Open Mic: 450 Interviews

Open Mic 450 Interviews

June 1, 2015 2:00pm

By Aaron Hansel and Steve Matthes

Blake Baggett, Yoshimura Suzuki, 4-3 for Third Overall in 450 Class

Blake Baggett: It’s a learning curve, and these first three tracks have just been brutal. It’s a big adjustment going to the 450, and I’m just learning and hope to keep working forward. I hope to be battling with those guys up front, but I need a bit more speed. Hopefully feeling a bit more comfortable, the speed will come. As soon as you start feeling more comfy, you go faster, and then you feel comfortable at that speed, and then you try to do it again and get even faster and get comfortable at that speed. We’ve been working on the bike and I’m working on things myself with RJ [Coach, Rick Johnson]. You can’t literally manhandle a 450, but you can just force it a little bit more, I guess.

You talk about racing with those guys, you also need to start with them as well, and you haven’t been able to do that.
Correct. Second moto, I blew it. I shifted up to second gear when I should have went with first [off the gate]. Kind of a panic. Last second I shifted back down to first gear. My mistake. 

I thought your lines were really good. Looks like you hugged the inside as tight as you could, cutting off a lot of the track.
Yeah on the big bike, as soon as you get into the big bumps, here come the big problems. So I try to take, not necessarily the fastest line, but the one that will make it easiest on myself. Shorten the track up and save energy. –Steve Matthes

"I felt awesome today. I felt like I was on rails." – Tickle Photo: Cudby

Broc Tickle, RCH/Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s Suzuki, 5-5 for Fourth Overall in 450 Class 

Racer X: You had a good day. How was it?
Broc Tickle: Today was really, really good. I came up here  on Thursday to ride press day and felt like it was good for me to get acclimated to the altitude. I felt awesome today. I felt like I was on rails. The whole team, I felt like today showed the hard work that they do with Ivan [Tedesco, testing] and whatnot was in the right direction because today I felt like I was on rails. It came really easy to me when the track got gnarly. And the track was gnarly both motos. Stoked with the weekend. Five and five for fourth overall. Let’s just keep it going, and glad I bounced back from last weekend. Just try to be the same as I was this weekend. –Courtesy RCH

"The bike was working really well today—we did a lot of testing and the team has been awesome in helping me find the right settings." – Seely Photo: Cudby

Cole Seely, Team Honda HRC, 8-4 for Fifth Overall in 450 Class

Cole Seely: It was good today. First moto I didn’t get out to the best start, was right outside the top ten, but I made some good passes and pushed forward and ended up eighth. Second moto I got a really good jump and had a clean shift. It’s tricky because we’re starting in first gear here, so it’s a little bit different starting technique. Got the power down and was able to get the holeshot and lead a bit. Those front three guys are hauling though, so I knew not to take too many risks to try to hold them off for too long. Just tried to learn their lines when I could, tried to ride my own race, and hit my marks. The bike was working really well today—we did a lot of testing and the team has been awesome in helping me find the right settings. I ended up fourth in that moto, and fifth overall, so that’s a really good day for a supercross guy.

Other than the start, is there anything else you can attribute that second moto to? Things looked good for you second time out.
I don’t know, I was just flowing a lot better. I think it was just the bike setup. We changed quite a bit during the week at home, and pretty much everything they threw at me I liked. They’re trying to lead me in the right direction. When I’m riding supercross it’s so easy for me to find better settings—different sag, a click here, a click there, I know what I want. But outdoors I’m kind of lost with setup. I just listen to my suspension guy, the chassis guy—I listen to all these guys. They are so knowledgeable; they’re the best in the business. It’s an honor to work with them, and anything they have to throw at me or to suggest, I’m always open to it.  –Hansel

"It’s hard to put two good motos together, so I was happy with a 10-9 for ninth overall." – Nicoletti Photo: Cudby

Phil Nicoletti, Autotrader.com/Toyota/JGR Yamaha, 10-9 for Ninth Overall in 450 Class

Racer X: Knowing you, how mad were you in the first moto when you were going backwards there at one point? You must have been so angry. 
Phil Nicoletti: Yeah, it kind of sucked. Our bikes are awesome. I got to give it up to the suspension guy, Johnny Oler, and Dean Baker, motor guy. Made awesome changes. Track was absolutely brutal. It’s actually stupid.

I’ve heard that from a few guys. Rough, rutty, hard-pack…
Yeah. Just trying to be gnarly for des Nations. I bet that’s what it’s all about. But it’s good and it separates the men from the boys. It’s hard to put two good motos together, so I was happy with a 10-9 for ninth overall. Obviously I was up in good positions and just made some bobbles and whatnot, which was kind of a bummer. But first moto I was kind of upset. I had ninth locked down, and then [Justin] Brayton got me on the last lap. That kind of sucked. I’m going to have to hear that from those guys all week. And then second moto I ended up ninth, but I had some really good laps, some really good half-motos. –Matthes

"It’s not like I want to get eighth-places considering where I started at the first two rounds." – Peick Photo: Cudby

Weston Peick, Autotrader.com/Toyota/JGR Yamaha, 19-8 for Thirteenth Overall in 450 Class

Racer X: Not a good day for you. I heard you at one point come by the announcer’s tower and you dropped the f-bomb because you got a head shake and you screwed up. Not a great day. I guess second moto was okay because you came from the back.
Weston Peick: Terrible day. I struggled the first moto. Had a good start, yard-saled myself first lap down the downhill. Got up, did another lap, then ran into the back of some idiot, down again. Then caught up to nineteenth. Just had the worst first moto ever. Then came into the second moto. My front brake broke, so I had no front brake. Had a front brake problem, a little incident. It was just a bad start and I caught up to eighth place from the back, which wasn’t bad, but not what I want. It’s not like I want to get eighth-places considering where I started at the first two rounds. –Matthes