Story and Photos by Shan Moore
The 2014 Monster Energy Supercross Series is expected to be one of the most competitive ever, with no less than four 450-class AMA Supercross champions filling the grid. Adding to the mix are a handful of high profile rookies coming into the season with hopes of unseating the veterans. It was one of those rookies, Ken Roczen, who came away with the first win of the season at Anaheim 1, the Red Bull KTM rider taking and exciting and somewhat unexpected win to kick off the new season.
With the win, Roczen has established himself as one of the favorites to win the 2014 season, along with Ryan Villopoto, James Stewart and a handful of others. Dirt Rider spoke with the former MX2 World Champion to get his thoughts on the 2014 season.
Q: How does it feel to get this win?
A: It feels amazing. I never expected this, to be honest.
Q: What made you decide to move to the 450 class?
A: I was always a guy who moved up early. I raced 250s in the German championship when I just turned 13. My goal was always to be top of the class. I’m really a fan of the big bike, I like the power, and so I was ready to move up. I think even if I didn’t win the 250 title last year I would have moved up.
Q: How big of a step is it moving from the 250 West Regional series to the 450 AMA Supercross class?
A: It’s a huge step, but I think the biggest part is the bike. Just because you can ride a 250 well doesn’t mean you can ride a 450 well. All of the guys in the 450 class have a lot of experience and are tough competitors, so it’s a huge jump.
Q: You have been spending time with Ryan Villopoto and also with Ryan Dungey. How is it hanging out with your competitors?
A: It’s great down there; Florida is insane when it comes to training and there’s no traffic down there, so I love it. We have a good group and we have fun together and it takes out mind off the training a little bit and makes things a little easier.
Q: Most recently, you have been living in Florida and training with Ryan Villopoto and Adam Cianciarulo. How is that?
A: I don’t really have a problem with anyone in general; we are enemies on the track, but we still have to have a life. I think it’s important to keep it fun and hanging out with those guys is fun.
Q: Was it a big adjustment for you, moving to the 450?
A: I think I will do better on the 450. I really like the power, I think I can deal with it good, and I’ve always liked the bigger engines, so I’m all about it. I think I’m the kind of rider that uses the power, I’m really smooth, so I didn’t have to change my style at all, I felt comfortable right away.
Q: How is your arm and how did you injure it?
A: The arm is good, it’s 100% so I’m ready to go. There was a triple step on and I landed on the triple and my chain actually came off. So, not my fault but that’s the way it is.