Interviews 14 Jan 2020

Debrief: Ken Roczen

St. Louis winner recounts victory in the post-race press conference.

St. Louis’ second round of Monster Energy Supercross saw Ken Roczen claim a breakthrough victory, marking his first win since round two in 2017. In this edition of Debrief, the Team Honda HRC rider recounts his triumph with questions from the post-race press conference.

Image: Octopi Media.

Kenny, congratulations. It’s been three years since your last win at round two in 2017 – what were the last three minutes like of that main? What was going through your mind in the last few minutes of the race?

I’ll start from the beginning, I felt pretty good and made a move on Zach [Osborne] pretty quickly and then I had a clear track. I felt good on the bike and my bike worked really good this weekend – I think we got that a lot more dialled – we were tinkering around with it throughout practice. We left it the same as the heat race – I rode good in the heat race, and I think that paid off. The tower that the timer is on was right after the finish line, so you can always get a glance at it, which was terrible because it made the race feel super long – especially when you’re up there. We were in a good position, and I’ve messed it up in the past. Towards the end I was just charging and I had pretty solid speed throughout the whole race. It was fun and I really took it all in, but at the same time, you see 3m50s to go, but that’s a solid six or seven laps – it doesn’t look like much, but it is quite a bit. Towards the end I literally just wanted to get the race over with, and on the last lap, I pretty much – it felt like [anyway] – I was just singling everything so I didn’t do anything stupid. It’s still surreal – it’s been a long time. Justin [Barcia] has been in the same situation before not winning for a long time and then coming back and winning – it’s just amazing right now.

You mentioned on the podium that you bumped Zach in the beginning, but there’s no time to waste in these races – there are too many good guys. Talk about that…

Last weekend I was not comfortable at all, so I was just sticking behind everybody. I was a lot more comfortable in the heat race and main event, so I felt really comfortable on the bike and knew I had to have a clear track, so I couldn’t get stuck behind him. I kind of moved him out of the way pretty quickly and just stuck out front and rode my own race. I try not to worry about too much other than hitting my marks – it got really tough there, especially towards the end – it got rutty, and the ruts were really bumpy. It was a good race track though, I enjoyed it throughout the whole day.

Image: Octopi Media.

Will it be easier when you’re in the lead next time? This was such a huge obstacle to get this first win [since 2017].

Easy – it’s never easy. It felt good to get comfortable – I guess I should say it brought back good memories being up front, and I guess it felt familiar, so that was good. Doing it over almost the entire distance was great as well. So yes, I think it’s going to help me in the future for sure.

You’ve had so many races where you’re fighting as hard as you can, or you’ve come close and got a podium, but suddenly tonight you’re out front with a big lead. Magically, it gets so easy compared to all these other struggles you’ve had and then one night it just clicks…

Yeah, having a decent start helped for sure. I wouldn’t say I had a nightmare last weekend, but it made things a lot harder. I knew I had the speed, and we put in too much work to get tired in a 20-minute plus one [lap]. I needed a good start, and just find comfort with the bike and confidence. I think we got that, but at the same time, just because we got this one win, there’s absolutely no way anyone would just rest on that. We just have to keep working, but for tonight, I’m just going to enjoy it. I’m looking forward to the races to come.

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