2015 Anaheim Supercross Press Conference – Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series Opener

The 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season moved one step closer to the opening gate drop with the Anaheim 1 Press Conference at Angel Stadium. Seven riders represented six bike manufacturers: Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey, Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson, RCH/Dodge/Sycuan/Suzuki’s Ken Roczen, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Davi Millsaps, Team Honda’s Trey Canard, AutoTrader/Toyota/Yamaha’s Justin Barcia, and TwoTwo Motorsport’s Chad Reed.

The last time that Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey won a Supercross championship was back in 2010. The man who defeated him, Ryan Villopoto, is now absent from the series, having gone to contest the FIM’s globetrotting MXGP series. In spite of this, Dungey knows that there are still plenty of strong, fast competitors to battle with for the title. “The last four years have been tough,” Dungey said. “Villopoto made it difficult on us all. There are a long list of riders who can win, but my team and I feel very prepared.”

While his program is largely similar to the previous year, Dungey has continued his association with a moto-celebrity trainer Aldon Baker and is riding a fresh KTM this year. “We started riding the new KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition right after the Monster Energy Cup,” Dungey said. “It’s a brand new bike from the ground up and they really did a great job. The previous model was good, but this bike eliminates the flaws that the other one had. It is also amazing how light the bike is. We could easily be under the weight limit if we wanted to. I have to give a huge thanks to KTM for their efforts on developing the new bike. In my training program, I actually began working with Aldon Baker in the latter part of the outdoor season last year. It has been good to spend some time with him down in Florida acquiring data and getting some numbers. This is probably one of the best off seasons I have had in my whole career. We are ready to get rolling and see what the year brings.”

Team Honda’s Trey Canard comes into the season with plenty of confidence, momentum, and speed with two main event wins at the 2014 Monster Energy Cup, where he placed second overall on the night, narrowly missing making $1 million on his CRF450R. “I am healthy, which is a great way to start the season,” Canard said. “Plus, I have had a great off season. It’s been fun and I am excited to arrive at the first round healthy and ready to race.”

Though he has spent most of his professional career on a Honda, Justin Barcia made the switch over to the AutoTrader/Toyota/Yamaha for 2015. He’ll be riding a JGRMX Yamaha YZ450F, and he views the change as a much needed breath of fresh air. “I have made a lot of changes in my program for this year,” Barcia explained. “First off, it is nice to stay back in North Carolina and not have to come to California during the off-season. I really enjoy it on the east coast, so that is a benefit to me. The switch to the Yamaha has been a big learning process. Becoming familiarized with the new team, getting to know the individual members of the team that work on particular parts of the bike, and hiring Johnny O’Mara as my trainer have all been significant changes from last year. Also, I have picked up a few new sponsors such as Monster Energy, which is really cool. We’ve been working really hard and have been putting in the laps. It’s been a great off season and I definitely feel ready for the season to start.”

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Davi Millsaps makes his return to the series, fresh off a win at the 2014 Monster Energy Cup on his new Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450F. This comes after being unable to race for over a year due to injuries. “It is exciting for the team and I to be here at Anaheim. I am really looking forward to this race,” Millsaps said. “Obviously, there are nerves, but it is a long season and I am excited to get back behind the gate and go racing.”

Jason Anderson is coming off a 250 West Region Supercross Championship and will be Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna’s only rider in the 450 class for the 2015 Supercross season. Anderson will not only be racing his first 450 Supercross race at Anaheim, but will be bringing the reconstituted Husqvarna back to the premier class in AMA Supercross competition as well. With such a large responsibility, Anderson’s expectations are to keep his Husky FC 450 on two wheels and make it through the grueling seventeen round series. “I want to make it through the whole season and hopefully get up on the podium,” Anderson said. “I’ve been training hard and have had a great off season. I am eager to be up near the front and have a good first year.”

Ken Roczen is fresh off winning the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship over the summer on a KTM, and made the switch to the RCH/Dodge/Sycuan/Suzuki team immediately after the series came to a close. Despite finishing 3rd in the Supercross championship series last year behind Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey, many view Roczen as the title favorite on the RM-Z450. “I’ve been very happy with my team change,” Roczen says. “Everything has been awesome and I have a lot of confidence on the bike. In fact, I would say that I have never felt this good. It is going to be a long season with 17 rounds and I am going to ride as aggressive as I can, while still being smart. It is really exciting to go back to my roots being on a Suzuki. It is time to go racing and I cannot wait for the gate to drop.”

Returning veteran Chad Reed is coming into the season healthy, while beginning his fifth season as a team owner. This year also marks the first time he has signed a second rider to be his teammate, Josh Grant, who will also be aboard a Kawasaki KX450F. “I think healthy and happy go hand in hand,” the two-time SX champion said. “Josh has been mostly out on the west coast during the off-season. I believe we only trained four times total in Florida together. I have not been on the West Coast at all this off-season. Even though we are teammates, we have not been around each other a whole lot. This off-season has been fun. I have been at home in Florida a lot and for the first time in awhile; I actually have not changed my set up a whole lot from the previous year. That makes it easy to build from one year to the next as I am not changing bikes or major sponsors. History has shown that if I make it to Las Vegas, I have a good shot at winning the championship. This is not my first time around the block. I am just excited to go racing and see what this new group of guys has to offer.”

The opening round of the 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship Series is Saturday, January 3, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. The race will be shown live on the Fox Sports 1 cable channel, with the broadcast beginning at 7pm Pacific Time.

Photography by Don Williams

2015 AMA Supercross Schedule
1/3/15: Anaheim, Angel Stadium
1/10: Phoenix, Chase Field
1/17: Anaheim, Angel Stadium
1/24: Oakland, Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
1/31: Anaheim, Angel Stadium
2/7: San Diego, PETCO Park
2/14: Arlington, AT&T Stadium
2/21: Atlanta, Georgia Dome
2/28: Atlanta, Georgia Dome
3/7: Daytona, Daytona International Speedway
3/14: Indianapolis, Lucas Oil Stadium
3/21: Detroit, Ford Field
3/28: St. Louis, Edward Jones Dome
4/11: Houston, NRG Stadium
4/18: San Francisco, Levi’s Stadium
4/25: East Rutherford, MetLife Stadium
5/2: Las Vegas, Sam Boyd Stadium