As Anaheim 1 draws near, racers begin to really focus on the upcoming season opener and are usually a bit harder to get ahold of. Not Ryan Dungey, though. The Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider remains one of the most down-to-Earth factory riders who is always willing to chat for a few minutes. With the recent rumors floating around about a possible broken ankle, we figured that we’d get the word, straight from RD himself.
There have been some rumors floating around again that you broke your ankle. Can you give us an update as to what's going on?
The rumors aren't true. Thankfully, I am 100 percent healthy and my preparation has been going well. I don't know where the rumors came from or how they started, but I'm thankful to be completely healthy and ready to go.
The other part of the rumor was that you hurt it break dancing…
(Laughs) I have no idea where this is coming from! C'mon! Break dancing?
How are things going? Are you riding East or West?
I'll be riding the West Coast series. Things have been going great! I've been riding at Ricky's [Carmichael] place with Ivan [Tedesco] a lot. I am currently looking for a place over here in Tallahassee. I've been everywhere around the United States and Florida is where I want to be. Being away from home is tough, but being down here is the one place that I don't make excuses to go back home. I've been looking for land, but I am also riding a lot with Ricky and Ivan. Things are going really well, and I think it's always good to have somebody to chase and keep you honest.
Who is faster: you or Ivan?
Ivan is going really fast right now! He's definitely been doing his homework, as have I, but he is going fast. It's actually pretty cool to see the progress we've both made since we started riding together a few months ago. A1 is where it's going to be, so that's what we're preparing for.
Seeing as how the '09 RM-Z250 is virtually identical to the '08 model, how much testing was involved this year?
There hasn't been a whole lot of testing. After the outdoors wrapped up this year, we did a lot of testing with the motor, and the suspension has been improving as well. The motor is really strong this year; I need to give it up to Ian at the shop. The bike is working awesome.
The pre-season buzz is that you are the guy to beat on the 250F–both indoors and outdoors. How do you feel about that? Are you confident and ready to dominate?
A lot of people have seen that I'm able to win, and I should've won the Supercross title in '08. 2009 is a new year and there are a lot of people who are going fast, but that's what motivates me to beat everyone. I can't count anybody out this year, but I know what I need to do. I'd love to dominate the season, but I am going to put everything together and see what happens. I feel like I am ready, and I am ready to give this thing a go.
Who do you see as being your biggest competition in Supercross?
To be honest I don't even know who is riding the West Coast series (laughs). I heard [Austin] Stroupe was riding West Coast but then he got hurt; I heard [Christohpe] Pourcel was riding West Coast but then he broke his collarbone. I'm sure they'll be prepared for the season. I just know that I've done my best this off-season and I'll be prepared when I line up for Anaheim 1.
How is it hanging out in Tallahassee compared to other places you've been?
Tallahassee actually reminds me of Minnesota to be perfectly honest. It's really green up here because of all the rain we get. It also helps the tracks stay moist, too. Where I live feels like I'm miles away from anything, but the reality is that I'm only a mile away from everything. It's a really cool area, and I enjoy it here. My parents were down here and we had a lot of fun.
How 'bout the chicks?
This is the one area where the girls are all over the place. I walk around and just shake my head because I can't believe how many beautiful girls are down here. You sit here in awe about how naturally beautiful these girls are. It's unreal! I don't know what it is, but there are a ton beautiful girls here.
We may need to send the snapshots camera to you again so that you can turn in all chick photos…
Yeah. Just expect me to take photos of family stuff, but really I'll return the camera with tons of hot chick photos (laughs).
Have you gone gothic on us? I've seen some photos of you with dark hair…
I haven't gone gothic. Before my birthday I was getting my hair cut and decided to color my hair black. I just wanted to switch it up, you know? It's not going to be as long as you've seen in the other photos; I'll need to get it cut. I should just buzz it all off before Anaheim, huh?
The first day you rode, did you get black streaks down your face?
(Laughs) No. That didn't happen. I got it done professionally. If I'd done it myself, that probably would've happened.
We've seen the video of you and Chad Reed riding together. How is it having Reed as your teammate?
It's good! I've been able to test with him a little bit. He invited the entire Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki team to come out to his house to test, and it was really cool. We did a lot of riding together. He would jump in behind me and put the pressure on. It was good to have it, and thanks to him for letting us all come down there. Ricky Carmichael came down, too. We had a lot of fun and did a lot of testing. On and off the track, Reed is a great guy, so it was really an enjoyable experience.
What are you expecting Reed to do come Anaheim 1?
He's done well in the past, but I've never seen him go as fast as he is going right now. He's looking very fast, so I am pretty curious to see what happens.
Suzuki announced that they had pulled the plug on their amateur support program. Wasn't your little brother a part of that?
He is actually on Team Green Kawasaki now. He's been with them for a year now, and it's probably a blessing in disguise that he is with them.
You have a new look this year as you are wearing One Industries gear. Is it pretty cool to be the poster boy for a new line of clothing like that?
It is! Going out to San Diego for their opening press release was pretty cool. It's been great ever since then. The gear has been working out well, and I am really happy with the entire deal. Everybody at One Industries is doing a great job, and I get along with everybody really well. I like the change and the gear looks awesome, so I'm excited to start wearing it at the races.
What do you have planned for the holidays?
I'm heading back home to Minnesota. I have a lot of family that'll be coming in from different places, so we'll be home for a little while. Afterward, I'll be coming out to good ole California.
What are hoping Santa Claus brings you?
Ahh… Nothing. I just want to see my family. I haven't seen them in a while.