Team Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey overcame adversity to put his Yoshimura-equipped Suzuki RM-Z450 on the podium with a third-place finish last night during the ninth round of the 2011 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship at the Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, FL. Teammate Brett Metcalfe had a rough night, finishing 18th in the grueling 20-lap main event.
Dungey started the day with a strong showing in practice, ending up with the fourth best time on the tough Daytona layout. In his heat race, his RMZ powered him out of the gate and put him right up to the front. After several strong laps in the lead, Dungey suffered an unfortunate mechanical issue, resulting in a DNF (Did Not Finish). His Rockstar Makita Suzuki team pulled together and rallied to make a quick engine swap in order to prepare for the last chance qualifier (LCQ). Dungey rocketed out of his poor gate choice in the LCQ and ended up winning the four-lap race. Due to the trip to the LCQ, Dungey ended up with the 19th gate pick for the main event. Despite the poor starting position, Dungey and his Suzuki bolted from the gate to a mid-pack position and methodically worked his way through the pack, eventually crossing the line in third place.
“I owe a lot to my Rockstar Makita Suzuki team today,” said Dungey. “They worked their butt off to get my Suzuki ready for the LCQ and for it to run that good in the main was unbelievable. I’m really happy – we had our work cut out for us tonight. With the cards that were dealt and the circumstances, I think we handled everything the best we could and did all we could. I think at the end of the day, we’re happy with the result. I’m really looking forward to Indy; the new Lucas Oil Stadium is really cool and the fans there are great. It’ll be good to get back indoors.”
Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe came to Daytona somewhat battered and bruised after a significant crash in Atlanta last week. The tough Aussie soldiered through the day with a decent practice and a strong heat race in which he finished fifth. In the main, after a poor start and ending up in 11th position after the first lap, Metcalfe was able to work his Suzuki up to eighth place before a mistake put him on the ground on lap 13. Metcalfe remounted to eventually finish a disappointing 18th.
“This track is always tough,” said Metcalfe. “And last week’s crash took a lot out of me physically. I knew it was gonna be tough coming in, but I tried to be positive. We got better through practice – My Rockstar Makita Suzuki team really got the bike working good for me and I couldn’t really ask for anything more. I just wasn’t physically prepared for that kind of race. I tried to make a game plan and stick to it, but I lost that game plan about halfway through the main. I felt good at the beginning of the main, but by the halfway point, it was tough for me and I lost a bit of focus there. We’re still in one piece and I just hope to have a good week and move on.”
The 2011 Rockstar Makita Suzuki team’s next event is Saturday, March 12th, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. Meet the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team riders on Friday, March 11th, from 6 to 7 PM at Dreyer Motorsports, 4170 W. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN.