Overall round winners Cianciarulo and Ferrandis on Saturday's victories.
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo drew closer to the 450MX points-lead and Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) retook the 250MX lead by sweeping Millville. Both riders spoke to the media post-race via Zoom press conferences.
Adam, first ever 1-1 in the premier 450 Class, a second consecutive win for you and overall a good day on points for you, I think you’re within 15 of Zach [Osborne] now for the championship lead. Run us through your day…
Yeah, the day was good. Initially, going out for practice I was a little thrown off because, as I’m sure you’ll hear some of the other guys say, the track was pretty flat. Which honestly, I’m kind of a fan of – I like seeing a track’s natural characteristic come out. It kind of reminds me of the early 2000s motocross and stuff, where you’re able to go in different areas of the track, which I find to be kind of fun and good for passing, all that stuff. As far as my day, in both practices I felt really good, just at a really good spot with myself and the bike right now. It makes it a lot of fun going out there and doing our best every time and obviously another two great starts today. I don’t think I got the official holeshot in the second moto, but I was able to just kind of make it happen in the first turn and go around the outside. Obviously, leading start to finish in both motos, a 1-1, that’s not something I’ve done in the past even in the 250 Class, so… even winning the championship in that division last year, it was something that I kind of wished I had accomplished, getting a 1-1. Now to do it in the premier class, it means a lot to me. I’m definitely proud of the day, proud of the team.
At the end of the season do you see yourself as champ? Do you ever think about [that first round], just statistically ‘if I wouldn’t have fallen down and gotten that 38th, I’d be the points leader right now’?
The answer to your first question, I would say I think I’m capable of being a champion. I’ve obviously done it before in a different class, but I’m riding well, I don’t see why I can’t continue putting good performances in and getting good points and maybe it shakes out, maybe it doesn’t. I can kind of tie this into your second question. No, I don’t think about really where I would be if I didn’t DNF, cos I was trying my hardest at Loretta’s and felt good and a mistake happened and it happened. It’s the same thing I’m going to do from here on out. Obviously points, I think I was 40 down or something coming into the day, so now it looks a little bit realistic compared to how it was before, definitely something that you think about. I’m not going to say I’m not going to think about it, but my mindset can’t change – you can’t really think about the top of the mountain yet. We have three races to go, so just putting one foot in front of the other and everybody’s really going fast right now, so we’re going to have to keep ripping.
Where is all your confidence coming from? Because today couldn’t have gone any more perfect, with pretty much getting both holeshots and leading every lap.
Obviously, I had a great weekend at RedBud, was able to get my first moto win and it just becomes more normal. Today I got out front and just instead of being like, ‘holy crap, I’m in the lead’, which is kind of how I was feeling at Ironman and just a little bit at RedBud. Now, I just felt like I was riding a normal moto, it just becomes more normal as you get used to it, but I’ve always had the confidence in my ability. I know I can do it, but it’s certainly easier once you get the ball rolling in the right direction and you start to think to yourself, ‘why can’t I do it again this moto? Why can’t I do it again?’ Just going to keep with that mindset for as long as I can [laughs].
Earlier in the season you talked about you didn’t want to be the guy that washed the front-end, you wanted to work on your consistency and now you’re winning motos. Has your thought process, has the way you’re going to proceed changed any?
Yeah, I mean, nobody wants to make those mistakes. I’m sure I’ve said that before. As soon as you tell yourself, ‘I don’t want to do this’, all you’re doing is basically telling your mind to do that, essentially. So I never go out there with the mindset of, ‘don’t crash’. That’s a surefire way to crash. I pride myself in just giving my best effort every time I’m out there and it doesn’t always work out, even with stuff that I’ve left out there on the table results-wise in the past because of little crashes and stuff, it’s really not that hard for me to come to terms with it because I know I’m doing everything I can. I know I’m not lazy, I know I’m putting in the work during the week, one of those things where I’m trying to get the most out of myself. It’s easier now once you have the ball rolling, you prove to yourself over and over again that you can do it and things just start to happen a little bit easier. It’s as simple as that.
How pumped are you on your fitness after today? That first moto, Blake [Baggett] pulled a 2m03s and you responded with your two best laps of the whole race, your last two laps, so you’ve got to be pumped on how your fitness is looking.
Yeah, I feel good for sure. Today wasn’t the gnarliest day in the world with the track being pretty fast and the weather being just awesome, it was great out there. So it wasn’t one of those crazy, gnarly days, but still it’s tough to be out there out front, leading every lap, and having those guys on you, you definitely have to push hard and the heart rate is still up there, for sure. I think, for me, coming into the season I was a little bit behind the eight-ball with my back injury from Supercross. I kind of progressively have been able to ramp up my cardio and my bike time during the week, so I’m definitely starting to see the gains from that perspective. It’s nice to go out there and have the confidence that you can really put it down when you need to those last 10 minutes, because you can be as fast as you want for 20-25 minutes and if you don’t have the rest in the bad you’re going to get fifth or sixth every time. Definitely, I was stoked I was able to keep Blake behind me, he was riding great today.
