Racer X: Hey, Chad, are you still planning on making your return this weekend in Daytona? Chad Reed: I don’t know; I’m just kind of playing it by ear. I’m feeling it out to see how the week goes, and it’ll kind of be a last-minute decision.
Is there any particular reason you picked Daytona earlier when you said that would probably be where you would come back? Yeah. I mean, I love the place, for sure. It’s one of the best tracks on the circuit, and it’s not in a dome. It’s a little more open. Mark Barnett builds it, and he builds my tracks for me. It’s a brutal track and probably isn’t ideal for somebody to make a comeback and things like that. I’ve been to the last three races, and I’m not really all that impressed with what I see [laughs], so I feel like if I choose to race, I feel like I have a good shot at doing well. I just know what it takes to be fast and be strong at that event, and a few days on the bike is not ideal, but at the end of the day, if I make that decision, it’ll be based on what I feel like I can achieve that day.
So is it one of those things where if you line up, you’ll have no excuses? That’s the way I wanted it, but six weeks off the bike…. I’ve ridden three times. So the point is that I have to be smart as well. I can’t jump right into wanting to come back. Just because I love the place doesn’t mean I don’t have to respect the place as well. It’s a brutal track, and twenty laps around there is going to be pretty tough, so we’ll see.
They’ve basically turned the track backward this year. Yeah, the track looks a lot different, and it looks pretty long – like it’s going to be around a 1:10 or 1:15 lap time. It looks like the typical track that I would love, but in this situation, you’ve got to be careful. It’s a brutal place, and there’s nothing for me to gain at this point in coming back, whether it’s this week, next week, or three weeks from now.
Are we to assume that your hand feels okay on the bike right now?
Kind of why I’m on the fence is because my hand still hurts a bit when I ride, and I’m kind of going back and forth as to whether it’s worth it. Like, should I just suck it up and race, or should I just wait? I always said that I wanted to be 100 percent, but man, I want to get back out there. I miss it!
So you’re kind of wondering if you’re being objective enough about your own situation.
Yeah, so I’ve got to be careful and just see how it goes. There’s not a lot of pressure from the team, so that helps a lot. If I was getting all kinds of pressure from them, then it would be a little more difficult. But whether I race or not this weekend, Nick Wey is going to be on the team this weekend, so the team is kind of waiting on me because if I choose to race, they’re going to have to build my bike all back up, but if I don’t, then Nick will race the bike that he’s been racing. They’ve gotten themselves in a little bit of a predicament with having three riders and two positions. We’ll see how it all turns out.
How do you feel about your speed right now?
Raw speed, it’s never the issue. I’ve been riding motorcycles since I was 4 years old, so six weeks off the bike isn’t going to change much. That’s the easy part, getting back on the bike and going somewhat fast. It comes down to having that reserve of being able to push the limits for twenty laps. I’m not going to sit here and lie to myself, because I know I’m not in that position where I can let it hang out for twenty laps. I think the most I’ve put together [as of Monday night] is about eight or ten, but fitness isn’t really what I’m focusing on right now. I’m just going off of how I feel
Are you going to be at Daytona anyway, even if you’re not racing? Yeah, and I think that’s where I’m annoyed the most. I have to be there whether I race or not, and to be truthful, I’m over going to the races and not racing. It’s not a lot of fun going to the races when you know you’re one of the guys and you can win the races and you can be on the podium and all that. Just being there as a spectator, I think I’ve worn myself out doing that three consecutive weeks. I’ve told myself that the next race I go to, I’ll be racing. So even if I don’t race, I should at least go and ride practice or something and get a feel for being back in that environment and see where the kids are at and then come back to race when I’m ready, if I’m not at that particular time.