2010 SX Champion
"I like winning championships…a lot. It’s addicting," said five-time World Champion and Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Team Manager Roger DeCoster. With that, the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team prepared for the start of the 2010 Supercross season with one goal: win races.
With Ryan Dungey moving up after winning the 2009 Western Regional Lites Championship and becoming the hero of the 2009 Motocross of Nations, hopes were high. Ryan prepared with dedication and focus, and the new 2010 fuel-injected RM-Z450 was fast, smooth and a winner right out of the gate.
The only thing between the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team and the 2010 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship was 17 races. At the end of the Seattle Supercross race on Saturday night, the team showed the world they didn’t need 17 races…they only needed 15 to clinch the title.
The race at Qwest Field in Seattle was the roughest and toughest track of the season, and Dungey finished fourth, which was enough for him to clinch the title.
Roger DeCoster says: "The track was really tough," DeCoster said. "Some of the ruts were so deep and so long that they went from one end of the stadium to the other on the straights. When you see guys this good sitting down while riding, it made everyone look humble. They didn’t look like super champions out there, until you saw the three-foot-deep ruts close up."
Despite the rough track and intense racing Dungey pulled through and earned enough points to secure the Supercross championship. Dungey has now entered an elite club with only one other member: Supercross racers who’ve won the title in their rookie year.
The other rider who managed that is known as the King of Supercross, Jeremy McGrath. Not bad company to keep for a 20-year-old racer from Minnesota at the beginning of a promising racing career.
"Ryan is now a rookie champion, which is pretty amazing," DeCoster said after the race. "Only Jeremy McGrath has done that before, but Dungey is a world champion because this is AMA and an FIM championship. I don’t believe that was the case with McGrath’s first championship, so this is an amazing feat."
Ryan Dungey says: "It’s been an amazing season to sit here after 15 rounds and be the champion," Dungey said after the race. "It was a lot of hard work and effort put in by everybody on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team. As a little kid, I would dream as I watched races and say, ‘One day, I want to be that guy.’ This really is a dream come true, and all the hard work has paid off. The whole team gives 110 percent every week, and when we’re all on the same page this is what can happen. I have to thank the Man Above for making all this happen."
"It was a great season, and we’re thankful and happy and we proved that the equipment is good and Suzuki has a good base bike to work with," DeCoster said. "The Rockstar Makita Suzuki team did a good job setting it up."
The fuel-injected 2010 RM-Z450 made a statement at the first round of the series and has proved, race after race, that it has the horsepower and the handling to take on everything Supercross has to offer.
Dungey started off the season just the way Team Manager Roger DeCoster and ace Technician Mike "Goose" Gosselaar had planned. At Anaheim 1, Dungey shot out of the starting gate and made it known that he wasn’t racing for just a podium spot-he was gunning for the top spot. After leading lap after lap, defending Supercross champion James Stewart caught up to him.
Most racers may have conceded to Stewart and his reputation for fast and aggressive racing, but not Dungey. Dungey battled every second of the race until the checkered flag flew, and then he was only a very short distance behind Stewart.
The tone for 2010 was set. Dungey was out to race hard and win. That night, Dungey took the second spot on the podium, and Goose took the MMI award for outstanding technician. The matchup of Dungey, DeCoster, Goose, and the RM-Z450 was already making people take notice, from the stands to the pits.
The fuel-injected RM-Z450 was well suited to Dungey’s racing style, and it propelled him to great starts and fast getaways at the beginning of the season. At Round 2, Dungey got his first Supercross victory and the holeshot.
His RM-Z450′s immediate throttle response, impressive power output, and race-minded gearing gave Dungey that winning edge he needed. The 450′s frame is lighter than last year’s model, and every ounce counts when you’re flying over triple and carving berms in the heat of battle. With a larger radiator, the bike stayed cooler while pumping out horsepower and torque.
All the pieces of the RM-Z450 work together in harmony to make for the perfect race machine, and it was obvious that Dungey was hitting his stride with the bike and was very comfortable on the track.
Dungey continued to collect points, and became the series point leader after Round 2 in Phoenix. Amazingly, the talented rider never gave up that lead. While he didn’t always win, and a few races he didn’t find the podium, no other racer on the track was as consistent as Ryan Dungey and no other machine was as mechanically sound as the Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450.
Dungey won a total of five races. Phoenix was the spot for the first Supercross win of his career, and he followed that up with wins in Anaheim 2, Atlanta, Dallas and St. Louis. Dungey finished on the podium in 10 of the 15 races so far.
He got three of the first four holeshots of the season, including Anaheim 1, Phoenix, and San Francisco. The holeshot at Round 3 in Anaheim 2 went to Dungey’s teammate Austin Stroupe, who was also riding the fuel-injected RM-Z450. It was a great way to start the season, and it was a great way to show people instead of tell them that the bike was powerful and fast.
Dungey’s appeal has stretched further than the reach of Supercross. With a slew of impressive sponsors, including Rockstar, Makita, Yoshimura, and Fox Racing, he’s even got the attention of retail giant Target and the extremely selective Nike 6.0.
Ryan helped design Nike’s Air MX boot and was the only racer who rode the entire season with them. Dungey also has two very important racing legends standing by him who believe he is the future of the sport of motocross racing: five-time World Champion Roger DeCoster and Supercross’s "Greatest of All Time" Ricky Carmichael.
"It’s nice to win it with someone like Ryan because we picked him up from the Suzuki amateur support program and we started off with somebody who a lot of people weren’t paying attention to," DeCoster said. "He came and talked to us a few times and he gave off a good impression and we had a feeling he would be good. We tried it out and he got better and better, and after this season, now he’s a rookie champion."
Dungey also credits his family and their unwavering support for his success, as well as the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team that has put together one of the most impressive race bikes ever to hit the Supercross track: the 2010 fuel-injected RM-Z450.