How do you feel about these last three with 15 points to make up?
I feel good about them. To be completely honest, on a 250 the WW-type conditions weren’t my favorite. I always felt being a little bit bigger, maybe it was just in my head, but I was a little bit behind the eight-ball, but those are the conditions I ride in every day now and I feel way, way more comfortable on the bigger bike, so hopefully that translates well. Then as far as Colorado and Fox Raceway go, I wouldn’t say Fox Raceway is my favorite track in the word, but I did well there last year. Thunder Valley is one of my favorite tracks in the world. Definitely think that we’re in a good spot. Like I said earlier, not really thinking about points, just going to go out there moto by moto, hopefully keep getting some good starts and see what we can do.
You spoke after the first moto about kind of how well you feel in a situation where you’re being pressured like Blake was most of that moto. What is it about that specific scenario that you feel gets the best out of you?
That’s a good question. I’m reluctant to bring up anything from amateurs just because most of it doesn’t apply, but since I was a kid, I’ve been fortunate enough to be in that position quite a bit, getting a good start and being out front and having guys behind me. I think it just comes from a lot of repetition of being a kid and being in that situation. As weird as that sounds, I’ve always felt like a comfort with it, even when I first turned pro on a 250. Obviously now it’s different, right, like I’ve talked to you guys about this, like at Ironman, leading laps in the 450 race it’s different, you have to get used to it. I feel like some of my best races as a pro have been when somebody’s right on me. I just always feel kind of locked in and it just keeps me focused on what I’m doing and… I’m not quite sure, but hopefully I can keep that trend rolling.
You obviously made up a lot of ground in the championship today and you mentioned that you didn’t really notice when you went past, but you put Zach a lap down. How much does that change the dynamic of the championship and do you think he’ll be carrying a different mindset? I know you said yours will remain the same, but what do you think his will be like?
I mean, it’s tough to say. I would hate to speak for Zach, but I think before he had 30 points or something like that. I think it would be easy – not saying he was in that mindset before – but it would be easy to start being a little bit more defensive. Even with a few rounds to go, I know from past experience myself and kind of feeling that way, just not really hanging it out on the edge, but now with the points a little bit closer I’m sure he’ll be a little bit more on the offense. I think everybody has bad races, it’s a bummer that he had a flat tire, but stuff happens and it’s never easy to win a championship, so I’m sure he’ll bounce back and be right up there in the battle next weekend. He’s a great rider, so looking forward to doing battle the rest of the year.
When did you find out that Osborne and also [Marvin Musquin], who was second in points, had bad motos? You actually said on TV you didn’t see Osborne when you lapped him, so when did you find that out and how did that make you feel?
I didn’t see Zach, I didn’t know what happened to him – I didn’t know where anybody finished. I was full tunnel vision all day long, so I didn’t even read any jersey numbers out there. You normally check some jerseys when you’re lapping some guys, but I just wasn’t seeing anything. I was just locked in. I think my mechanic or maybe my crew chief told me about the points being pretty close. I think I was 40 or something down going into the weekend, so it’s not even something that you’re thinking about at all, I had no idea where those guys finished until I was sitting under the tent before I went on the podium, so it’s definitely nice to have a good day where you win the race and then in that department, going from where I’m pretty much out of it to I guess pretty much in it, it’s a good feeling.
Do you have to, as you’re saying, check that and try to not be too emotional about it? Obviously the last two races the way you’ve approached it have worked well, so not to do anything different regardless of the points.
Yeah, it was something that I had to keep in check at one point in my life and in my career, but at this point just from being around so many guys like [Ryan] Dungey and [Ryan] Villopoto and Ken [Roczen], guys that are consistently winning races and kind of dominating, you see that level-headedness in them. That’s just a way I’ve tried to teach myself to be. I mean, I get stoked, you guys know I get stoked, I’ll throw some crazy fist pumps and yell and scream or whatever, but that’s just me being excited and being passionate about it. It’s not something that I dwell on whether it’s good or bad for a long time after. I’m not waking up on Monday and high-fiving the person who makes my coffee at Starbucks… I try to fall back into the same routine and just try to keep an even keel. It’s a long season and we do a lot of races, I want to be doing this for a long time, so that’s kind of the way to do it.
Dylan, obviously a great day for you overall, much better starts today, your first 1-1 of the season since the opener and you’ve got the red plate now. Take us through your day and how you feel heading into the final three rounds.
It was a good day. Obviously, we did the 1-1, so it’s perfect. This was awesome. It’s crazy to think that’s my second win of the season after so many races, I was really hoping to have more, but it’s the way it is. A lot of ups and downs, the last few rounds were tough for me and it’s good to bounce back with a double moto win and get back the red plate also is really important. For sure, winning on the Martins’ soil was awesome, I wasn’t sure if I have it, but I did and it was a really good experience and a really good year so far.
