News 23 Jan 2017

Defending champion Dungey on Roczen's Anaheim 2 disaster

New points leader cautious on way to first race victory of 2017.

Source: Supplied.

Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey has taken control of the 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series following his first win of the year at Anaheim 2, overcoming a heat race incident to qualify via the semi and carry that momentum into the main.

Targeting a fourth-career 450SX championship, Dungey capitalised on a heavy crash and subsequent injury of previous points leader Ken Roczen after leading all 22 laps of the final under difficult conditions.

“The main event was tricky,” Dungey said. “I felt good, but my second half of the race definitely wasn’t as good as I’d like it with what happened and then seeing Ken’s incident. I knew the track could reach out and bite you – I had multiple close calls.

“I was like ‘man, do we keep going after it or be smart and tame it down a little bit?’. Overall, for all the adversity that we had to face, I’m glad that we were able to come away with the win today – a hard-earned one.”

Dungey said it’s a fine line between winning races and crashing out of contention, especially when recent rain in Southern California has impacted the track preparations carried out. It’s understood that’s what ultimately caught Roczen out.

“You’re trying your best, you give it your all, you make a mistake and sometimes it costs you,” he added. “Then again, you can’t ride scared out there either. The pace is only getting faster, the riders are only getting better and the equipment.

“Dirt Works do a great job and it’s not their fault, but when you cover [the track], the rain’s gotta go somewhere in those [transitions] and it creates a little bit of a soft spot. It’s nobody’s fault, it’s mother nature and that’s what happens.

“I hate to see stuff like that happen and I’m not like ‘wow’, I’m more like ‘I hope he’s okay’ and I don’t wish that upon nobody. Especially the sport, we need him, a guy like that, so it’s unfortunate at times. Let’s hope he’s okay too.”

Dungey now holds a seven-point lead three rounds into the standings over teammate Marvin Musquin, while Roczen has fallen down the order to third and 18 points in arrears. It’s not certain when he will be able to return after sustaining a compound fracture of his left forearm.