Ryan Dungey will no longer pilot a Suzuki RM-Z450 motocross bike in AMA Supercross or AMA Pro Motocross. After a successful run with the Rockstar Makita Suzuki squad on both 250 and 450 machines, Dungey has parted ways with the team to find employment elsewhere for 2012. Suzuki continues to support him through the Motocross des Nations this weekend in France, after which their partnership will terminate.
“Ryan Dungey has had great success in his years with the team as Suzuki’s Championship DNA propelled him to score both 250 and 450 titles aboard the RM-Z,” said team manager, Mike Webb. “We all wish Ryan much luck with his future endeavors.”
Dungey just wrapped up the 2011 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross series in second place, taking the championship down to the final round at Pala Raceway against longtime rival Ryan Villopoto. Suzuki released a statement today which lays out its intended riders for 2012 and Brett Metcalfe is the only person on the list. Metcalfe finished fourth in the outdoor standings with a strong surge late in the season.
“We’re extremely happy to have Brett Metcalfe as part of our team for 2012,” said Webb. “Metty has shown he has the stuff to win and is a great ambassador for the sport and a quality representative for American Suzuki.”
Dungey is a top free agent this season and will certainly command a high price. Dungey is always quick to credit his team from the podium, but it’s undeniable that mechanical woes cost him a real shot at the title. A DNF while leading early in the season was followed with a near catastrophe at Southwick when he was left standing on the starting gate without a functioning motorcycle. His mechanic rushed the bike to him after the rest of the pack had left and Dungey scrapped his way through to salvage points. The biggest difference between the 2010 racing program and 2011 is that team manager Roger DeCoster left to join KTM. It’s heavily rumored that Dungey is seeking a spot on the Red Bull KTM team under DeCoster’s guidance once again.
DeCoster originally plucked Dungey from the amateur ranks and signed him to Suzuki’s factory program as a relative unknown. The Minnesota native was the 2007 AMA Rookie of the Year. He won the Western Supercross Lites and 250 Motocross title in 2009 and then swept through the 450 ranks as a big-bike rookie. Dungey set the record for most wins by a rookie in 2010 en route to collecting the Supercross and 450 Motocross titles.