Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey has won plenty of races this year in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, but the victory at the Red Bull Unadilla National over the weekend was extra special. Thanks in part to a first-moto DNF by Mike Alessi (who had a rock punch a hole in his radiator) Dungey pulled far enough ahead in points to wrap up the 2012 450 Championship--the first-ever big bike title for KTM in the U.S. He talked about his big day in the post-race press conference.
Racer X: You said early in the year, at Colorado when you left with a big points lead, that Roger [DeCoster] said, "We aren't popping any champagne yet." So, is Roger finally popping some champagne?
Ryan Dungey: [Laughs] Yeah. This was a pretty amazing day, and we didn't expect it. To be honest, I knew if everything went the way it did, we could wrap up the championship, but I was more focused on putting in a solid day and wrapping up the title at Steel City. Mike [Alessi] has been really consistent, but he ran into some bike problems in the first moto. Second moto, I just wanted to put in a solid ride. I was able to wrap it up and get the overall. It's amazing, just to see what it took, behind the scenes, to make this work and make this moment come about.
When you won the championships with Suzuki, there was a core program in place. Here, it was starting from scratch. Talk about that process.
Yeah, we were getting ready for Monster Cup, that was our first race. We had two weeks before that, and the bike was a brand-new 450 that we had to work on. I knew we could do it because I knew we had the right guys behind us. Roger and the whole crew, they could do it. It was a lot of hard work and a lot of effort from the guys here and the guys in Europe, Pit [Beirer] and those guys. Supercross, we had some good things going there, but we had a setback at mid season. We made progress, and I felt like at each round we kept making progress. For KTM, when I signed my name on that paper, I committed everything to it. Winning races and championships, that's what you get paid to do, so I'm really fortune that I was able to do that. This is KTM's first 450 championship in the U.S. but hopefully there will be many more.
Dungey celebrates his first 450 Lucas Oil Motocross title with KTM.
Simon Cudby photo
And when you signed that paper, there were a lot of skeptics.
A lot of people had their own opinions. A lot of people said it was career-ending and things like that. Whatever. If you listen to everybody in the crowd, you'll soon get lost in it. It seemed like the right fit for me, everything fit with all of these people. And there were tough moments, there were tough times, but we struggled through it and here we are.
Talk about today's race a little bit. First moto, everyone was going down, including you. Was it the track?
It was a crazy first moto. Before I even knew it I was on my head and realized I needed to pick my bike up and get going. A lot of other guys made mistakes, too, [Jake] Weimer, I think I saw [Michael] Byrner down, and [James] Stewart. So I tried to play it smart, tried to get back to the front. Broc [Tickle] was riding an awesome ride, it took me a long time to get to him, but I was able to get him at the end there. That was amazing how it worked out with the rain we had yesterday. The track turned out great in the first moto and was even better in the second moto. It was amazing how the rain worked with us.
We have a week off and you have the championship. Business as usual?
Same game plan as coming into all of the races, we will keep working. But it's awesome to get this championship, it's cool, and congrats to them. Especially to Marvin [Musquin] getting that 250 win for KTM, just an amazing day all around.
You still have des Nations to think about.
Oh yeah, and we have a great group of people, and we're going to over early to get some time in on that deep sand. It's kind of a hectic time, but we all treat each other good and hopeful we can come up with another championship there.
The new number 1.
Simon Cudby photo