News 18 Jan 2021

Initial setting of new CRF450R close to target for Roczen

Fighting second for Team Honda HRC leader at conclusion of H1.

Image: Octopi Media.

Earning runner-up on debut with the latest CRF450R came as a convincing first showing for Ken Roczen in Houston, the Team Honda HRC leader expressing that their initial setting is close to target.

Ongoing minor adjustments were made throughout the opener, but there are no extensive changes planned prior to Tuesday and the window of opportunity is wider on the 2021 model.

The Monster Energy Supercross season commenced on Saturday at NRG Stadium and it’s a quick turnaround into Houston 2 at the same venue tomorrow night. For that reason, it’s not anticipated that any broader development will take place until the team visits Roczen’s home base in the lead-up to round seven in Orlando, Florida.

“I honestly did the slightest little changes to the motorcycle throughout the whole day and the nice thing about this bike compared to last year’s bike, we would do a couple of clicks and the bike was almost unridable just because of the difference that it made,” Roczen explained.

“This bike’s super-consistent, where sometimes we would make a change and I wouldn’t even notice it that much. With how consistent this bike is, it’s really good. I think there are little things to improve upon, but at the same time I’m not worrying about it right now as we have a lot of races in a row here.

“There’s no time to test anyway, so honestly, I’m knocking out of my head right now, deal with what I have. I feel like the balance of the bike and everything’s really good, it’s the first race, especially on the new bike for everybody.

“Once we go back to Florida we’ll debrief with the team, see what we can do different, but at the same time it’s been working alright. This is about as tacky as you get of a track, it got broken down and we got ruts – I actually thought it was quite bumpy and the bike handled it well.”

After struggling to maintain 100 percent health through last year’s Salt Lake City rounds to end the 450SX series, Roczen appears to be stronger already and has indicated that a more relaxed build-up toward H1 has him better positioned right now.

“I’ve done a lot different procedure, training-wise,” he added. “I actually felt really solid out there, I think we did about 28 laps and I wasn’t looking at the time or anything like that once. That is always a good sign, because you’re just right in the battle, right in the moment.

“That’s what makes racing the funnest, because it’s not a good sign when you feel like crap from the beginning on and then you’re halfway through the moto you’re like, ‘oh god, how am I going to survive this?’. So, there was none of that tonight and it was awesome.”