Ryan Dungey celebrates his first win of the season. (Photo: Simon Cudby / KTM Racing)

celebrates his first win of the season. (Photo: Simon Cudby / KTM Racing)

Round nine of the Monster Energy Championship in , Ind. proved to be the most difficult race of the season, and when the dust settled, it was Ryan Dungey celebrating his first win of 2014.

The Red Bull KTM star passed Mike Alessi for the lead on Lap 5 and was unchallenged for the remainder of the 20-lap main event. The victory moves him into second in the title fight, 23 points behind Monster Energy Kawasaki’s .

“We needed that win, it’s been a long season,” said Dungey, who became the fifth different 450SX Class winner this season. “The track got really torn up tonight, but it feels good [to get the win]. I got up front pretty early and was able to hold a good pace, and not do anything stupid.

“It was one of the toughest races of the season for sure. We have to keep taking [the championship] one race at a time. It’s a great series with a lot of good riders so you have to just keep plugging away.”

Honda’s and were second and third, respectively, with both riders picking up their first career 450SX Class podium. Villopoto overcame an early crash to finish fourth followed by RCH Racing’s Broc Tickle.

The beginning of the race saw several title contenders crash including Villopoto, and . After the first lap, all three riders were outside of the top 15 and immediately looked to salvage as many points as possible.

Unfortunately for Roczen, his night was cut short when a crash with seven laps to go sent him to the mechanics area, resulting in a 21st-place finish. The rookie was battling with Andrew Short for eighth at the time of the incident.

“I hit the ground pretty hard after my crash off the start when I got caught-up with Villopoto,” said Roczen. “I pushed hard for the next few laps, but then I cased a triple in a rhythm section which sent me flying over the bars. I feel really beat up and am disappointed to not finish the race but am thankful I am okay and will be back to race Daytona.”

Roczen drops to third in the championship standings, 26 points behind reigning champ and series leader Villopoto. Stewart faces a 30-point deficit in fourth.

The series now heads to the Ricky Carmichael-designed track in Daytona, Fla. Coverage begins Saturday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX Sports 1.

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