Open Mic:  Interviews from Daytona

Open Mic: Interviews from Daytona

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Interviews by Steve Matthes and Jason Weigandt

Wil Hahn, GEICO Honda, 2nd in 250SX

How was it?
Tonight was good. I think I closed a little bit on the practice times. It was close enough. I got a heat win, happy about that. Got a good gate pick for the main. In the main I didn’t get the greatest start; I didn’t get a bad one either. I just tucked on the inside, everyone pushed out. I was just patient tonight. Maybe a little too patient because by the time I got into second Marvin [Musquin] was gone. So hats off to Marvin, he rode awesome. I’m just happy to leave here with a little bit bigger of a lead and keep that red plate on my Honda.

Do you really think about points or is it one of those things where you take it one race at a time?
My main concern was just pressuring him tonight more than anything. I go out there and just ride my race and then at the end of it I’ll worry about that. I’m not in the middle of the race going 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… I just try to stay calm and let the cards fall like they’ve fallen, because I think once you start over-analyzing stuff bad stuff happens. So I just try to ride like I do at home and bring that to the table.

Wilson’s obviously pretty good outdoors. He’s won a title before. Were you worried about this race any more than any other?
No, and I knew going in that my fitness was going to be a big thing tonight, whether my speed was a little off or not. By lap 15 I knew my fitness would be there. To me, I just relied on that tonight. – Jason Weigandt

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"My main concern was just pressuring him [Dean Wilson] tonight more than anything." - Wil Hahn
Simon Cudby photo

Ken Roczen, Red Bull KTM, 7th in 450SX

Is that your only race in this class?
Yeah, only one.

But it was good, right?
It was all right. On one side I can’t complain, on the other side I’m definitely not happy. I struggled with the suspension all day and I’ve been getting arm pump and stuff. But also I haven’t tested with this thing or anything. So I don’t know. The heat race, my start was pretty good, riding was pretty good, but after the second lap I [was] riding super tight and just can’t make the turns and stuff. Went to the main and just good start again and first couple laps all right, and as soon as I get arm pump I ride this thing like a tractor around the corners.

I saw you take your hand off over some jumps. Is that what you were doing?
Yeah, my hands. I could have pushed more and do something stupid but then my arms would have ripped off. I really didn’t know. There’s a little bit of work what we have to do. We have been testing outdoors last week, with the 250 though, and gotten a little better. But I’m putting in all the work I can. I know the team is, too, but we’re just not at the point yet where I can go out there and say "Hey, everything is working very good." I don’t want to just sound bad, but…

You know if you didn’t get pumped up you probably would have done better.
Yeah, that’s what bummed me out. You could see in the first couple laps it’s all right. – Jason Weigandt

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"We’re just not at the point yet where I can go out there and say "Hey, everything is working very good." - Ken Roczen
Simon Cudby photo

Justin Barcia, Muscle Milk Honda, 3rd in 450SX

How was the race?
[Sighs] That’s how it was.

Is it really that gnarly?
It was really gnarly. Those guys were bad dudes, Ryan and Ryan. But it feels good to be up there with those two guys that [have] won a lot of championships. I feel pretty good racing with those guys and being on the podium. I beat a lot of good guys tonight, but got beat by two really good guys so it doesn’t feel terribly bad. Track was brutal, rough, gnarly. More like a motocross track with big jumps.

Which makes it worse, I would assume.
Makes it way worse because you have to think the whole time about these jumps you’ve got to do and watch your kickers and ruts and bumps and sand… I could go on and on.

You had Stanton down there busting you pretty bad for the last couple days?
Yeah, he’s been down there. We’ve been getting it done, to say the least. He’s won Daytona quite a few times so he kind of has some good stuff to say. It’s a bummer I didn’t win, but good to be on the podium. It’s a lot better than fourth or fifth. Feels pretty good to be back. – Jason Weigandt

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"It was really gnarly. Those guys were bad dudes, Ryan and Ryan." - Justin Barcia
Simon Cudby photo

Eli Tomac, GEICO Honda, 4th in 450SX

Nice main event for you. You were coming on strong until you dumped it near the end. Barcia might have had himself a challenger for the podium.
It was close there. I just did a little mistake. I was getting a little excited. I was like, 'Oh my gosh! Third’s right there. I could smell the blood.' I was actually good until about lap 18, that’s when I kind of felt it and that’s when those little mistakes pop out, those little things like that. Before that I even cased the rhythm in the back and he got away a little bit. It would have been really close, I guess if I wouldn’t have made that little mistake. Even on the start I got sandwiched. I’m going to have to watch on TV if I was the guy that led off or what because I got sandwiched by Dungey and Trey. But I was actually able to sneak around the inside good. And then going into the second corner Bam Bam was getting all crazy like off the inside of the track. I was like, I don’t know what’s going to happen now. But I guess I must have been around 10th or somewhere in there.

I think I had you about 11th. Regardless of not getting Bam Bam, great race. You’ve got to be happy.
Yeah. Fourth sucks because you’re not on the podium. But it's like my first legit 450 race, felt like I normally do.

Let’s face it, the first two races of your four-race thing hasn’t gone the way you wanted it to.
Even Atlanta I was just tight. Last week I was okay in the morning and then grenade with energy later. I was sick in the middle of the week. I could kind of use that excuse but I was just tired and just wasn’t all there. This week I was finally just solid.

How was the track? It looked gnarly.
It was. They groomed up a couple spots but it was gnarly in spots for sure.

One more race, right, on the 450?
Indianapolis and then yeah, get ready for the 250 then. If this week didn’t go well I was thinking of not even racing next weekend because I was seriously getting that pissed at not being comfortable on the 450 and getting like a 10th.

There was a battle there with Roczen.
My goals today were like, I want the podium and I have to beat Roczen! I do not want that guy to beat me.

I tweeted that I was a big momentum shift for the 250 series in three weeks or four weeks. How’s the bike been for you?
Truthfully it hasn’t been awesome. Fighting setup like crazy. I just do not feel comfortable on the thing.

Back to the spring forks?
Back to the spring forks. I absolutely dislike the air forks right now. I think you just need a lot, a lot of time on them to figure stuff out and I just haven’t had the time. Once I went back to my spring fork it was pretty surprising on where they worked better. – Steve Matthes

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"My goals today were like, I want the podium and I have to beat Roczen! I do not want that guy to beat me." - Eli Tomac
Simon Cudby photo

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