Did you practice starts over the off weekend? It seemed like that was the only thing that was holding you back, was not getting a good start and you got two good starts this weekend.
Actually, I didn’t ride since RedBud. I just rode one time Thursday, a quick ride because I need to recover from my shoulder. We did practice starts, but maybe five, six… Was the same as usual. The only change we made was more on the bike set-up. I always wanted to set up my bike to get the maximum speed on the track, to suit my roll speed and I think we kind of forget a little bit to set up the bike for the start. I think that was causing me my bad starts the beginning of the season, so we went back with some change with more focusing on the start. The riding, we lose a little bit on the roll speed, I think, but it was enough to get the 1-1 today, so we’re going to keep in this direction.
The last time you and Jeremy started together you were able to pull away. Were you surprised at times that he was still back there? Did you think you could break him? What was your reaction when he pretty much hung there the whole moto?
I was not surprised at all. He’s on his home track, what do you expect? We’re both battling for the championship, he wants it as bad as me. When I took the lead and I looked back two corners after and I saw that he passed my teammate I was like, ‘okay, here we go’. It’s going to be a battle, a physical battle also because I was not on my best day because I had to recover from my small injury and couldn’t really train as hard as normal, so, it’s going to be hard. We didn’t disappoint, I think. I knew he would do everything and that’s what he did. I was really, really happy to beat him at the end of the moto because I really felt he could have beat me today on the second moto. In terms of championship points, it was really important for me to win because if I won, I get the red plate, and if I don’t win, I’m three points behind, so it was really, really important for today.
This is obviously going to be a close championship. How does those three tracks work for you?
I don’t know. I don’t go to the track wondering if it does suit me or not because last year at RedBud, I did 1-1 and this year I did really bad. The last three years in Millville I’m always struggling. I’ve never been on the moto podium at Millville, which is crazy, and it’s my favorite track of the championship. Every year I’m coming to Millville, I love this track, and I do bad. This year I did 1-1, so I don’t really look at this stat. I just go on race day and do the best I can, but Florida, I don’t know if I hope it’s going to be hot and humid, but I know it can help me, so we’ll see. Last year I had a good time there, I won the second moto when everybody was really tired, so that was good. Pala is not my favorite because it’s a pretty hard track, physically it’s demanding. Your body hurts a lot with the hard bumps and the step jump and everything, but we have no choice – the track is the same for everybody.
Were you anticipating that level of attack from Jeremy right there on the final lap?
I was for sure ready for that – I knew he was going to give everything. It’s his home track [laughs], I have a track at home, we don’t race on it, but if one day someone is beating me there, I would give everything I had, so, for sure I was ready and I was close. The last lap I was a little out of control, he almost passed me in the last straightaway jump before the finish and I just shut the door on the last downhill and that was really close. For sure, I was expecting that from him and I think that every answer I give, I’m smiling because I think we had this incident in RedBud, but I feel like we both know what it takes to be champion. We give both everything we had, it’s good for the sport and good for the show. I think today again we made a great show and people on TV for sure like it. I mean, I enjoyed the battle too, for sure. I wish I could have won with a big gap, but for sure, it was a good battle and a good show.
You won a regional title, but you haven’t won a national championship yet. How important is this and where does this rank towards winning a Supercross championship and winning a national championship?
I think every championship where everybody lines up is important, regional or national. There’s no big difference, there is always guys to beat, everybody is working hard, so at the end being champion of Supercross or motocross, there is no big difference. I came to the United States to ride Supercross because that’s what we don’t have in Europe. I mean, we have it, but there is no big championship, so for sure, that’s something that I really like. Being a national American champion has always been my goal, racing the tracks like Millville or RedBud, all these tracks that we have on the circuit is what I always dreamed when I was a kid. Being here today is fun, but maybe the championship kills a little bit the fun, because when I don’t win, obviously I’m not that happy, but it’s still always good to be on these legendary tracks and I enjoy it. At the end of the Supercross I want to ride motocross and at the end of the motocross I want to do Supercross, so I think it’s for every rider the same – we like both.
The next couple races, I assume you’re going back to the west coast and then coming back to WW Ranch next weekend, so is that the plan?
Yeah, I live in California, so every week I go back to California and fly… I only have the one house [laughs]. It’s a long trip, it takes some time and some organization. The last two years it was hard to manage, the jet lag also these three hours is kind of difficult because in the morning on race day you have to wake up really, really early compared to California time, so this is something to manage. But this year I rent an RV and I have a friend drive my RV race to race and that’s a big relief. I can just show up late on Friday and do my thing and sleep at the track, so that helps a lot. Other than that, it’s big travel, especially Florida. It’s really long, but I mean, it’s the way it is. When I’m back in California I can train normally in good conditions, I don’t suffer from humidity during the summer, so I feel it’s best for me.