Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey went 1-1 at Unadilla Raceway to take his eighth consecutive Overall of the season, securing his title as the 2012 Lucas Oil AMA Pro 450 Motocross Champion.
BTO Sports/Palmetto Suzuki's Michael Byrne and Team Yoshimura Suzuki's James Stewart battled for the early lead in the opening 450 class moto, with Stewart taking the spot on the second lap. However, the following lap, Stewart crashed out of the lead, dropping to the tail end of the field, allowing Byrne to reassume the position. The same lap, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Jake Weimer, passed Byrne but went down moments later, unable to finish the race. The Aussie paced the field for the next seven laps and opened a multi-second advantage, only to experience misfortune of his own and suffer an injury that ultimately forced him out of the moto.
Dungey started fifth in the first moto and suffered a crash within the first lap, causing him to fall back to eleventh place. He quickly rebounded and moved back into the top ten on the next lap. He used the remaining laps to pick off riders as he climbed to the top of the pack and eventually put his KTM 450 SX-F into the lead at the two lap board. When the checkered flag flew, Dungey crossed the finish line to take the first moto victory.
Fans lined the fence for the start of moto two in anticipation of watching Dungey make history for KTM as he rode his way to victory in the second moto to claim KTM's first 450 Motocross Championship. Dungey launched off to a fourth place start and moved into third by the fourth corner. The next lap he leaped into second and moments later he had passed for the lead. Dungey never looked back and went on to lead the remaining laps to claim the overall and his first championship aboard a KTM.
Dungey's championship is a historic one for KTM, marking the Australian brand's first title in the 450 Class.
"It was a pretty amazing day," said Dungey. "To be honest, I knew we could wrap (the championship) up today, but my focus was putting on a solid performance and moving forward. Mike (Alessi) has been riding well, but unfortunately there was a DNF. In the second moto, I just wanted to put in a solid ride and wrap up this championship. It's amazing to see everything that's gone in to making this moment happen. It's pretty special."
"It has been an amazing year with the Red Bull/KTM Team," remarked Dungey on the podium. "I am so happy to clinch this championship and so grateful to every member of the Red Bull/KTM Team and my family that have helped me get here today. When I joined the KTM team last October, Roger told me that we would be championship contenders and I believed him. It has come true today."
Red Bull/KTM Factory Team Manager Roger DeCoster was elated with Dungey's victory, stating, "The team and Ryan have worked so hard this season. We have seen him have success in Supercross and then suffer an injury only to come back stronger. This is a great moment for the team, for KTM and for Ryan. We are very proud of him and look forward to running the number one plate at the final two races."
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Broc Tickle posted a career-best runner-up finish (2-4), while Team Chaparral Honda's Andrew Short rounded out the podium in third (4-3).
In the 250 Class, GEICO Honda's Zach Bell positioned himself at the front of the field in the opening moto and led the first two laps before giving way to Red Bull KTM's Ken Roczen, of Germany. Once out front, Roczen pulled away from the field and claimed his first moto win of the season.
GEICO Honda's Justin Barcia took advantage of the holeshot in the second moto to open an early lead, and rebound from a seventh-place finish in the first moto. Behind him, fellow GEICO Honda rider Eli Tomac and Red Bull KTM's Marvin Musquin began to assert themselves at the front of the field.
Tomac eventually closed in on Barcia and passed his teammate on Lap 8, pulling away for the moto win. Musquin solidified himself in third through the remainder of the moto and the consistency was enough to award the former two-time World Motocross Champion the Overall.
"This is my best result here," said Musquin. "I was finding good lines, and this track is really about technique. I also got two good starts. In the first moto, I was happy to follow Kenny (Roczen) and in the second moto I was determined to get a good start because I haven't been doing that this year. I kept thinking about the Overall, because I knew Tomac and Barcia had trouble (in Moto 1). With Kenny and Ryan (Dungey) winning as well, it was a good day for KTM."
Tomac (6-1) and Roczen (1-6) finished with identical moto results, but Tomac claimed the runner-up position by virtue of the second-moto tiebreaker. Points leader, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Blake Baggett, finished fifth overall but still maintains possession of the 250 class lead, 24 points over Barcia.
450 Class (Moto Finish)
1. Ryan Dungey, KTM (1-1)
2. Broc Tickle, Kawasaki (2-4)
3. Andrew Short, Honda (4-3)
4. Davi Millsaps, Yamaha (3-5)
5. Josh Grant, Kawasaki (5-6)
6. Nico Izzi, Yamaha (6-8)
7. Tyla Rattray, Kawasaki (8-9)
8. Phil Nicoletti, Honda (7-11)
9. Kyle Chisholm, Kawasaki (12-7)
10. Mike Alessi, Suzuki (39-2)
450 Class Championship Standings
1. Ryan Dungey, KTM, 480
2. Mike Alessi, Suzuki, 367
3. Andrew Short, Honda, 311
4. Broc Tickle, Kawasaki, 293
5. Jake Weimer, Kawasaki, 293
6. Josh Grant, Kawasaki, 226
7. Justin Brayton, Honda, 202
8. Kyle Chisholm, Kawasaki, 182
9. James Stewart, Suzuki, 163
10. Davi Millsaps, Yamaha, 150
250 Class (Moto Finish)
1. Marvin Musquin, KTM (2-3)
2. Eli Tomac, Honda (6-1)
3. Ken Roczen, KTM (1-6)
4. Justin Barcia, Honda (7-2)
5. Blake Baggett, Calif., Kawasaki (3-5)
6. Justin Bogle, Honda (11-4)
7. Wil Hahn, Honda (9-8)
8. Jason Anderson, Suzuki (5-12)
9. Martin Davalos, Suzuki (13-7)
10. Jessy Nelson, Honda (14-9)
250 Class Championship Standings
1. Blake Baggett, Kawasaki, 436
2. Justin Barcia, Honda, 412
3. Eli Tomac, Honda, 408
4. Ken Roczen, KTM, 385
5. Marvin Musquin, KTM, 336
6. Wil Hahn, Honda, 255
7. Blake Wharton, Suzuki, 215
8. Jason Anderson, Suzuki, 206
9. Jessy Nelson, Honda, 189
10. Travis Baker, Honda, 168