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Monday Conversation: Ivan Tedesco

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Honda Red Bull Racing’s Ivan Tedesco has been written off by a lot of people quite a few times over the last few years in the 450cc class, but at the Colorado National, he finally broke through, winning his first-ever 450cc event with a 1-1 score.

Racer X: You moved up to 450s, what, four years ago?
Ivan Tedesco: I moved up in 2006, so this is my fourth year, yeah.

So that’s a long time to wait before finally winning a race in this class. What did it take to make this breakthrough?
I’m healthy, so that’s one thing. Since I’ve gotten on the 450, I’ve gotten hurt every year, and multiple times in a year, so I’m healthy now. I mean, I’ve always worked hard, and I haven’t really changed anything, and I’ve been doing the same things over the last few years.

So, do you feel snake-bitten?
For sure, the last three years with the injuries just set me back so far every time. It just knocks you down every time I felt like I was getting somewhere and was riding pretty decent. You’re getting better, then boom, you’re done. It blows your confidence, and I was trying to ride injured at some points just to try and stay out there, and then you’re out there riding around in eighth, ninth, 10th place with an injury...

And everyone’s like, “This guy sucks!”
Yeah! And you start believing it. You start thinking, “Oh, maybe I do suck!” It’s kind of an uphill battle.

Is there a reason racers don’t tell anyone when they’re hurt?
Oh, I don’t care. If I’m hurt, I tell everybody. At least if you are hurt and you’re trying to ride through it, and you’re back there in 10th, at least they know you’re hurt. I don’t know why people hide it.

Having gone through that for so long, then made it back to the top, what was that climb like? How do you have the confidence to still believe you can do it?
A lot of times I didn’t. I won’t sit here and say that I thought I was going to go win races at some points, but you’ve just got to believe in yourself, work hard, and get over these injuries. Hopefully, I can stay healthy for the rest of the year and get some momentum going into next supercross season and build on each year.

In talking with Weimer, he mentioned that sometimes when you don’t do well, it snowballs because you make it snowball by working harder and burying yourself... Sometimes you want to win so badly that it’s actually detrimental to your racing.
For sure, and it’s true in a lot of things. There’s a fine line between over-training and not training enough. Like you said, you have a bad weekend, and sometimes you just want to go kill yourself and just train, train, train, but sometimes that’s not the best thing. I’ve done it and looked back and realized that I needed to start having fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re not going to ride good. It’s that balance of keeping it fun and not training yourself into the ground.

But you still have to be in shape...
Oh, there’s no doubt about it. You’ve got to be in shape.

{LINKS}Do you expect your phone to be blowing up this week?
Yeah! That’s another funny thing... When you’re having a string of five bad races, no one wants to talk to you. “Oh, that guy sucks now!” I’ve seen it. I’ve been racing for nine or 10 seasons. I’ve seen it, and I’ve had my highs and my lows of winning and not winning, and that whole deal’s kind of funny. But it is what it is, and I’ll take these good moments and just red-button a lot of people this week... [Laughs]

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