Defending Supercross champ Ryan Dungey says that feels good about getting second place at the opening round of the Monster Energy Supercross Series After all, he finished second at Anaheim I last year and we all know how the rest of the season turned out. We spoke with Dungey moments after he finished a strong second to Ryan Villopoto after the main event.
You might not have won tonight, but a second is not a bad way to start the season, as especially at this race with all the pre-race hype and not really knowing where everybody is, including, perhaps, yourself. You finished second last year at Anaheim I and the season turned out pretty well for you.
Yeah, it’s a great start to the season. Obviously, we come here to win, that’s the goal, but it’s the season opener and I’m not going to get greedy. I felt like – the bike – we chased it a little bit as far as set up in the beginning today, trying to find a good setting with the bike, but we found one and it settled in real nice. I just came up a little shy on the start; I didn’t get the start. That’s what it’s about. I think we can take from this race and get a good gauge on our bikes and make a plan moving forward. And if there’s anything we can approve, and now after the first race, we’re going to go after it. I definitely felt great, I really couldn’t be more happy on the night, and we just now have to keep moving forward. It’s a long series and we need to keep our heads down and keep moving forward.
Do you feel that you might’ve answered your critics tonight?
Yeah, this is why I was really looking forward to this season. Last season was fun, I was a rookie and didn’t know what to expect. But having a year of experience under my belt is good, and the off-season went good. We worked hard and did our job and came out strong. Starting off here at Anaheim 1 and getting second, I think was a great start to the season. It’s something good to begin with and start building for the future. I think overall it was a good event and I have to thank my team.
You had a pretty hard fall at the end of practice session and ended up walking off the track. What happened?
I tried a different line and cross-rutted, and the front end dropped. It was a nasty little get-off.
Did you injure yourself at all?
Thankfully I was okay and didn’t get hurt. I definitely can’t be doing that. The front end was all twisted up and couldn’t ride the bike, so I’m glad to be able to walk away from that one. Stuff like that – it’s a tough sport, so we have to keep our heads up, we can’t be [doing that] – we have to be focused.
You didn’t have a great heat race. Where you concerned about that?
Yeah, I was concerned a little bit. I got squeezed off on the start, but in reality, we got a good read [on the bike and track] and as the laps went down, I got more comfortable with my bike and was able to lower my lap times. Once I got the bike dialed in I felt pretty solid.
Talk us through your main event.
I got a so-so start and moved into fourth place after a few passes, so that worked out. But Ryan got away, so I was kind of playing catch-up. But he rode a solid race and that was good for him.
Stewart gained some ground on you during the race, but at one point, you seemed to realize he was coming and you picked it up.
Yeah, the track was funny and it was difficult to find the groove. It was difficult to make up time, and you had to do everything perfect. You could lose a lot too if you weren’t careful. I just tried to put down good laps. I saw James coming and I just tried to focus more on what was in front of me. I just needed to ride within my limits and keep pushing myself.
How will you prepare for the next round in Phoenix?
Well, Phoenix is always a slippery track, and I think there are a few things we can work on. I think to leave here feeling there is room for improvement is a good feeling and we will take that and try to work on the bike and make it better and see what we can do. Winning is the goal, absolutely, but I think we made the best of the situation tonight. I’m glad to walk away from this and head to Phoenix.