Ryan Dungey wins at Muddy Creek for second straight Pro Motocross victory

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As the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship headed east to Muddy Creek Raceway for the fourth round of the season, the 450 Class had a new points leader entering today – Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, a two-time champion in the premier class. His points lead over his remaining challengers grew even larger today after a strong outing at the Red Bull Tennessee National extended his winning streak.

In the first moto of the day, Justin Barcia grabbed the holeshot but crashed on the opening lap of the race, handing the lead over to his JGR Yamaha teammate Phil Nicoletti. Nicoletti led the first two laps of the race, but behind him Dungey had worked his way around Jason Anderson for second and was on the attack. Dungey aired it out over one of the track’s biggest jumps, using the momentum to move past Nicoletti into the lead, and from there he would open up a comfortable gap and win the moto.

Nicoletti lost two more spots to Anderson and Ken Roczen and would finish fourth. In front of him, Roczen challenged Anderson for second, but Anderson eventually pulled away from the defending champion to earn a career-best moto finish. Roczen would settle for third in the moto, a result which would prove costly later in the day.

The second moto was all about Roczen though – he edged out Cole Seely for the holeshot and from there went unchallenged for the rest of the moto, even as rain began to fall midway through the race, and won by nearly nine seconds.

The moto win was Roczen’s first of the season, however it would not be enough to get him the overall victory, as Dungey bounced back from a poor start in the second moto to work his way up to second place. Although Dungey was unable to catch Roczen, his 1-2 results put him on top of the leaderboard for the overall standings on the day. Roczen (3-1) ended up second overall.

Behind Roczen and Dungey, a trio of rookies battled for positions in Moto 2, with Blake Baggett, Jason Anderson and Cole Seely rounding out the top five. Anderson’s 2-4 moto finishes landed him on the podium in third overall for the second time this season.

After winning the 450 Class championship last year, Roczen struggled early this season after being crippled by a back injury right before the first round. The young German has improved each week since then and is returning to form, however he is currently 37 points behind Dungey in the championship standings thanks to his slow start. With Eli Tomac out for the rest of the season after a dominant start, it looks like Dungey vs. Roczen will be a recurring theme for the next eight rounds.

Lucas Oil Pro Motocross resumes next Saturday, June 13th at High Point Raceway.

450 Class Overall Results
1. Ryan Dungey (1-2)
2. Ken Roczen (3-1)
3. Jason Anderson (2-4)
4. Blake Baggett (5-3)
5. Phil Nicoletti (4-9)
6. Cole Seely (8-5)
7. Broc Tickle (7-7)
8. Justin Barcia (9-6)
9. Weston Peick (6-11)
10. Justin Brayton (11-8)
*Moto 1 and Moto 2 finishes in parenthesis.

Fernando Alonso will decide this summer whether to pursue F1 again

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Fernando Alonso said he will determine by this summer if he would consider a return to Formula One next season.

After announcing Tuesday that he will return to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May with Arrow McLaren Racing SP, Alonso said “right now the Indy 500 will take all of my concentration” but left the door open for F1 in 2021.

“In my case, probably during the summer period, I’ll make a decision on 2021 if Formula One is still appealing to me,” Alonso told IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview (watch the video above). “The 2021 rules (in F1) are definitely a step forward, and hopefully things can be more mixed and not only three teams capable of winning races. So all this factors into play. I may consider that possibility.”

Alonso won consecutive Formula One championships in 2005-06 with Renault. He has 32 victories in an F1 career that started in 2001 and also includes stints at Ferrari and McLaren.

His last victory on the circuit was May 12, 2013 in Barcelona. He is winless in his most recent 110 starts, including the past 77 races with McLaren in 2015-18.

The Guardian recently reported that McLaren CEO Zak Brown said Alonso wouldn’t be returning to F1 with the team.

Alonso also told Diffey that returning to F1 from a two-season absence wouldn’t necessarily be linked to McLaren’s performance.

“I think they did well last year, and hopefully they make another step forward and close to the top three because they deserve it and are a fantastic team,” he said.

Though he is optimistic about more parity, Alonso said six-time champion Lewis Hamilton should be a favorite for the 2020 title based on preseason testing in which Mercedes turned heads with a new steering system.

“It seemed Mercedes is still quite competitive,” Alonso said. “They show enormous potential on the development side and on the progress from one year to next. Formula One is impossible to predict because many things happen in season.

“At the starting point, (Mercedes) are the favorites. When you have Lewis in the car and Mercedes with the potential they have, they have to be No. 1 probably.”