Team Honda HRC’s Roczen Talks About Injury and 2018 A1
We caught up with Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen to hear his thoughts on his horrific arm injury nearly a year ago, the process of recovery, and his expectations for the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross series.
Here’s are the highlights of what a confident-sounding Roczen had to say, before we watched him tear-up Honda’s new supercross test track.
– “I don’t really go into Anaheim thinking I have limitations. If I already think I have a disadvantage because of my arm, then I might as well not race. ”
– “My arm is plenty ready to race.”
– “I am going to be on the gate feeling very, very familiar. I’m going to do my thing. I’m not one bit worried.”
– “I’m coming back to Anaheim battling for wins.”
– “Going into Anaheim, I’m just going to enjoy myself. I’m really glad to be back in the spotlight and get to race again.”
– “I haven’t raced in a long time, so sure it will take some getting used to. That’s why I said whether I win or fifth or third, hey, I’m going to be walking out of there with a big smile on my face just being behind the gate and getting racing again with my team.”
– “If I win, amazing. If not, amazing, too. I’m racing. That’s absolutely most important.”
– “You guys are silly if you don’t think I’m going to be able to win again.”
Discussing a sore shoulder from inactivity due to wearing a sling long-term:
– “Whether it’s in the gym or riding, I’m pretty much pain-free.”
– “My arm will never be the same, but I’ve adjusted it so well that I kinda ride just the way like I rode before I crashed. I’m very fortunate to be in this position.”
– “I have very small movement. So, I have to do pushups with my fists, for example. I’m very limited by the things I can do. I’m a lefty, but I can’t throw a ball. But, as long as it’s good enough for riding, I’m fine with it.”
Speaking on ergonomics changes to his 2018 Honda CRF450R:
– “The only thing we’ve work on is my left grip. It’s a little bit thicker than your standard average grip. I’m riding a pretty soft compound, too…I didn’t have to change anything with my bar position.”
– “I’m not afraid of failing. A fail would have been me not trying to comeback and jump on a bike again.”
– “All I want is I want to be happy, which I am, and healthy. We take things for granted. Sometimes you’re healthy for quite a while and you start overlooking things. Once you’re hurt you realize how shitty it is to be on the sidelines, possibly losing an arm.”
– “I have a great fiancé and a great dog, so we have plenty of time together to take the mind off of racing, which helps a lot.”
Following the interview we watched Roczen put in two sessions on his 2018 Honda CRF450R. While he wasn’t racing anyone or riding at a true race pace, he looked fully confident and ready to line up behind the gate at Anaheim 1 less than a month away.
Roczen returns to action at Anaheim Stadium on January 6, 2018. The race will be cablecast live on Fox Sports 1 at 10pm Eastern Time. You can check out the full TV schedule here.
Photography by Don Williams