Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey raced to second place at Saturday night’s AMA/ FIM Supercross at Indianapolis and continues to lead the series, tied on points with Ryan Villopoto.
The Lucas Oil Stadium was the site of round seven of the Supercross series and the first round of the Eastern Regional Lites Division. The outside weather was frigid, but under the dome, it was warm and comfortable. The track was unusual and tricky with an off-camber hairpin, some difficult whoops, and overall, very technical obstacles.
Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Austin Stroupe was debuting the 2010 Suzuki RM-Z250 in the Lites class and in practice promptly put up some blazing fast times. He ended up qualifying second overall by a few tenths. Going into the heats, the new bike and Stroupe were looking very quick. Dungey was also on the gas on his Rockstar Makita Suzuki RM-Z450, posting fast times initially, but slower traffic balked him from going after the number one qualifying spot. Heading into the heats, though, the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team was looking very strong.
The first Lites heat race saw Stroupe get a little tangled up coming off the gate and found himself in fourth place — not where he wanted to be. At the start of lap three however, he put the brand new Suzuki RM-Z250’s fuel injection to good use motoring into a commanding lead by the chequered flag. On the victory podium Stroupe was clearly happy with the bike, and his own performance.
The 450 Supercross heat race was pretty stacked. Due to a penalty assessed to Ryan Dungey and Jason Lawrence, both riders had last gate pick in their heats. Even with the handicap, Dungey blasted into turn one in third place. Half way into lap one, Dungey passed up into second and took off after the leader. The gap was about three seconds the entire heat race and that’s pretty much how it settled out. Dungey crossed the line in second, a good starting spot for the Main Event assured.
The final for the Lites class saw Stroupe get a close second place start. But a bobble halfway into lap one put him back one spot. At the end of lap two he was still running third. At the beginning of lap four, the second-placed rider slid out putting Stroupe back into second. The positions remained pretty constant up until around lap 10 when the top four riders got into a crowd of lappers. In spite of some very creative line selection on the part of the lappers, Stroupe maintained his second place spot at the flag, making it a great start for the new RM-Z250!
“Tonight, the race was good,” Stroupe said. “We did what we wanted and got on the box. The track was a little slick and so we settled in and it was fine. We are good in points and look forward to moving up a spot. My bike worked so good. The fuel injection and everything about the new RM-Z250 is spot on. It’s a really great bike.”
The 450 Supercross event was a great race. Dungey got off the line in fourth place, but after a bobble by the third-placed rider, he quickly moved into third. Dungey was in third for many laps but finally ran down the third place rider, Kevin Windham, and passed him for second.
As in the Lites race, Dungey chased the leader but both were balked by lappers numerous times. Dungey closed on the last lap but it was not to be, and he settled for a justly deserved second place and tied for most points in the series. Overall, Dungey was happy with his ride and his team’s efforts:
“Things turned out considerably good,” Dungey said after the event. “We did a lot of work, a lot of testing coming into this first East Coast race, so it was good. First practice was a little tough, in the end we really worked together and we ended up having a good event. We ended up salvaging a second, so that was good for points.
Team Manager Roger DeCoster was philosophical at the end of the evening: “The night started off really bad in the qualifiers. Lawrence was out there playing his games and Ryan retaliated on the last lap, and on the very last corner the officials were right there and instead of penalising just Lawrence, they penalised both of them. Had Dungey not retaliated, only Lawrence would have been penalised. But Dungey maybe lost his cool a little bit, and so the officials put both of them last pick on the gate for their heats.
“It was a big loss for Dungey as he was one of the fastest guys on the track. But he did a good job and came out second or third in the first turn and got second in the heat. Then in the Main, he got second again. Considering everything that happened, he was tough, hung in there, and is still in the hunt for the championship. Next week we should be even stronger,” added DeCoster.
In the 250 East Coast Lites division, DeCoster was very happy with Stroupe, who debuted the new Suzuki RM-Z250. “Austin did a very good job tonight. Everyone knows that Pourcel is good — in fact, a lot of people think he should have moved up to the 450 class. He’s been in the Lites for a while now, and has dominated the East Coast in the past. But that considered, Austin was right there. He was really good and really fast and in contention for the win. I think when he gets a little more confident and smoothes out a little bit more, he will be able to race Pourcel… and win.”
Supercross results: 1 Ryan Villopoto (Kawasaki), 2 Ryan Dungey (Rockstar Makita Suzuki), 3 Kevin Windham (Honda), 4 Justin Brayton (Yamaha), 5 Davi Millsaps (Honda), 6 Chris Blose (Honda), 7 Grant Langston (Yamaha), 8 Nick Wey (Kawasaki), 9 Josh Hill (Yamaha), 10 Jason Lawrence (Yamaha).
Championship points: 1 Dungey 145, 2 Villopoto 145, 3 Hill 135, 4 Millsaps 114, 5 Windham 106, 6 Brayton 105, 7 Tedesco 97, 8 Wey 74, 9 Short 659, 10 Hahn 61.
SX Lites results: 1 Christophe Pourcel (Kawasaki), 2 Austin Stroupe (Rockstar Makita Suzuki), 3 Justin Barcia (Honda), 4 Ryan Sipes (Yamaha), 5 Brett Metcalfe (Honda), 6 Dean Wilson (Kawasaki), 7 Kyle Regal (Yamaha), 8 Nico Izzi (Yamaha), 9 Martin Davalos (Yamaha), 10 Troy Adams (Suzuki).
Suzuki is giving away a set of Ryan Dungey’s Fox Race Gear. To enter this free competition, click here and answer the question to stand a chance of winning.
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