After only two weeks on the new KTM 450 SX-F, Dungey geared up for the inaugural Monster Energy Cup race and went to work to see where he stacked up against the competition on his new bike.
The day started well when he turned the fastest lap time in the final practice session and earned first gate pick in heat number one. Ryan got off to a third place start in his heat behind leader Brett Metcalfe and Eli Tomac. Dungey’s teammate, Marvin Musquin, was sitting in 5th place on his KTM 350 SX-F. This race marked the first U.S. Supercross event for Musquin who was injured before the start of the 2011 Supercross season and unable to make his debut in his first year with the KTM team.
“I am very excited to be at this race,” commented Musquin earlier in the day. “I love Supercross racing and am excited for the 2012 season to start and I feel this race will serve as a great warm-up to the season.”
Musquin went on to finish 5th overall in the heat just one spot shy of qualifying straight to the main event. Dungey passed Tomac for 2nd with two laps to go and began to close the gap and pressure Metcalfe. On the final lap, Dungey moved on the rear wheel of Metcalfe and began to plan his pass. As they came under the tunnel, Metcalfe made a mistake and got sideways which allowed Dungey to get around and take over the lead. With two corners to go, Dungey pushed forward and took the heat win.
Musquin lined up for his semi where he started in 4th place and quickly passed into 3rd before the end of the first lap. He passed into 2nd on the next lap and held that spot to put his KTM in the main event.
The Monster Energy Cup was unique in offering the riders three main event races. Each main event consisted of ten laps and each moto counted toward the overall score. When the gate dropped for moto one, Dungey had a bad jump and got pushed to the back as they rounded the first corner. In an impressive push through the pack he managed to move himself into the top ten as they neared the second corner and then cut under a few guys again as they went around the back stretch of the track and moved his KTM into 5th as they headed back in the stadium through the sand whoops.
On lap three, Dungey made an important pass on Suzuki riders Metcalfe and Mike Alessi when he passed both of them over the same jump before the step up. Once in 3rd, he began to chase down the 2nd place ride of Ben Townley. He trailed Townley for the remainder of the race but was unable to move around him and settled for 3rd. Musquin moved from a 15th place start to an 8th place finish in moto one.
Moto two had a whole new beginning as Dungey jumped out front early and came around the first lap in 2nd place behind Ryan Villopoto. Musquin also started the second moto in a better position checking in 10th place at the end of lap one. Dungey was comfortable in 2nd and held a pretty good cushion on the rest of the field. He finished the second moto in that position while Musquin was able to move up two more positions and earn 8th for the moto.
With one moto left, Dungey blasted his KTM to another great start, this time coming around in 3rd place behind Ryan Villopoto and Mike Alessi. Unfortunately, Musquin suffered a crash in the first corner with Justin Brayton which caused him to start from dead last once recovered.
Dungey began to close on Alessi early in the final moto but the pass would not come easy. Alessi rode overly aggressive and proved difficult to pass. After being held up for two laps, Dungey was able to make the pass on Alessi over a double and began to pull away. Unfortunately, Villopoto had stretched to a pretty good lead and Dungey settled for 2nd. His 3-2-2 moto scores earned him 2nd overall in his debut race on the KTM.
“I am happy with my overall result today. Of course, you always want to win, but to come out here after only two weeks on the bike and get on the podium is very exciting. We have made great progress with the bike this weekend and we know how we need to move forward with our testing from here. I’m very happy with the team so far and am looking forward to the 2012 season.”
Red Bull/KTM Factory Team Manager, Roger DeCoster, stated, “I was not so excited about coming to this race at first since we have only had two weeks on the bike, but I am glad I was convinced to come. This race gave us a good indication about what we have done well and where we need to improve. We have our work cut out for us during the next few months but I think our goal is feasible. Come Anaheim, I believe we will be in the hunt.”
Next Event: Anaheim, CA – January 7, 2012 – AMA Supercross Round 1
Overall Results –
2) Ryan Dungey – KTM
5) Eli Tomac
7) Nick Wey
9) Jake Weimer
11)Marvin Musquin – KTM
14) Chris Blose