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5 Minutes With... Ryan Dungey

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Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey is shocking the world with his early-season performance in Monster Energy Supercross. After taking the fight to James Stewart at the opening round in Anaheim, he returned to finish the job and get a win in Phoenix. And win is exactly what he did, giving him the series points lead, too. Few have ever started their first 450 season so strong, but as you can tell from our chat with him after the event, Dungey is already looking for more.

Racer X: Man you won a supercross! Just two races into it!
Ryan Dungey: (Laughs) I know. I couldn’t ask for more: got good holeshots and put myself in position. It feels awesome to get this first one. It’s a great accomplishment. It feels great, but I just have to carry the momentum from here.

Well that’s what I want to talk about here. You’re not spraying champagne all over the pits, going crazy and partying and celebrating. This is your first win, but it’s like you’re already expecting to just win some more, as if this is just the start, not a huge peak.
That is the plan. To win more, as many as we can from here on out. I mean, tonight is still a big deal, you know, and it feels good and you definitely have to enjoy it, but life goes on and there’s another race next week. Like I told you on the Webcast, Roger [DeCoster] always tells me you’re only as good as your last race. It does feel good and I’m happy my family is here to celebrate with me.

I talked to you in December, and you said you weren’t shooting for a top five in your rookie season or anything like that. You said your goal was to win. And I didn’t even want to print that because it could have come across as cocky. But that’s what you thought you could do.
Well, it’s hard. These guys are good and I wasn’t sure what to think. The off-season was a blur. But I worked hard at the track, and I felt good, and we showed up at Anaheim 1. If it happened quicker than normal, getting a win, cool, but I knew all I could do was show up as ready as I could be. That’s all I tried to do. Show up ready.

When you first started getting into testing and riding the 450, did you feel something special there? Did the team tell you what the times were compared to past riders?
Well yeah, based on the other times we’ve seen at the test track, I was right there if not better. The 450 is a little bit different of a bike. It took us while to get a good setup, and we’re still working on it. But it’s a good bike and the whole Suzuki team works really hard.

You went through some battles last year to win those Lites titles, and then you dealt with the pressure at the MX of Nations. Did that experience help you here? A lot of riders lock up under the pressure when they start in this class, but you seem okay with it.
Well, last year was definitely tough, with [Jake] Weimer on my tail all season. I never got a break, and then in the outdoors, I had [Christophe] Pourcel on my tail. So to think it’s not ever going to be like that, that it’s not going to be hard, you’re kidding yourself. So to be able to carry that experience over, it helps, but to go up against guys like James [Stewart] and Chad [Reed], to do more races and to do longer races, and you know you can expect guys like James and Chad to be there every week pushing you... I just try hard to be on the top of my game. It’s pressure and nerves, sure, but at the same time, it’s like, if you didn’t feel that, what fun would racing be? You know what I’m saying. You’re on the line and you’re thinking, “This is too much for me to handle right now!” but at the same time, you have to let your body go. I think a human can accomplish more than they think they can. They just have to let it happen.

You’ve improved so much, so fast. There are a lot of guys that you used to battle with who are probably saying, “Wait a minute? Dungey won a supercross? I used to beat that guy!” How are you able to get faster and faster like this?
I don’t know. I do have a great group of people around me, and we all work to try to make improvements. That’s what helps; we all keep our eyes open for improvements. So that’s the idea, to keep progressing and keep moving forward.

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