Racer X: First off all, when you win a race, suddenly people are like, “Oh, now he’s on it. Now he’s figured it out.” But did anything really change per se? Did you fall upon some great setting or did you eat a great meal today? Get a good night’s sleep?
Ryan Dungey: No. I guess from a week ago when we talked in Dallas, I did feel that we could improve with our setup a little bit. I think I could have figured things out a little bit as well. I hadn’t been able to get back to Florida where my home base is for awhile. I was on the West Coast the whole time. Anybody who lives on the West Coast...there’s a lot going on out there. Long, full days. You don’t really get time to think. I think it was just a matter of a couple things: getting back to Tallahassee, getting on my program and kind of getting things back to normal.
It almost felt like a week off, even though I didn’t take any time off or anything. Things were really relaxed and mellow. But we also did a little bit of shock testing and got a little bit better in that area. But I really think last week was a matter of tough luck in a few spots, but also not putting ourselves in the right position right off the bat. And a little bit off on the setup. I really felt that at Dallas we could improve just a little bit more, and during this week I think we did. We’re going to obviously try to keep on that. But it’s always nice when you can get time for yourself and put things in perspective a little bit. It’s nice to remember, too, how fortunate we are to race for a living.
Did you change anything on the starts? Because you ripped your heat race, too.
I really didn’t expect it to be that good as far as the heat race and the main. We switched up and did some tire changes this week as well. Went to a different, kind of a skinner hard pack/soft terrain tire that kind of works in all areas.
Dungey was able to fend off a late challange from RV to take the win in Atlanta.
Photo: Simon Cudby
Intermediate, yeah. I felt like it was a good tire, a little bit firmer. It really did us good. I really feel that was a big help for tonight as well in the starts.
Is your track in Florida similar to this at all? The soil or anything? Is that a factor here?
Yes and no. There is one track that we have that is kind of red clay like this. But to be honest, my dirt at home isn’t as hard as this was tonight. I feel like this track, this dirt gets really slippery and kind of harsh and choppy. It gets kind of hard pack, which is kind of surprising because my first year here in 2007 it was completely opposite.
It was rutted and soft and stuff back then?
Yeah. Rutted, soft. You’re steering with your rear around the corners and everything. The dirt has changed the way it’s developed in the past couple years.
Just give me an idea, when you make that transfer from California to Florida what is that like logistically? How do you pull that off in a week? Does stuff have to go back and forth?
No. That’s where we all plan ahead. Obviously I have all off-season there in Florida, too. They send bikes there and ship in spare parts and a lot of great stuff. So, for myself I’m very fortunate to be able to have a team to send stuff. It’s a lot of money to do that and also have stuff in California. But it was just a matter of sending some new updated version of suspension or motor work and stuff like that. Once that all got there it took a day to get everything tuned in once we got back Sunday and then we were ready to go Monday. So, it worked out perfect.
Dungey and DeCoster celebrate KTMs second win of the season.
Photo: Simon Cudby
I was talking to Roger and he said, obviously with most riders, you’re trying to push them, to go harder and go faster. He said with you, you don’t have that problem. You’re pushing yourself. He said he has to work sometimes to almost pull you back, that’s how much drive you have.
Yeah. Like we talked last weekend, you get to a point were you accomplish something, or you can be going as fast as you can go, but there is always that expectation of wanting to go faster and faster. It is hard. You’ve got to find that balance in your life and we all struggle with it at points. To go faster, to be stronger, setup needs to be better… it’s a constant evolving process and I really feel that I myself like to, when I want to get better, I like to work, work, work. But maybe a little bit of R&R is not too bad to have in the books as well! When you tear your body down you need to rest it.
Obviously, when you get better and better… I don’t think you’re going to see major, crazy changes. It’s just little minor bits; you’re not going to see huge improvements overnight. It’s pretty incredible with this factory stuff and how one click on suspension could be the make or break. And me, I’m kind of really touchy and really picky in that area, but it really blows me away how a couple clicks off your lap times can drop. But a couple clicks in, it’s like you can just hit things like clockwork. But I really feel that we had a good setup tonight going in the main and we did a great job. I feel like things are coming together. We’ll celebrate tonight. This win means a lot to myself, to KTM, the crew and everything. But there are going to be more races and we need to be ready for that. We’ll celebrate tonight and get ready for next week.
I just realized I didn’t even ask you about the race at all. Take me there real quick. You got out front and there was some heat from RV down to the end…
Well, the start...I got off to a good start. Cole Seely was out front. He led some good laps right off the bat. But I was able to make the pass and lead from there. [Ryan] Villopoto was coming and I saw him. I felt like I was able to gauge it and keep the distance in check and was able to come away with the win.