Of all the riders that Red Bull could choose to add to their roster for the 2012 Supercross series, Ryan Dungey’s name is at the top of the list. Dungey, the 2010 AMA Supercross Champion, has joined legendary team manager Roger DeCoster’s Red Bull KTM squad for ’12, and will attempt to bring the Austrian motorcycle brand its first-ever Stateside SX title in the coming year.
We caught up with Dungey recently during a testing session with the team in Corona, California, and here’s what he had to say…
So Ryan, you just finished up a few early-morning practice motos, how do you feel?
I feel good! It’s really early in the off-season, and it was nice to have a little break after the 2011 Outdoors and Motocross of Nations -- I took some time off to recharge the batteries. I started testing about three weeks ago, and I’m really excited to be with the new team here at Red Bull KTM.
Things are going well; testing has been a lot of fun, and I’ve been trying to put a couple of motos in just to get things started. Basically, we’re getting a nice package deal from KTM for the bike, that way when I get home to Florida I can put in some practice laps and times to get ready for the 2012 Supercross season.
"They want to do whatever it takes to dominate, and that’s a challenge I was looking forward to."
You squeezed in enough testing to make it to the MEC race; what a great performance on a new bike -- congrats on the podium finish!
Thanks! We actually did a lot of preparation. I had about a week and a half right before the event where I was able to put some time in on the bike, just turning laps. I think for all of us everything came together a little quicker than we expected, so we figured, what better than to put it to the real test and race at the MEC, and it was good.
Although we didn’t win, we came in second and it was really nice to get a sense of direction about where we could improve; I think we left that race winning in my eyes. We made great steps moving forward, at least.
Did you find a way to spend those winnings yet?
[laughs] No, at this point we just put it away for savings. We had a little fun, played a couple hundred dollars at the tables -- nothing crazy. We have to be smart these days.
You’re teamed up with Roger DeCoster again; you guys have a great track record and a couple of championships under your belts. Do you feel any added pressure to succeed this year, given your history?
Well, being back with Roger is great. I started with him in the very beginning of my career. He’s the guy who picked me out of the amateurs and gave me a chance; he saw something in me, which was really cool. The last five years we’ve been able to build a great friendship on and off the track. I really enjoy working with Roger because I know he’s got a ton of knowledge and I know we will get to accomplish things faster.
It’s great to be partnered with him again, but as far as added pressure? Not at all. I only feel like the pressure would be [coming from] myself, and that’s just not the case. With KTM, they’ve been very dominant in Europe so I think they want to elevate their program here stateside. They want to do whatever it takes to dominate, and that’s a challenge I was looking forward to.
Tell me about your first impressions riding and hanging with your new teammates, Ken Roczen (pictured with Ryan above) and Marvin Musquin.
I got to know Ken a little bit at the MX of Nations in 2009 and he’s a great kid, really young with a bright future; I think he’s going to be a great guy to watch as he progresses through his career. He’s a lot of fun and brings a great mood to the track. It’s super positive to be around that type of atmosphere, so it’s good to have him on board and get to know him a little more.
Same with Marvin, also a talented rider. Both of these guys have World Championship [titles], and Marvin had quite a bit of success over in Europe before landing over here, and he’s showing that he’s got what it takes to win here as well. He’s also a great kid to hang out with. He’s super polite and we all get along, which is important as a team. We spend a lot of time testing and riding together, and I think it’s important that we all work together so we can push each other to get better and better.
Well, I know Red Bull KTM fans are looking forward to a winning season…
Yeah, absolutely -- it’s going to be a lot of fun. I believe we have a very solid team. Everyone’s bought in 100%, and we’ve got to believe and enjoy it along the way -- I hope we can accomplish what we’ve set out to do!