Anaheim 3 Press Day Interviews - Team TLD/Lucas Oil/Honda
Transworld Motocross Interviews
It’s your first Supercross season. What are your thoughts on it?
It’s been going kind of rough for me. I’ve had one good finish and some moments of brilliance, but I’ve kind of failed a couple times. These last two weekends, I’ve just been fighting being sick and trying to not make too many mistakes. I got pushed around a little in Oakland during the main, which kind of sucked, but I also got the heat race win and that was really cool. It was the first time for me, and it was really cool.
Did that heat race win help you to realize that you’ve arrived in the pro ranks and help boost your confidence a little?
I think it helped me to feel a little more at home. Coming from amateurs and being one of the top guys all the time and knowing I can win to the pros where everyone is fast, has been hard. I’m just doing the best I can.
What has been the biggest thing that you have had to overcome?
I’d say getting the rhythm sections down has been difficult. Supercross is so much more different than outdoors. It takes me a lot longer to get the courage to do the rhythm sections. I remember I did a couple Supercross or Arenacross races on 80s, and I was the first one to send everything and ate crap like three times. That kind of put a damper on me just going out and sending it off stuff. Now, I let other people do the jumps first and always try to follow people off stuff. I’m just a lot more cautious, because it only takes one mistake to screw up your whole season.
It’s interesting to hear you say the rhythm sections were the toughest thing to overcome, because it seems kids coming up from amateurs say the whoops were the most intimidating.
For me, the whoops aren’t a big deal. I’m not too scared of them unless they’re chewed up. The rhythms are what scare me, especially when you really have to start sending it and time it perfectly. That’s when it’s hard to get the courage for it.
What are your expectations for this weekend at Anaheim?
I just really want to get a top-five - that would be really cool. I want to get some good points after coming back from being sick. Going to San Diego, I really want to get a podium. I want that so bad. That would really make it great.
How has the season been for you?
The season is going really well. I’ve only raced for a month now, and I’m getting a lot more comfortable. At A1 I was really nervous and tight, but I’ve loosened up a lot since then. Now at the last two rounds, I’ve led 21 laps out of 30. Having those laps led under my belt has been nice, and I feel a lot more comfortable leading a race now. I think that if the opportunity provides itself, I’ll be able to win one now.
Are you trying to build your stamina and fitness up to where it was before you got hurt?
No, and I’ve been asked that a lot over the past two weeks, because obviously I fade at lap 11. But it’s not really a fitness thing for me. It’s more of a comfort thing for me. Anyone who has led a Supercross race before can tell you that it’s pretty chaotic. It’s really something that you have to build up to with comfort and experience. I experienced the same thing last year in Atlanta when I led the 450 main. I can do 20 laps on a 450 with the same lap times, no problem. But when you have the best guys in the world behind you, it gets a little bit more hectic. The same thing goes for the 250 class. It’s the best guys out there. I just get a little nervous and tight, and I just need to remember why I’m out there.
What are your expectations for this weekend? Are you not going to be happy with anything short of a win?
Yeah, I mean I want to be on the podium and stay consistent. Obviously I want to win - that’s my main goal every race. I just want to be on the podium and stay in the points chase. We’re in second now - 11 points out - so I feel like I’m in a really good position to take home the title this year.
When you got hurt last year, did you think that you would ever be in the championship chase again?
I knew I could be. It was tough last year, though, because I’ve never taken that much time off the bike before. Having to take three months off with no training, riding, or anything was pretty difficult to go through. I’m glad to be back now, but like I said, I’m just tight and nervous. I just need to loosen up again and remember how to win races.
You’ve won multiple times before…
I know, but the years before, I’ve raced Supercross, raced outdoors, done Monster Cup, and then gone into Supercross. I’ve never had a break from the racing schedule. I’ve never had to take whatever it was - seven months - off definitely took a toll on me.
What are your thoughts on the season so far?
I’m just learning something new every weekend. It’s still new to me even though it’s my third year in the pro class. I’ve been hurt every year, so I’m just trying to stay healthy, be consistent, and make it to every round. I was expecting to be inside the top-10 every round or inside the top-five battling with all the top guys. The first round I finished 12th, then 10th, then sixth, so I felt like I was getting better every weekend. Then Oakland came around and I ended up ninth. I don’t know, it’s just learning to get into the pace where everyone is just pushing each other around - I’m not used to that. I worked on a lot of intensity stuff this week, trying to just build up my quick laps. I did a lot of six-lap sprints rather than putting in the long motos. Hopefully it’ll work this weekend.
You’ve been racing pro for a few seasons now in the 450 class outdoors, so how is the intensity level different than what you’ve been used to?
I think that it’s the class, and in outdoors you sprint for a few laps then just get into a pace where you can back it off. I was also in the 450 class where a lot of the guys are smart and don’t try to take you out. To go in with all these young guys that are hanging it out, jumping right next to you, cross-jumping, almost landing on you, I was almost scared at first. Even though I’m one of the bigger guys in the class, I’ve been getting bumped around. Like I said, I’ve been doing a lot of intensity stuff. I’ll do a start then go straight into pounding out fast laps. I’ll try different lines and not just get into one line like all the test tracks have. I’ve also been working on holding the inside line incase someone jumps in front of you. That’s what I worked on this week and I’m not going to let anyone bump me around. I’ll have to roadblock someone if I have to.
Are you pleased with how you’ve performed so far?
I haven’t really been happy with any of the rounds except for my sixth place. That was probably the only one that I smiled afterwards. I was happy with how I rode and I was even sick at the time too. The whole day was a mess, and I was just putting in a couple laps to qualify then it went good in the main. At Oakland I had a good start and was in like third or fourth, then I just got pushed around. I kind of just choked during the first half of the race, and in the second half I was playing catch up.
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