Roczen has final surgery and will go back to Germany
THE FOCUS: Final Surgery for KR94
This past week, Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen returned to Vail, Colorado’s Steadman Clinic for the 11th and final surgery on his left arm, which was injured in a crash at Anaheim 2 on January 21. Over the course of several hours, Dr. Randall Viola inserted cadaver cartilage into Roczen’s elbow, a procedure that is expected to ultimately give the arm full range of motion. During the operation, Viola also spent time cleaning out scar tissue from the affected area. It’s estimated that Roczen’s arm should be able to bear weight within six to eight weeks.
With the long surgery process finally behind him, Roczen will soon be traveling to his native Germany on vacation, and he will continue to do physical therapy during that trip.
“I’m really happy to have this last surgery out of the way,” Roczen said. “They got the cadaver piece earlier than expected, which is awesome because that was the last piece of the puzzle. Now I can really focus on recovery without having to worry about any other surgery. Other than that, things are going well. I’m excited to be going to Germany for the first time in a few years to vacation with family and take my fiancé for her first time. I’ll still be doing physical therapy while there and then will be hitting it hard when we’re back.”
With Team Honda HRC’s Cole Seely sidelined due to a torn adductor muscle and Ken Roczen still out for the season with arm injuries, GEICO Honda rider Christian Craig filled in aboard a factory CRF450R as the squad’s sole rider for round 15 of the AMA Supercross series in Salt Lake City, Utah. During his first-ever 450SX race, Craig put together a respectable come-from-behind performance to secure 11th. When the gate dropped, Craig was slow off the line and was shuffled toward the back of the pack. After completing the first lap in 18th, the Californian went into recovery mode, moving forward to take the checkered flag just outside the top 10.
On Friday night, Team Honda HRC’s Cole Seely was joined by GEICO Honda riders Christian Craig and Jimmy Decotis for an autograph session at Honda World in South Jordan, Utah, where they spent time hanging out with fans.
Despite not competing, Seely attended the race to show support for his team, sign autographs for the fans, and interview with Fox Sports 1. “I’m really bummed I’m not out there racing but I want to make sure that I’m ready before lining up so I don’t reinjure myself,” Seely said. “I’ve been seeing my therapist every day to get my leg worked on and was able to start doing some easy cycling this week. I’m going to try and ride this week and hopefully be out there in New Jersey, but we’ll see. I’m glad I was still able to come hang out with the fans and support Christian for his first supercross in the 450 class.”
On race day, Team Honda HRC helped support the MX for Children organization, which raises money and awareness for hydrocephalus (the number-one cause of pediatric brain surgeries) while connecting local children’s hospitals with the motocross community. The team provided a group of fundraisers the opportunity to tour the inside of the technical truck.
During daytime qualifying practice, Craig came out swinging aboard his CRF450R, securing an impressive 45.757” time (the sixth-fastest mark) in the day’s first session.
When the gate dropped on 450SX heat 1, Craig flinched off the start but still managed to come through the first rhythm section in fifth. He relinquished several positions during the race, crossing the finish line in seventh and moving on to the semi. Craig got another slow start in semi 2 but came around the first turn in fourth, a position he maintained to the checkers, transferring him into the main event.
For Craig, riding in the premier class meant adjusting not only to a higher level of competition but also a longer main event. “I’m used to only having to ride the 15-minute-plus-one-lap races in the 250 class so it was a little different having to ride for longer tonight,” he laughed. “I haven’t done many 20-minute-plus-one motos leading up to this, with minimal time on the bike. It seemed like we did so many laps it was crazy, and I swear I got dizzy at one point!”
This week, the Honda Red Riders head to East Rutherford, New Jersey, for round 16 at MetLife Stadium. On Friday, the riders will take part in a dealer appearance at Motorcycle Mall in Belleville, New Jersey, from 6-7:30 p.m.
Christian Craig 48
Today was a great experience. I didn’t have huge expectations for tonight because I wasn’t sure where I’d stack up to all these guys with it being my first 450 Supercross race other than Monster Energy Cup, but I had honestly hoped for a top 10. I qualified sixth in practice, which I was pretty happy with. I went into the heat and just rode tight the first couple laps, made some mistakes, and I think the nerves just got the best of me. I transferred out of the semi with a fourth. In the main, I got a bad start and just tried to make little passes here and there and take advantage of people’s mistakes. With minimal time on the bike, I wasn’t too far off my goal by finishing 11th. This was a good preview of what I can expect leading into the summer. I’m excited for the opportunity that Honda has given me.
All in all I think tonight was a decent night. My goal for Christian was to break the top 10 and we almost did that, so I think it was a good first ride for him with our team. It was also a good finish considering he was third-to-last on the first lap and had to charge through the pack like that. He rode pretty well all day, qualifying fifth, but I think he needs to work on his aggression throughout the course of the day. When you first start working with a rider, you need to get a sense of where they are. During the week he was just riding and getting a feel for the bike, so I thought once he started racing he’d attack the track a little more. Nonetheless, we’ll take this, keep working for outdoors, and be solid.
Mechanic (Christian Craig)
Today was a good opportunity for Christian and me to work together and get comfortable before the summer. When you get used to working with a certain rider or mechanic, it can be an adjustment to have someone new around, so it was good to get a race under our belts. I think he rode pretty well today for the short amount of time he had on the bike. We need to dial in his starts and work on a few things, but it’ll all come together.