Ryan Dungey Vital Motocross

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Watching Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey make the jump from the West Coast Lites series to the 450s in Indy was one of the most interesting highlights from last weekend. While he did have a couple tough crashes in practice, his fourth-place finish was a solid result, and a bright spot for the team in an injury-filled season. Afterwards, we asked him about the challenge that the 450 provided.

What all went into the decision to move from the 250F to the 450 for the East Coast swing?

“You know, it all really kind of started with Roger and I talking about it. Obviously they don’t have too many 450 guys out there, so I kind of went to Roger a little bit, and he came to me, so we kind of had it in our heads and came together on it. We weren’t all, ‘We’re going to race right away.’ I wanted to ride it and make sure I feel like I could put a good ride in on it and see how I felt. Once I got that, I think a week later I made a decision.”

Ryan Dungey Vital Motocross

We’d heard reports of good lap times on the test track.

“Yeah, the times were good, and maybe a little bit faster than my Lites times, so it was kind of like, ‘All right, this is cool.’ We did some testing, got the bike better and better, and it was like, ‘All right, let’s have some fun.’”

So tell us about the day, with practice and everything.

“In practice, I’m sure everybody knew that I had a few get-offs. I just tried to keep a positive attitude. I’m just here for fun, I’m not here to set the world on fire. The first one I was just trying to get the track down and cased something and went over…slow-motion. Then the second one was basically the same thing. I was kind of coasting that lap, checking new lines, and just didn’t hit it with enough speed and slowly went over. I’m thankful I’m all right. I’ve got a couple scratches, but I’m good.”

What was it like riding with some of the guys in the main event?

“Like your whole life you’ve watched these guys, like Windham and Reed. Before I even turned pro I watched these guys, so to be out there with them was cool. And the one thing I noticed is that they respect you. Unless you do something, they’ll come after you, but they’ve got respect, and they’re calm and not all aggro. Everyone was just real chill. I don’t know if that’s the 450, you have to ride it like that. But they didn’t come in on you, they didn’t throw it on on you hard or anything like that. So I’ve got a lot of respect for the 450 guys.”

“It’s nice to ride with guys who aren’t there to take you out. So it was good.”

Ryan Dungey Vital Motocross

What’s the plan between now and Seattle?

I’d like to do some more 450 rounds. We’re just going to take it week-by-week. Maybe Daytona, maybe my hometown (Minneapolis). There’s going to have to come a point where I’ve got to get ready on my Lites bikes. So definitely not all the way out to the end, but a few races I’d like to get on the 450.”

Do you think this will help you on the Lites bikes?

“Yeah, that’s one reason, too. I kind of ended the West…not like I’d like to, so to try and make a bad situation better, I think that’s what I was doing. Just out here to have fun. I had fun, and I’m glad I did it.”

“People have asked, ‘What if you wad?’ I think, ‘Yeah, but what if I do good?’ It was good to come out with a fourth-place finish. It ain’t a win, but it feels like one. It feels good.”

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