Although Ken Roczen and Ryan Dungey have been rivals for a handful of years now, it is quite rare to see the pair duke it out across an entire race. San Diego was a real treat, with that in mind, as the main event came down to the final lap. The outcome was exactly the same as Anaheim 1 though, as Roczen was slightly stronger and maintained his perfect season. The Honda HRC pilot recaps his night in this Atlas Brace-powered transcript.
MX Vice: Kenny, obviously you felt the pressure of Ryan Dungey behind you there. It was a little bit of a different win to last weekend. Last week you finished up with a sixteen-second lead, but this week he was on you all the way until the end.
Ken Roczen: Yeah. First off, thank you guys for coming out. I wish I could have jumped in my suit real quick, but I did not have enough time. It was good. It was an awesome race. I was third, I think, coming around the [first] turn. I found myself behind Ryan and kind of watched what he was doing. I got peppered by him pretty good from all the roost and stuff. I was behind him, able to make the pass past the mechanic area and just rode my own race.
I knew that it was going to be a tough one, just because the track broke down so much. I didn’t want to get ahead of myself, rode conservative and tried to really hit my marks. I think I could have switched up my lines here and there but, sometimes with the track being this rough, it could be a risk. You end up taking a line that is a little bit worse. We just had to hit our marks and do all the rhythms at all times. Overall though, I’m happier with how this week turned out than last week.
Composure and patience was the name of the game throughout the day today. How important was that for you, to maintain that throughout the day, and what did you learn from it?
Absolutely. It was important to keep the focus, not get too confident and let it possibly hurt you. It was good. I wasn’t too worried about not being first in qualifying practice; I’m not the greatest at putting down just one fast lap. I always look forward to racing, you know, and that is where I have the most fun at too. I was looking forward to the night show.
After you guys got the white flag, Ryan got inside of you around that sweeper. I’m sure that you knew he was there. Could you talk about what was going through your head?
I love being up front. We were probably within a second or half a second throughout the whole twenty plus one. Honestly, there was no real thinking. It is hard to really describe what you are thinking. I feel like my mind is empty and I’m focussed on what is ahead of me. Obviously Ryan was behind me, but there is no turning around or anything like that. I want to look forward. Sometimes when you are behind somebody you can pick it up somewhere and pick out a couple of spots to make a pass.
At the same time, with the ruts being there, you can cut to the inside, but then you cannot jump the rhythm and stuff. Being up front, you cannot really protect the inside. Whereas some of the tracks that we ride, like last weekend for example, there were no ruts in the berms; you could go to the inside, make a pass, still jump the rhythms and stuff. I’m happy with tonight. I am in a good spot, took the main and it was a good race.
Coming into those last two or three laps, was there something left on the table or not?
He was so close that I couldn’t just let loose and ride around. Again, with the track being like that, you could easily try to rush it a little bit and possibly make a mistake. I couldn’t do that, being up front, I pretty much had everything to lose. It was tough, but it was good. I love it.
Kenny, a little off-topic. Over the weekend it was announced that you are going to do the Motocross of Nations again for Germany. What brought that decision about? Can you talk a little bit about that?
It is pretty simple. I’m in a good position. There are no team switches or anything like that. Every year I plan on racing, but then the last few years it just didn’t play out to where I was ready to go. I want everything to be on point and one hundred percent perfect, to go there to race for the win and not just go there just to go. When I came with the team, rode the bike and everything was going in a good direction I decided that I’m going to commit. That is what I want to do.
It is the first time that we have more than twenty laps in a main event. I think we did twenty-four? Did it feel different or seem different?
Obviously before, without the time, with a short lap time we would get done a lot quicker. I like it like that. You have to ride more laps, but at least it is consistent. We are riding the same time. There is no more thinking that when the tracks get longer, “oh it is going to be a lot longer." It's just good to keep it consistent.
Interview: Press Conference | Lead Image: Sean Ogden