Ken Roczen interview - Winner
Posted on February 12, 2024
Ken Roczen is a winner again. The German veteran holeshot the main event and then just rode off into the sunset. Riding with a lot of confidence in 2024, Roczen has been fast, but made many mistakes, which have cost him his starts or race wins.
In Glendale, he took his 22nd main event victory, putting himself inside the top ten of the all-time winners list. One of the true warriors of the last decade the two-time AMA 450 motocross champion and MX2 World champion showed he can still run with the big boys. He spoke to the World media this morning, and this is what he told us.
MXLarge: You mentioned on the podium that you don’t win much, but 22 main event wins, it ties you with Cooper Webb, 10th in the all-time list.
Roczen: Yes, you left out the point of not winning so much anymore. I take these in so deeply. My last win was with the team last year, so pretty much a year ago. I am riding really good, just not having the best of luck getting around the first turn and that is kind of been my Achillies heel. This week, I got off to a super good start in the main and I shut off the throttle maybe just a tiny bit too early, but I was able to sneak around the inside and I was leading right away and I had the clear track that I needed, to just ride my own race. We have been riding all day and it was really, really wet and then it started getting dryer, so you had some spots on the track, where you had to be really careful. Obviously long rhythms, so I wasn’t looking at the time, I just clicked off lap after lap.
MXLarge: You have had success here in the past, is that to do with the dirt, or why is that your results here have been so good?
Roczen: Good question. Honestly, I felt like a fish out of water all day. It just didn’t come as natural to me as in the past few weeks. In Detroit I felt comfortable right away, but not here and I am a little bit surprised the night went the way it went. Jett knows how my dads track is and it is identical to this, granted it is a long time ago now. Some things are just burnt into your brain, maybe that has something to do with it.
MXlarge: You mentioned you felt like a fish out of water and your results haven’t been what they could have been. You feel like you kind of lucked out today, like you could have had wins previously, but it’s kind of just worked its way out today. Can you talk us through that?
Roczen: I mean, I think, my biggest problem is, I have gotten off the gate okay, but the first turn, either somebody is on the inside of me, and I can’t turn and I have to wait, or I hit somebodies rear wheel and go down. Then I end up being mid-pack. Today, I went on the track, and I felt a bit sleepy, and it didn’t come as easy today. I also know, I don’t stress about those things and by the time the night show comes around, I am a racer, and I will figure it out and we did.
MXlarge: The heat race win for you, take us through the important of that and getting a gate pick?
Roczen: Yes, it’s track dependant. Here it was more giving. Detroit was super important; it was a short start. The ruts get super messed up, so it is nice to get first pick and pick whatever is best. Then there are other races where the ruts are even worse. Getting a win in the heat race was awesome and you go into the main event with a clear mind, know you can pick whatever rut you want, that is definitely nice and knowing how deep the field is, the start is really important and I am not saying you can’t be mid-field or top five and not win, but when somebody fast is up front, it is really hard to move through field and catch that person.
MXlarge: In comparison with say the 2014 Ken Roczen on race day, is there anything you put more importance on, or maybe you don’t sweat the small stuff, now you being a veteran of the sport?
Roczen: Yes, I mean the mind-set, the comfort is way different than 10 years ago. Even just a few years ago. I feel like I am now, more ready than ever to battle for a championship than I ever was. That is a nice feeling to have, so I just value a lot of things, not stress about, but just less about practice. I am not saying I don’t get butterflies and every weekend is a bit different honestly. Sometimes you still get butterflies in your stomach, and you need to force yourself to like, quit being the way you are and just focus on the main event. Sometimes I wake up on the wrong side of the bed and it makes things a lot harder. I feel like today was one of those days. I think I know how to deal with it better. It is really just an experience thing, I think. I wish I had that mentality a lot sooner, because I am nearly done.
MXlarge: This season, your results have not been how you have been riding. Is that frustrating, or is it a positive?
Roczen: Yes, it is a bit frustrating, but you kind of make your own luck, you know what I mean. Some things are way more out of control. I have left way more frustrated, where I felt like crap and it just sucked ending on a bad note on race night, but whether I go down on the first turn or whatever, I have always left it out there and charged as long as I could. When you feel strong and you do everything in your power, to make the best of the situation, then that anger of frustration leaves me a lot quicker and then I just say it is what it is, and I have gotten better at putting the results aside. I agree with you.
MXlarge: With the metal grates and the holeshot devices, there seems there is less separation going into the first turn and it seems to make it more difficult to get a good consistent start.
Roczen: Maybe, when I botch a start, I am sometimes still at the back. Yes and no, that is a tough one. I kind of like sticking with the grates, because it is more an even playing field. It is what it is, so I haven’t really thought enough about it.