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5 Minutes With... Broc Hepler

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Yamaha’s Broc Hepler has been hurt more than not over the past couple of years, but when he’s been on the track, he’s always been fast. At Atlanta, he ran second for about half of the main event before eventually finishing fifth – his first finish of 2009. We talked to him after the main event.

Racer X: Two weeks in a row, you’ve had a good start, and this time you ran up front for more than half the main. Talk us through it. How did it feel?
Broc Hepler: I don’t know, it felt like last week, until I got taken out! All everyone’s talking about is my 19th last week. They don’t talk about how good I was doing last week.

Yeah, it’s a cruel mistress, this racing game.
Yeah, it’s like, everyone says you’re only as good as your last race. Last week, I was only as good as my last lap.

You held it together this time. To be fair, you did get taken out last week, but ultimately you crashed on your own later. Sticking to this week, though, what was it like battling with Chad Reed and Ryan Villopoto, and running up front?
I didn’t really know who was there, but I figured it was Villopoto because I saw the green fender a few times on my inside. But the thing is, I didn’t ride that speed all night, so I didn’t know whether I could go that fast for 20 laps. I haven’t done a 20-lap moto since December, I think.

Did your heart rate spike, or did you pump up, or what?
I just slowed it down a little bit because I was making a few mistakes. Of course, I was probably getting a little tired, but my arms were fine. I was probably just breathing a little heavy and made a few mistakes, and I didn’t want to get 19th again.

You have to be feeling pretty good to pick up your pace and run with those guys for a while, right?
Yeah, I mean, even last week I was like 30th fastest in practice, and tonight I was like 16th or 18th in practice, so hopefully I can ride this week and keep improving.

Why is that, by the way, that your practice times are so bad?
I’ve never been a super-hot practicer, but I think just my lack of riding time on a fresh track, where you’ve got to learn it quickly and do all the jumps, that’s holding me back right now.

And you haven’t really ridden a whole lot since they brought in the timed-qualifying thing, have you?
Yeah, I don’t like that. I don’t like the one-lap hot-lap.

Yeah, I’ve heard people say that almost anybody can do one fast lap...
Yeah, but the fast guys still have the best laps, so...

Looking forward, obviously you’ve got ice on your right wrist now... Do you plan on putting in a whole week of riding before Indianapolis, or what?
Hopefully, if it quits raining. I’m going to try and ride as much as I can this week. That’s the plan.

You obviously have ice on your wrist because you’re the Iceman...
And it makes my finish look even better, right?

It’s almost bragging. You’re saying to everyone in the pits right now, “Yeah, I did that injured.”
(Smiling) Right. Just imagine if I had a good wrist.

And it’s your throttle wrist, too...
(Smiling) Yeah, I could only go half-throttle. That’s all I could get. So just think when I can move it the whole way...

What did you think of the sand section?
I hate sand. I hate sand. Look at the results and see if I’ve ever finished Southwick... Actually, the sand is pretty good, because every time those guys would catch me, I’d blast them with sand. Even though I hate the sand, it actually probably worked in my favor tonight.

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