One year after his career-threatening crash at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen returned to the site of his crash. (Technically he raced in the stadium at the opener, but it was not the same race as his crash one year ago.) Sporting the same gear he wore on that night in 2017, Roczen struggled at round three, going 11-12-4 for ninth overall in the new Triple Crown format.
Following the race, Roczen said, “I did not ride like myself out there,” and it “felt like I all of a sudden don’t know how to ride a dirt bike anymore.”
Check out the entire interview with Roczen below.
Racer X: Walk me through your night.
Ken Roczen: Not the greatest night. I definitely did not ride like myself out there. I didn’t want to take it as “it’s Anaheim 2.” It was somewhere lingering. I felt like I all of a sudden don’t know how to ride a dirt bike anymore. It just absolutely wasn’t my night. I felt horrible out there. I was, like, riding on eggshells. The worst part is that after the first main I felt horrible that I had two more mains to go. Not the [most fun] night, that’s for sure, but I’m glad I can do a big checkmark on this one. Now I can look forward.
Was it the format that messed you up or was it just being here in Anaheim again, A2 and the whole vibe of that?
I don’t care for the format in general. I think one main is better. But I think it was… just it being Anaheim 2 and lingering that I crashed here last year. I just felt super uncomfortable on the track. I think just in general. It didn’t really have anything to do with the format.
It was pretty cool that you came out in your gear from last year. What was the idea behind that?
It was just a statement. Had a cool butt patch that had a lot of meaning, and then the date in Roman numerals underneath it. Really just something that I don’t think anybody would do or anybody had in mind that I was going to do it. It was really just to make a statement and do something exciting, do something new around the industry. That was the plan.
How did you feel after the three races physically?
Physically I’m fine, but I couldn’t even ride close to my capabilities. I’m fine. I’m just glad that this one’s over. I just want to forget about this night. But there’s a lot of positives to take from tonight. Being healthy and going into the next race. I can look forward to the next one and have a good week and focus on winning next weekend.
What kind of things were some good takeaways from tonight?
I think the most important is, plain and simple, that we’re healthy 100 percent. I haven’t really felt this uncomfortable in a race for some reason in a long, long time. So, it was good to just stay out of trouble. Didn’t go down and we’re healthy. That’s what I can take away from that.
It was kind of mayhem out there. Everybody was just going for it.
It was. Yeah, it was a weird night. I don’t know if everybody was going for it and it just felt like that because I was going slow. I really did. Or if everybody really just hung it out. I don’t know.
It seemed like you really picked it up in the third one, though. Were you able to get a little bit warmed up, or what was that? You were charging a lot better in the third for sure.
I don’t know. I think it was just that I got a bit of a better start, but the other two starts I dumped the clutch and then I was almost last. Feeling like crap and riding slow, that doesn’t necessarily help because it’s not like I freaking cut through the pack. Then the last one I just got a decent start. I stuck right there and tried to finish the race.