Ryan Dungey doesn't need to win but clearly he wants to.
The defending Champion held off a resilient and feisty Ken Roczen for 20 laps to win Round 13 of the 2016 Monster Energy Supercross series held on Saturday at Lucas Oil Dome in Indianapolis, IN.
Mastering one of the most difficult and technical tracks of the year, if you blinked after Mike Alessi grabbed the holeshot, Dungey made the pass and led the rest of the way for his seventh win of the season and second straight. Dungey now leads Roczen by 45 points with four rounds remaining and shows no signs of coasting to his third Supercross title. Two more wins and Dungey lifts the trophy in Foxborough.
Despite his nearly insurmountable lead, Dungey and Roczen played cat and mouse the entire race riding like it was for all the marbles which in many respects was true for Roczen. Dungey got his first glimpse of heat on Lap 4 when Roczen came beside him but couldn't make the pass. On Lap 6 the two engaged in another fight for the lead but again Dungey prevailed taking lines away and getting through a rhythm section faster after Roczen made a mistake.
It was this close for 20 laps between Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey
On Lap 12, the two competitors each dealt with lappers and on Lap 15 Roczen again almost made the pass. But a lap later, Dungey made his first blatant mistake by missing a triple allowing Roczen to race by and take the lead for the first time all night. Roczen looked to capitalize on the mistake and take the checkers until he made a mistake casing a jump just before the finish line on Lap 17. Dungey got back out in front and held on for the win.
"That battle is what it's all about, it's good to be able to work hard and fight to the end. It's a rewarding finish," Dungey said, describing the track as the most mentally challenging track all year. "Tonight it was just the pressure that was tough, it was also the ruts we were dealing with and you can see we both made mistakes. These wins are awesome when it happens like this."
The win moved Dungey into sixth-place on the all-time list with 29; it was also his 29th consecutive podium, his 31st Top 5 and 42nd Top 10 for his career. This is the second straight week Roczen tailed Dungey the entire race as the two left the rest of the field in their roost. It was Roczen's eighth podium this year.
"I've been making quite a few changes to the bike and I made another change this week that worked great," Roczen said. "I have a lot more confidence, a lot more faith in the bike. That is a big thing. Tonight was an awesome race, we kept it fun the whole ride. Ultimately I wish the race kept going another five laps."
Jason Anderson took third for the second week in a row but rolled in nearly 30 seconds after Dungey and Roczen crossed the finish line.
Chad Reed (R) eventually got past Eli Tomac and finished sixth
Elsewhere, Trey Canard got his best finish of the season taking fourth-place and Eli Tomac ran in the Top 5 until running into trouble on Lap 12 which dropped him to a ninth-place for his second-worst finish of the season. Chad Reed took sixth-place to move within 19 points of Tomac for fourth-place in the standings. Marvin Musquin reinjured his wrist, that was surgically repaired during the off-season, last week at Santa Clara and did not race. James Stewart sprained his ankle in practice and did not compete in the night show. MotoSport rider Nick Wey finished 17th.
Aaron Plessinger celebrates his first career win
In the 250 East class, Gannon Audette grabbed the holeshot, but his lead was short-lived as Aaron Plessinger quickly got in front and checked out for his first career win. Plessinger became the fifth different 250SX East winner in as many rounds.
"I've had a rough couple of weeks," Plessinger said who spent the break working with Cooper Webb. "I trained my butt off. It was just a great race. I can't believe (I'm) up here."
Plessinger was in fifth place after Toronto, 20 points behind Jeremy Martin, and is now in second place two rounds later, just 10 points behind Malcolm Stewart, who finished second and holds on to the red plate for the second straight week. It was Stewart's second time finishing runner-up this year and third podium overall on the season.
Deep ruts didn't keep Malcolm Stewart from taking second-place
"This race is one of the toughest rounds just because the track changes every lap," Stewart said. "I had a few big mistakes. I have to give it to Aaron, he was a better man today. "You can't win them all but you can lose them. I'm just happy to still get up here on the box and keep the red plate.
Audette held on for a career best third-place.
Elsewhere, Jeremy Martin, who was in first place after Toronto and then seven points behind Stewart after Detroit, was riding in third place but crashed hard on Lap 10 which broke his handlebar mount and left the two-time 250 class Motocross Champion limping. The DNF drops him to fourth-place, 29 points from the lead. Martin Davalos, who won the opening round in Atlanta, is working his way back into contention after missing Toronto and losing the red plate. He's back in third-place in the standings after his second-straight fifth-place result but is 25 points back from Stewart.
It's on to St. Louis for Supercross Round 14 Saturday at Edward Jones Dome. Buy tickets online or at the box office. The regular FOX broadcasting network airs this round live with coverage starting at 1 p.m. (EST).
2016 Monster Energy Supercross Indianapolis Results
Indianapolis Supercross 450SX Class Results
- Ryan Dungey
- Ken Roczen
- Jason Anderson
- Trey Canard
- Blake Baggett
- Chad Reed
- Christophe Pourcel
- Justin Brayton
- Eli Tomac
- Mike Alessi
Indianapolis Supercross 250SX East Class Results
- Aaron Plessinger
- Malcolm Stewart
- Gannon Audette
- Shane McElrath
- Martin Davalos
- RJ Hampshire
- Anthony Rodriguez
- Tyler Bowers
- Luke Renzland
- Cedric Soubeyras
2016 Monster Energy Supercross Season Standings
450SX Class Season Standings
- Ryan Dungey (303)
- Ken Roczen (258)
- Jason Anderson (240)
- Eli Tomac (212)
- Chad Reed (193)
- Marvin Musquin (182)
- Cole Seely (173)
- Justin Brayton (149)
- Trey Canard (138)
- Jacob Weimer (106)
250SX East Class Season Standings
- Malcolm Stewart (102)
- Aaron Plessinger (92)
- Martin Davalos (77)
- Jeremy Martin (74)
- Tyler Bowers (66)
- Justin Hill (63)
- Gannon Audette (61)
- RJ Hampshire (59)
- Shane McElrath (53)
- Matt Bisceglia (49)