Eli Tomac, Marvin Musquin and Ryan Dungey have occupied the three spots on the 450SX podium more often than not this season. The trio settled down for yet another post-race press conference in Detroit, late on Saturday night, to discuss their nights and how they view the current standings. You'll find the transcribed version of what was said below, but can alternatively watch the media event here.
Question for Ryan. It took you a little while to get going early in the main. You had that battle with Broc Tickle and went back and forth a little bit. What was it about tonight, the track or yourself that held you back from getting to those guys a little faster.
Ryan Dungey: It was just the track being slick. That was probably the toughest thing. It was a lot slicker in the main even than I guess it was the whole day. I was just trying to make the passes and had a lot of them made, but would come into the corner too tight and they would square it off to cut under me. It was kind of tough. With [Davi] Millsaps, I sat behind him for a while. He is really good in the whoops, so I would get up on him in the whoops and then he would get away from me again. That was tough. I was able to make the pass for third in the end, but the track conditions being slick was the challenge.
Question for Marvin. Early in the main you had a lot of pressure from Davi Millsaps. At the halfway point or so you found another gear. Did you make some kind of adjustment or was it just the flow of the race that helped you get away?
Marvin Musquin: First, to get the holeshot tonight really helped me a lot. I was hoping, obviously, to get a good start, but tonight it was really important. Then I was second and Davi was really quick tonight, especially in the whoops and off of that dragon’s back. I was a little bit off, but was trying to be consistent and stay in second place. That was the goal tonight. I do not know if I got better, but maybe I was riding a bit tight. The track was so slick and I was not comfortable. At one point I gapped Davi and it was a little bit easier on me, as there was less pressure. I was just trying to keep going, be consistent and stay second.
Question for Eli. Heading into the main event, there were some gates open on the inside. You chose to go outside of the box and, after what happened with the 250SX start, were there any concerns that being out there could put you in an area where something could go wrong? What went into the decision to start near the outside?
Eli Tomac: Yeah, there was risk on either side of the doghouse there. I found out in the heat race that, on the inside, it would pinch really badly. You had to be the guy on the inside, if you were going to end up over there. I took a gamble on the outside and was in a position where I was not one of the first guys, but was able to sneak underneath there and come out second. I rolled the dice there and it worked. The gates were hammered again, outside of the gates themselves, so you just had to go out there and really do it. Yeah, it was another tough track. There was some tough racing and we were fortunate to get it done.
Question for Eli. Could you talk about the pass that you made on Marvin on the outside of the sand? We did not see much passing in there, so talk about setting that up.
Eli Tomac: I actually looked at that line on the parade lap. It was there. They redid that turn a few times tonight, so it seemed like it changed throughout the day. Sometimes the inside was better, then sometimes the outside. At least there was an option there.
Question for Marvin. Did you expect that there? We did not see much passing in the sand, so were you surprised all of a sudden when you saw him out there?
Marvin Musquin: Unfortunately, not really. Like I said, I was riding tight but in a good position off the start. It would have been a tough main, you know. I was leading and Eli was better than me, so got around me. It was actually good last weekend, because we had no sand. Especially right after those whoop sections, you try to slow down and then hit the sand. We have seen so many crashes today.
I do not know who chooses to have sections like that. I do not know if the fans love it and ask for that. Maybe Eli loves it too? I don’t think a lot of people love that sand section though. At least it was not over a wall like in Atlanta, but it was actually a pretty nice turn.
Question for Eli: Talk about the difference between the heat race and the main? Was it the start only or did you guys change something up?
Eli Tomac: The heat race was just a disastrous start with being at the back, then clipping a bale and coming out second to last. At that point, if you are in eighteenth or something, then you pretty much have no chance of getting to the front, especially with how fast everyone is. No, apart from just improving position on those first laps, there was not much of a difference.
Question for Ryan. We have got to ask about points here, as it is getting closer and closer. What are your thoughts on that?
Ryan Dungey: Yeah, for sure, we are losing too many at each round. You know, I feel like with the championship and everything like that we know where we want to be. That is the goal and the end result. At each race we are giving it our best and putting ourselves in a position. It is a little frustrating and disappointing that, at the last few races, I just have not been there off the start. If anything, I like a good fight until the end. I would like to be there to push him.
Last week was better for me, with my position, but on three of the last four starts I just have not been there. Be up front and put ourselves in a better position, try to work on that, then we will try to take each and every race as itself. Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, with the racing and stuff, but I just gave it my best. Tonight we got fumbled in the first turn. That is way it goes and how it works! I do not like to lose as many points as we have been, consistently in a row and racing, but some wins would definitely help us for sure.
Question for Eli. A few rounds ago you talked about the pressure of having to win. Now that it is seven points, has that pressure subsided a little bit? Is it still there?
Eli Tomac: For me, it is still there. I am still the guy behind, so I am just going to try and keep doing what I am doing. We have five more left. It is nice to close the gap a little bit, for sure, but we won’t be happy until we make up that point gap.
Question for Ryan. You had such an awesome day in qualifying practice and your heat race, but then you got kind of fumbled up in that first turn. That really set you back. How do you battle that, when you have such a good day and something out of your control happens?
Ryan Dungey: There are a lot of things out of our control. The one thing that was in my control, the bike, we did not touch all day. We did have a little press yesterday, which helped, but I did not touch a clicker all day until right before the main event. I should have left it alone, in all honesty, but that is the way it goes. I ask myself when I am going to learn, as I am always really critical with the bike and changing little things here and there.
I am picky, you know? You want a good ride for the main, to be able to hit your marks and shut your mind off. That is no excuse, as the bike still worked great and I had some good riding. It is a bummer when you ride well all day, with good times and a heat win, and then that happens. It is easy to be happy, but these are testing times for sure. I hate to feel like I am not learning anything out of this, because I have been in this position before, but it is definitely testing.