What Really Happened: Unadilla MX
Dungey wraps it up, Musquin gets his first
Dungey tops off a great day for KTM
Story and photos by Shan Moore
The Unadilla round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Series couldn’t have worked out much better for KTM and Roger DeCoster, with Ryan Dungey giving the Austrian firm it’s first-ever 450 outdoor motocross title with solid 1-1 performance. Dungey did the deed with two rounds left on the schedule, thanks to eight consecutive overall wins and 10-straight podiums. As if to add icing to the cake, Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin claimed his first-ever overall win in the series on the same day that his 250-class teammate Ken Roczen grabbed his first-ever moto win. For sure, KTM must be thanking its lucky stars for the day they convinced DeCoster to leave Suzuki.
It’s been less than a year since Dungey signed with KTM, in a move that many thought would be a career-ending one. Since then, however, the Minnesota rider has given KTM its first-ever AMA Supercross win, and this past weekend, its first 450 outdoor title.
Consistency has been Dungey’s M.O. from the start and though he’s been criticized for not being aggressive enough, most of the aggressive riders are on the sidelines right now recovering from injury, while Dungey gets the last laugh.
At Unadilla, Dungey was patient while moving to the front in the opening moto, after a bad start and a tip-over dropped him as far back as eighth on lap three. One by one, early leaders Michael Byrne, Jake Weimer and James Stewart all crashed out of the lead, as Dungey worked his way towards the front. With two laps to go, Dungey passed Broc Tickle to take the lead and the eventual win.
In the second moto, Dungey took less time getting out front, passing holeshotter Andrew Short on lap three. Title rival Mike Alessi, who DNFed the first moto when a rock punctured his radiator, put pressure on Dungey in an effort to extend the championship chase, however, Dungey was up to the task and crossed the finish line with a second-and-a-half to spare over the MotoConcepts Suzuki rider.
Afterwards, Dungey talked about winning the title.
“This was a pretty amazing day,” said Dungey. “I knew if everything went the right way, we could wrap the championship up, but I really just focused on putting in a solid day and then moving on to Steel City. Mike (Alessi) has been real consistent and I just didn’t really expect him to DNF. So it’s amazing to get this championship.”
James Stewart was supposed to make his return to action at Southwick one week before, but instead waited until Unadilla to rejoin the series after missing most of the schedule with an injured hand. Most likely, the Yoshimura Suzuki rider is wishing he’d skipped Unadilla as well.
After working his way into the lead early in moto one, Stewart lost the front end and went down after landing from a jump. He was in 38th by the time he got his bike to start. But by the end of the moto, Stewart had worked his way back up to ninth.
Stewart went down again in the second moto, while running in third behind Dungey and Alessi. This time it was a much harder crash, and he was unable to finish the moto.
Broc Tickle has steady improved from a top-10 guy at the start of the season to a consistent top-five and sometimes podium threat by round 10. The Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider led four laps of the first moto before finishing second to Dungey. And he was a solid fourth ahead of Davi Millsaps in the second moto, his 2-4 performance giving him second overall.
“I got excited when I saw there was a chance of rain, and when I got second overall time in practice I knew it was going to be a good day,” said Tickle. “I just tried to get good starts and it worked out good for me. I still got work to do to be able to run up there all moto. I’m happy with today, and I loved the track today. I normally don’t like this place because I usually struggle here, but today the track was more to my liking.”
Andrew Short was third overall, solidifying his third overall status in the series standings. The Chaparral Honda rider capitalized on a great start in moto two to go 4-3 on the day.
“I had a rough week at Southwick and early in the week I had some health issues and really didn’t know if I was going to race this weekend, so to get on the podium is great; this is a lot more than I expected,” said Short. “Typically I struggle on this track, because it’s more of a European-style track, where it flows at a really high speed. But I think the conditions today were good for me because it was really rutted and it slowed it down – you could point and shoot more, and that’s more my style.”
For the second week in a row, Davi Millsaps finished fourth overall. The JGR Yamaha rider is still nursing a sore ankle, which was a hindrance on the ruts of Unadilla, but still managed 3-5 moto finishes.
“The first moto was good, and the second moto started good, but I didn’t ride very good the first half of that moto,” said Millsaps. “I had bad lines and I just couldn’t pull it together. But fourth overall again isn’t too bad for my second race back. The track was really rutted, which wasn’t good for my ankle. So I was a little timid in the ruts. I was just trying the best I could to keep my leg up and not get it caught in a rut.”
Josh Grant turned in perhaps his best performance of the year with a 5-6 for fifth overall.
“This is better; I’m feeling more comfortable every time I go out there and I’m having fun,” said Grant. “I’m just trying to plug away and work on my mental game. I put myself in a bad position right off the gate in both motos and I need to work on getting better starts and making my life a little easier. Overall, the first moto went good, I just found some good lines that I felt comfortable with. We changed the bike setup last week and I’m feeling good with it.”
In the 250 class, Euros Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin liked the Unadilla course, both saying it resembled a European layout. Roczen has been so close all year to getting that first moto win, and many thought, of the two, he would be the first of the two Red Bull KTM riders to get an overall win. However, consistency paid off for Musquin, who parlayed a 2-3 moto tally into his first-ever AMA outdoor win.
“I like these conditions, because it is all about technique,” said Musquin. “I was standing up on my pegs and finding good lines. Today was perfect for me, the track with a lot of ruts it was like a European track.
“In the first moto, I got a good start but I was too shy in the first three laps and Roczen got the lead. I finally got going when I was in second and I stayed that, which was my best result in a moto. So that was good because Kenny got the first win for KTM and I was second.”
Roczen drew first blood, however, jumping to the early lead in moto one and holding it for the distance.
“I’m super happy to get the moto win,” said Roczen. “I got a pretty decent start, but it also helped that the track reminded me of Europe, it was really rutted, and I really liked it a lot. Plus I had some really good training days this week.”
Roczen was sixth in the second moto, and settled for third overall.
Second overall went to GEICO Powersports Honda’s Eli Tomac, who recovered from a poor start and a sixth in the first moto, to win the second moto.
“In the first moto, I didn’t get a great start, I think I was just inside the top 10,” said Tomac. “After the start I went into the Screw-U section and basically got screwed (laughs). I think Martin Davalos, and Sipes and Barcia were down there and right when I was trying to sneak by on the inside, Martin ended up picking up his bike and he hooked me. I made a couple of other little mistake after that, so overall it was a bad moto for me.”
“The second moto was better, I got by Barcia and just tried to put down so good laps,” said Tomac. “Barcia made a little mistake in a berm and I was able to get a good drive up the hill and get him.”
Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett finished the day in fifth overall, but still holds the 250 points lead by 24 points over Barcia.
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