Ryan Morais is the team coordinator at Red Bull KTM. Morais was riding professionally before suffering a serious crash in 2012 that involved Trey Canard at the Los Angeles Supercross. While out from injury, he made the switch to working behind the moto curtain. Currently he is occupied by testing and making sure the KTM team bikes are optimally set up for the riders. Yes, he gets paid to ride Ryan Dungey’s bike.
What is your primary position at KTM? I am the team coordinator for the race team. The position is the original reason I got hired on. KTM had me do a test when I first started here and that turned into more testing. Now I do all of the race team testing for every rider, just to weed out stuff that we don’t think is going in the right direction or stuff that turns out different than we thought it would be. We try to simplify it for the guys. That way they can focus on riding and training and doing their bootcamp in Florida. It is a little hard to do a lot of testing with our guys because they are in Florida full-time. With the system we have going now, we can push forward and keep evolving the bike.
Who do you work with the most? It is pretty even across the field, but the main people I’d say I work with are Ian Harrison, Roger (DeCoster), and Jim Anderson with WP suspension. That is kind of the main group. Obviously I work with the mechanics often, too. On the rider side no one gets more attention than the other guy.
How did you get into this kind of position? For me it was kind of a weird situation. Obviously I was hurt in 2012 with Trey (Canard) and I wasn’t able to ride for a long time from the injury. I was asked if I would like management. I couldn’t ride and someone needed a manager at the time, so I thought right then was a good time to try this out and see if this is something I enjoy. I had a good time at the last few Nationals that year doing it, and they made an offer to be team manager for 2013. I waited on it a little bit as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to still race or not, but I felt like it was time. My son was really young at the time and I was still dealing with some serious injuries. That kind of door opening doesn’t happen very often in this industry, so I took advantage of it and I was team manager there for a whole year. KTM ended up talking to me at the end of that year and they asked me to come over and help out on the race team side. I ended up making the move over here. It was a really really good decision on my part and I am very happy with everything I do. I get to ride, so I get my fix, and I am always on the greatest bikes. I have my own test bike and the thing is really fun to ride. Also, it is a great team to work with and we all have a good time and get along well. It is a great environment and they are also good about family stuff. I have two kids. My son is four and he rides a little bit. I get a day here and there sometimes to take him riding and they are really understanding about that. It is a good situation for me.
Is it nice to not have the pressure to win races, but you still get to ride? Yes. A lot of people still ask me if I miss racing. My first year was hard, especially going to Anaheim 1. I had raced it for ten years and it was brutal showing up and knowing I was not racing, but now I am at a point to where I am really happy with where I am at. I still get my riding fix. I am still learning new things every day in the office in terms of management and anything on the technical side. I have been learning more about the bike being on this side of the fence. I do a lot of production testing now with Mike Sleeter and Casey Lytle and the whole group on the product development side. I’ve actually spent time in Austria this year, as well as Spain. I am doing production testing, too. It is cool to see the reasons behind what they are doing and what changes we are going to make and why. My knowledge and understanding of a motorcycle has grown a lot in the last two years.
Will you let your kids race? My little guy is now four and a half and he rides. I put it off as long as I could, but he kept asking me for a bike. Just last September I finally got him one for his birthday. I only take him riding when he asks and whatever he wants to do I’ll support him 100% whether it is going to college or racing. He likes to play golf, he loves baseball, he likes playing soccer, he is at that age where he is all over the place and he enjoys everything he does. Whatever it is that he chooses, me and my wife will be behind him 100% and give everything he needs to be the best at it he can be.