Suzuki's rookie ace Supercross class racer Ryan Dungey went into Round 4 of the series on Saturday night the points leader, and he leaves San Francisco's AT&T Field still in the lead with 90 points. Dungey finished fourth in the Supercross main event, after leading the race for the first half.
With a shortened practice schedule due to rain that fell in San Francisco in the days leading up to the race, riders were given a total of 15 minutes of practice before the heat races. After timed practice, Dungey was in the second spot with a time of 53.337. During the Heat #1, Dungey was second for most of the 8 laps, but he clipped a Tuff Block in the final laps and finished 6th.
As the gate dropped for the main event, Dungey came out with the holeshot. At his best, he had more than a 9-second lead on the field about half way through the race. The rhythm section he had troubles with on during heat race proved to be his nemesis, and Dungey's boot caught in a rut, resulting in the racer separating from his bike and an ultimate crash.
With the gap he had given himself with great line choice, Dungey was able to get back on his bike in second place. The 20-year-old rookie from Minnesota crossed the finish line in fourth spot after struggling with a bent clutch lever and a bent front brake rotor, which left him essentially without a front brake for the rest of the race.
Ryan Dungey Speaks...
"After practice, I felt good," Dungey said. "I think we made some good changes to the bike. I felt confident in the heat race, but I had a little tip over, so I tried to regroup. I came out and got a great holeshot in the main, and then I caught my foot and threw it away. I salvaged it for fourth, which is not too bad. I'm thankful that I'm alright and healthy."
His fourth-place finish in San Francisco was enough to keep him 12 points ahead of second place.
Team Manager Roger DeCoster was feeling confident going into the race, and afterwards was happy that his racer was uninjured.
Roge Decoster Speaks...
"It could've been a lot worse," DeCoster said. "We're leaving here still with the points lead; we gave up a few points, but considering after his crash he had no front brake and no clutch and he still came out in fourth place, that's still pretty good. I'm sure he's going to be sore, but there's no serious injury. The bike was working well, so this week we probably have more to do with a chiropractor than a mechanic."
Dungey is looking forward to practicing for next week's San Diego race. Austin Stroupe, Dungey's Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammate who is filling in on the RM-Z450 in the Supercross class for Matt Moss, missed the race due to illness. He is expected to return to action in San Diego.
Round 5 of the AMA Supercross series will take place at Qualcomm Stadium on February 6. Check back here at Ultimate Motorcycling for the Supercross race preview and race results.