The 2012 AMA Supercross/Motocross championships will be drastically different for Ryan Dungey.
The Belle Plaine, Minn., rider went pro in late 2006, joining the Suzuki factory team. Dungey remained with Suzuki, taking his first AMA Supercross Lites title in 2009. He then followed that with the 2010 AMA Supercross and Motocross titles, the first rider in history to do so.
But when his contract with Suzuki was complete at the closing of the 2011 AMA Motocross Championship, Dungey joined the Red Bull KTM SX team with former team manager and lifelong mentor, Roger DeCoster.
While the team manager of Suzuki back in 2006, DeCoster picked Dungey to pilot the Suzuki RM-Z450 following the retirement of Ricky Carmichael. DeCoster remained with Suzuki until the 2011 AMA Supercross/Championship season, when he joined KTM. Following this announcement, the rumors immediately began that Dungey would join KTM for the 2012 Supercross/Motocross season..and these rumors were true.
Ryan Dungey (Red Bull KTM SX-F 450) says: "Roger wasn’t a deciding factor in my move to KTM, but it definitely helped. I’ve worked with him from the beginning of my professional career and we have four or five years under our belt. I know that if Roger says the bike and the team are good, then it is.
"I guess the trust I have in him, our friendship, and what we’ve been able to build over the last few years has helped and made the transition in coming to KTM a little easier. But more than anything, the level of commitment to win races and win championships was a challenge I looked forward to."
Dungey debuted on the KTM at this year’s inaugural Monster Energy Cup; Dungey finished second overall behind 2011 AMA Supercross/Motocross champion, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto.
Ryan Dungey says: "I’m really glad I raced the Monster Cup. I first decided not to because of the amount of time I had on the bike. I just wanted to be ready. But, to be honest, things were going really well. The bike was coming along a lot quicker than we all thought. From that point forward, we figured let’s go out there and race to see what we got.
"Although we didn’t win, we came in second, and I think it was a great night. And, we were able to walk away from that race knowing what we needed to improve on. We went back to the drawing board to see what we can do, and the next week (we) were out there testing, making improvements."
For 2012, Dungey will be lining up against fellow champions that are going to challenge him tremendously throughout the AMA Supercross and Motocross championships, including Joe Gibbs Yamaha’s James Stewart and Villopoto.
Ryan Dungey says: "I think for the 2012 supercross season we have our work cut out for us, for sure. There’s a lot of great riders out there and a lot of talented people, but I think in the long run for us, we (need to) work hard and do what we have to do. I think we’re driven and will do all that we can on any given night.
"In the amount of time I’ve been on the bike, things are moving well. Right from the get-go, I felt like the bike was really comfortable. I adapted to it really well. From that point forward, it was just minor changes. You can do so many things with a factory supercross bike that it allows you to make something fit and work the way you want it to.
"I think it’s just been a matter of finding those little spots that are going to help. It’s been great. As we keep moving along, making more and more progress, it’s really nice because nobody settles. Everyone is always pushing for more, so for us, we’re digging deeper and deeper to get better and better.
"As a supercross team, I think we have a great atmosphere,. There are a lot of hard-working people and everyone is 100% dedicated to win races, as am I. That’s what (means) more for me. Throughout my career, I’ve tried to surround myself with good people – people who are driven, who want to get to that (next level) and are also knowledgeable. I think we’ve got a great group of people with a lot of knowledge and it doesn’t hurt that we all want to win, which in the long run brings success and achievement."
Dungey’s first outing on the Red Bull/KTM Factory Team will be at Angel Stadium Jan. 7, 2012, for the opening round of the 2012 AMA Supercross Championship, in which he’ll compete on the KTM 450 SX-F in the premier class.