Ken Rocen rode a smart and controlled first race of the season to serve notice he should be a title contender this year in supercross. Roczen, who looked comfortable all day, insists he is feeling much better than he was last year after his horrendous arm injury and feels more relaxed at the races.
“It’s good to get out of here with a podium with these kind of conditions,” admitted the factory Honda star. “It can play if your favour but obviously bite you really bad. For half of the main or so we were still jumping the big doubles and it started becoming a little rut (the take-off) and it was kind of sketchy! We were doubling through stuff and it got super sloppy out there. It was consistency but once we started lapping riders that’s when it go really bad, I got held up a couple of of times and that really cost me but overall it’s good to be in second and get out of here with a solid finish.”
On changing his style since the injuries Roczen said, “I don’t have the mobility I had before the injuries, definitely on my left arm, I still have a little bit of siffness pain but this is my new normal so I don’t really think about it too much anymore. In the heat race I cased the crap out of that second quad and it held up pretty good, so they are pretty solid!”
Commenting on his feelings on last year’s event to to this year Roczen said he is less emotional. “Last year I was really up in the air coming into this race, it might have looked like I was fine and I was, but last year three weeks before the race I would lay in bed at night and there would be an adrenalin rush thinking about the racing and it kept happening! This year I was super neutral and I was patient when I was out there too. My highs are not too high and today in qualifying practice when I’m not at the top of the board I don’t stress about it at all. Because I knew I’m more of a racer and I like being behind the gate.”
A lot is made in America of the “Euros” being good in the mud but Roczen admitted that while he enjoys the mud he doesn’t ride in it as much as he did before he lived in the US. “I used to be a good mud rider. But there was a time when I didn’t spend much time on the motorcycle with injuries and then came back, I guess it’s just been a long time without mud races to be honest. It’s just about getting back into the grove, I rode mud in Europe all the time and I come over here and every time we have mud races I just embrace it and I’ve always usually liked it.”