and the PC guys, they always have a strong team obviously, but yeah, they’re definitely not making it easy on me at all. I have to be on top of my game because they’re going to be right up there. They get good starts, and these last two weeks, it was tough to the point where I wasn’t so much thinking about it all the time, but it was to the point where I didn’t feel like the last couple of races should’ve been like that. But you can’t go back and change time. Still, it kind of hurt deep inside my heart because I wasn’t showing what I was capable of, you know? I’m a second faster in practice and I don’t win the race? I mean, something’s not right. Tonight, I needed to get a good start, and it was a short race, so I was really motivated and I came out and led every lap. I felt strong and rode from my heart, and that’s what I need to be doing.

{LINKS}What do you think is the biggest difference in you this year as far as dealing with the pressure is concerned?
With every year that passes, you definitely learn more and more. I’m still young, and when I came in, I didn’t know how to handle situations. I had people to help me – the whole team, and with Roger [DeCoster] on the team, he came from a racing background and he knows what it is. With each year that passes, you learn more and more and how to go about things, and I think I have a real passion for the sport, and every time I get on that bike, I’m committed. I’ll just let love and faith take control and do what I know how to do. The rest that isn’t in my hands, I’m not going to worry about. I’m just really enjoying myself, and I’m happy we came here and wrapped up what we came here to do.

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