Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey may not be taking home this year's Monster Energy Supercross title, but at times this season the former champion demonstrated that he could be the fastest rider on the track. Even though his season would be regarded by most standards as successful, to Dungey, who won a Supercross and motocross title in his 450 rookie season, it might be considered as coming up short. With only one round left in the series, and a new season soon beginning, will Vegas still see Ryan Dungey go for broke? We had a chance to speak with Ryan at Milestone MX Park yesterday, where the Red Bull KTM team was testing for the upcoming Nationals.
We know as a title contender you wanted to hold up the number one plate at the end of the year, but overall how do you feel about the 2013 Supercross season and your results?
Well, definitely the season went good and even though the championship is already wrapped up, I think there is a lot of good to take from it. I think we started off—I wouldn't say slowly—but I think we were searching a little bit with the rear shock and trying to get better. I'm not saying we were far from it, but we were just fine tuning things a little bit. But things were good in the beginning and I was able to be consistent. I had some off races that lost us some points, and that put us back quite a bit, but once we got moving forward and things started getting in the grind around Indianapolis, we made some changes on the shock and the bike, and got the settings to work a little better, and from there I was able to feel more and more comfortable. I felt really good on the bike. Speed and fitness wise, everything felt good, and going from race to race we were pretty consistent. Last weekend in Salt Lake City we put in a good, hard charge, and if we were able to finish in front of [Ryan] Villopoto we would have been able to bring the championship into Vegas. But it's already wrapped up and I think there is a lot of good to take from it. We'll take this year and just build from that as we go into next year's Supercross season.
How are you approaching Vegas this weekend with the championship wrapped up and a new season starting in a few weeks? Will you still be going for the win, or are you starting to concentrate more on the Nationals?
I feel that it's only right that we go in the same as we did before, you know? There's one thing different, but as far as second and third go [in the championship], we're third in points but we're only three points behind. So our goal will be to try to win the race that night, and if we can win that, then we'll be second in points, and that still means a lot. It's definitely still a good accomplishment. The goal was the championship, but that's still important to us as well. So we'll go in there with the same mentality, and then after that it's two weeks until the first round at Hangtown. We're out here today at Milestone doing a little testing, trying to get ahead of the game, but we were able to do some testing outdoor-wise previously to this in Florida after Toronto, when we had that break over Easter. But it's going to come quick. It's such a short turnaround from Supercross to motocross that it can catch you off guard, and especially when you have to be there Wednesday for press, it's really only a week and a half, if that!
How much testing for the outdoors have you done already?
This is just our second day, but this year is better, just because last year we were starting with a brand new setting; we were starting from scratch and had to build from that through the outdoor season. And now we've been able to dissect it, find what we like, and get a good base setting to start with. That's what is cool. Now it's just about fine tuning it and making things a little better. We did make big changes just to try them, but now it's just about little tenths here and there.
Will you be running the air shock at all this summer?
No, not at the moment. Right now we're going to stick to the regular set-up.
What are your thoughts going into Hangtown?
My thoughts on Hangtown are trying to get a good solid set-up, and spend these two weeks wisely. But at Hangtown, the game plan is to win. Good starts will be important. It's the first race, but to go out there and get a 1-1 would definitely be the key, and to carry that over. It's going to go fast, too, because it's four races in a row, right off the bat. So you're going to have to be ready and have your stuff together because it's going to go fast.
Photos: Donn Maeda