MXA INTERVIEW | KEN ROCZEN TALKS ABOUT HIS MOTO WIN, THUMB ISSUE & BIKE SETUP PROBLEMS
It’s incredible to believe that it has almost been two years since HRC Honda’s Ken Roczen won a moto. It was back at Ironman 2016 when Kenny took a moto win. But he was able to get the job done at Red Bud 2018. Of course Eli Tomac’s bike issue may have helped Kenny’s win, but nonetheless, the record books wll show the German rider as moto one winner. Roczen’s (severe) injuries these past two years have been well documented, and extremely painful. Roczen’s win was extremely popular with the crowd in attendance, and its likely many of his competitors were happy for the 24 year old. At the end of the day we caught up with the 2014, and 2016 outdoor National champ to share his thoughts on the day.
By Jim Kimball
KEN, RED BUD WAS AN AWESOME DAY FOR YOU. YOU WON YOUR FIRST MOTO OF 2018, AND TOOK 2ND OVERALL. I got a pretty decent start in the first one. I was right behind Marvin (Musquin), but he crashed in front of me, so I wobbled over his bike and lost a bunch of positions. But then I really made things happen in the first couple of laps. After a lap or so, I found myself in third or fourth, and I just got up front really quick. I think Tomac went down once or tipped over, and then from there on, I gained on him a little bit. Then some lappers came into play, and he gained a little bit back on me. But once his bike broke, I was obviously leading towards the end, and won that moto. So it is huge, I loved it, and it was a great feeling to have. The fans are insane. I am glad that they support me as much as they do. Coming into the second moto, I just definitely wanted to come away with a 1-1. It obviously did not work out for that, but I still had a great race, and I was battling as hard as I could. At least I was not a minute behind.
HOW WAS IT WITH YOUR ARMS, THAT TRACK LOOKED BRUTAL? It was very brutal out there. My arms don’t bother me too much though. If anything, it is my thumb bothering me for whatever reason. But my doctors say there is no real reason. I have seen a specialist, it is definitely still tight and I have a lot of problems with my thumb, but I can make it through the day. It hurts me a little bit in the end, but not to where it really slows me down or anything.
I have seen a specialist, it is definitely still tight and I have a lot of problems with my thumb, but I can make it through the day.
WE NEED TO EXPAND ON GETTING THAT MOTO WIN. THAT HAD TO BE HUGE. Yes, it was great. It just felt like good old times in 2016. Especially to win here in Red Bud. I have always liked this track especially with the way that the crowd is here. It was definitely special winning here for sure. Throughout the last lap, they were cheering so crazy. Normally when you race, you can never really hear because you are so focused and everything, but I definitely noticed it, and it was huge.
I DO NOT THINK THERE WAS A RIDER CHEERED AS MUCH AS YOU WERE THIS WEEKEND. It is amazing. The fact that they cheer for me the way they did was an absolute honor. Even when I am in the pits and everything, they come say hi to me, and support me big time, so I was really impressed. I do not know if I should say surprised, but I definitely noticed that they were going crazy and it was a great feeling, being up on that podium. My team loved it and to see my fiancée Courtney cry—was a big moment.
You know, my results have not really shown what I am capable of because I feel like we have been just “searching” with the bike.
BEING HALFWAY THROUGH THE SERIES, KEN, DO YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT WHERE YOU ARE AT, AND HOW YOU HAVE BEEN PROGRESSING? You know, my results have not really shown what I am capable of because I feel like we have been just “searching” with the bike. This is new to me being on the Honda for outdoors this year. I would say that I was really comfortable in 2016 and I got dialed in super early. So now we are still searching, but we are definitely making steps forward. I feel like we can still get better and fine-tune it, but you can see today that I was able to ride up front. The last couple of weekends I was so far behind, but I could not really do anything about it. Today, it started becoming a lot easier for me to ride that pace so I could focus on which lines I am going to hit and focus on myself a little bit, so that helped out and I think we are going to keep improving. I am usually a fan of getting a pretty decent set-up and leaving it the way it is, but first you have to find that set-up.
EXPANDING ON BIKE SET-UP, IT MUST BE A DETRIMENT THAT YOUR TEAMMATES ARE OUT INJURED RIGHT NOW. Yes, that’s true; we really learn from each other. That is a problem for sure, but it is good that the team technicians are coming to my house this week and we may get some more testing in, and just get better. I feel like now we are finally to a level where I am able to ride with the bike a lot harder. It is really tough when you are searching, and somebody like, for example Eli Tomac; he has three years on the bike. He has his bike definitely dialed, so it makes a big difference, you know?