MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – With five thrilling rounds of action completed, the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship reaches its halfway point onJuly 5, with the Red Bull RedBud National in Buchanan, Mich.
Just one week after making its season debut on NBC, the championship will once again be showcased on network television with live second moto coverage of the 450 Class over back-to-back weeks.
While the competition in the 450 Class has been exceptional throughout the first 10 motos of racing, the one constant throughout that span has been the Red Bull KTM duo of Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey. Last weekend at Muddy Creek Raceway in Tennessee, the teammates traded moto wins and tied for the overall, with Roczen coming away with his third win of the season thanks to his triumphant effort in Moto 2.
While the German rookie is the winningest rider in the 450 Class thus far (four moto wins and three overall victories), he has been kept honest by the consistency that has made Dungey one of the best outdoor riders of all time. If not for a few uncharacteristic mistakes by Dungey, he would be that much closer to potentially overtaking his teammate and pursuing a third title in five years. In response, Roczen has compiled an impeccable 1.7 finishing average compared to Dungey’s equally impressive 2.4 average.
The key to Roczen’s success thus far has been his ability to counter Dungey’s challenges. Whether it be losing a position to Dungey in a moto and reclaiming it, or responding to one of Dungey’s moto wins with one of his own, Roczen has continued to find a way stifle any possible momentum from his teammate.
As a result, there is a highly competitive rivalry percolating under the KTM tent. And it’s a rivalry that has proven to be productive on the racetrack, especially when you consider each rider’s respective results, but tension could increase as the season nears its conclusion.
As the Roczen and Dungey battle continues and their budding rivalry evolves, it could open the door for additional title hopefuls to close their deficits as well. After arguably his most impressive performance since his championship-winning perfect season in 2008, many thought James Stewart’s High Point victory would vault him into the thick of the hunt alongside the KTM pair.
However, the Team Yoshimura Suzuki rider endured a tough day at Muddy Creek in which he found himself on the ground in each moto and had to fight relentlessly for an eighth-place result. Additionally, one round after he earned a season-best second place moto result, Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Trey Canard wasn’t a factor in the battle for the win at Muddy Creek, but still managed to secure fourth overall.