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5 Minutes With... Chad Reed

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Although you won’t see him in podium pictures, and he wasn’t in the press conference, the official results from Hangtown show Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Chad Reed in third place, with the penalty incurred by Josh Grant in the second moto. We (and by “we”, I mean Jean Turner from Cycle News and I) chased down Reed for an impromptu press conference after the race.

Racer X: Surprise! You got third place!
Chad Reed: Yeeessssss!!! [Laughs] I don’t know, I guess really it’s no different for me – fourth or third – it’s the experience that was valuable. I think we got the bike working a lot closer to my liking and I feel good. I feel comfortable and confident and probably the biggest disappointment of the day is hearing that Ryan [Villopoto] is out. That kind of sucks. Ryan’s a good kid and I always liked him and got on well with him, and it’s a shame to see someone go down like that. But I think it would’ve been fun. This championship’s long, and Mike [Alessi] is riding real well, and JG [Josh Grant], and Ryan, and I was bringing up the rear, so...

You have yet to get any sort of a good start, and that first moto was ridiculously bad. What’s going on?
It was really cool! I don’t even know. I guess it’s just back to school. I missed a shift, and it was unbelievable. I couldn’t tell you the last time I missed a shift. I think I wanted to get a start so badly that I actually jacked it up. The second one, I pretty much just decided to chill out on the line and it worked better on the start.

The second one was noticeably better because you were right up there at the front with those guys...
Yeah, my biggest weakness right now is those first couple of laps. For some reason, I’m just slow and cautious when it’s watered and all that. I need to kind of re-learn the outdoor way of things, but I felt like today we made some gains and it was good. Overall, I felt like I rode real well midway through to the end of both motos, and once again the results on paper aren’t that great. But I think I learned a lot today.

On the podium you said you learned a lot in the last four motos...
Yeah, I think I came into the series believing that I was here to win and that I have a shot at this thing, and it’s going to take a lot of hard work from everyone to get it done, so I’m not shying away from it. It’s fun. It’s a challenge, and I think in the end it will all be good.

Well, you’re certainly not lacking in speed, because you were fastest in practice both races so far, and listening to the announcers, once you got a clear track, you were the fastest guy there, also...
Yeah, I mean a clear track’s important. Mike’s great at his starts, and we all know he’s going to be there week-in and week-out in there, so it’s really up to me to match that and take it to him in the first few laps. It can be a fun season, I think. We’ll turn this thing around and get our groove on a little bit.

What was your take on the whole yellow-and-red-flag thing?
I would’ve jumped it, actually, if I didn’t see Mike kind of pull out at the last second, but I don’t know, I think they should use the red-cross flag. The flag that they use is just a yellow flag with something else on it, and that’s something else to confuse us. No matter what you do, whether it’s riding a motorcycle or driving a car or anything, when you see a red-cross flag, you know there’s immediate danger ahead and you immediately get on the brakes and take caution. I think they need to go do that like they do in supercross. This new flag doesn’t work, I don’t think. I think Josh was robbed today a little bit. Rules are rules, so I understand that, but he rode his butt off, and to get that win taken away kind of sucks for him.

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