Roczen not confident ahead of motocross season

It seems for the first time in his career the normally extremely confident and very positive Ken Roczen is not feeling very sure of himself heading into the great outdoors.

Roczen of course is a former MX2 world champion and 450 AMA motocross champ so his talent isn’t in question but the German, who didn’t race outdoors last year, says he isn’t sure he is feeling the connection with motocross right now and isn’t where his speed is.

Speaking in the press conference Roczen said: “It’s been a minute since I’ve ridden outdoors and I have done this my whole life, right? It’s what I grew up on but I feel like I have a little bit of a disconnect with motocross, the speed that it takes in motocross, it used to come super quick to me. I wouldn’t say I am 100% as in how good I have been in the past and how ready I have been.

“Being in the championship hunt in supercross I was just focusing on that pretty much the whole time. Back in the day I would definitely sneak in a lot more outdoor riding which I probably should have done this year too. Also we have a new bike, so trying to get some base settings, we were pretty far off as soon as we jumped on the bike so I also had to put in a lot of work there, I definitely tried to juggle with testing and also doing motos. I just want to build each and every single weekend. It’s really difficult to say where I am at. I just want to get better every single weekend.”

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Roczen also says he hasn’t had much cross-over from the HRC MXGP team regarding bike settings: “As far as I know, I don’t think we’ve had really that many settings from Europe because they run the BFR shock that we don’t run and we don’t really have here right now. So that’s obviously out the window. When it comes to other suspension settings, I feel like we kind of just went the direction that we thought and kind of based it on ourselves.

“I honestly would like to see a little bit more in the future to get some insight on what those guys are running over there, because obviously that’s their specialty and they ride those kind of tracks throughout the entire year and have so much time to actually prepare for motocross. But for right now, I just think we have a hard time running some of the same settings because we also can’t do some of the changes. I’m not 100 percent sure what they’re actually running over there, but I know they could do frame changes, I believe, if they wanted to and things like that. So I think we just kind of stuck to what the team knows.”

Roczen has a hard end to the supercross season, throwing the lead away twice as Webb played a few mind games on his way to the title and you wonder if Roczen has really recovered enough from that mentally to put his heart and soul into outdoors. It is a more gruelling championship physically, and let’s not forget it was physical issues that have hurt Roczen the last time he tried to compete in motocross. When you combine the mental fatigue from supercross, the physical nature of motocross and Roczen’s apparent lack of confidence outdoors right now, it could be a long year for the talented German unless things click quickly!

Article: Jonathan McCready
Image: Honda