Some days at the races go smoothly, while others provide unique challenges. For Adam Cianciarulo, Alex Martin, and Ken Roczen, it was the latter last weekend at RedBud. Cianciarulo was penalized two positions for accelerating after going off the track, Martin’s bike blew up just three turns from the finish line while he was running third, and Roczen threw up inside his helmet during the first moto.
Afterward our own Steve Matthes caught up with each of them to talk about their distinctive days.
Alex Martin | 19-3 for 11th overall in 250 Class
Racer X: A good day for you. Heartbreak, though. Three corners to go moto one. Podium spot. Bike blows up. But you redeemed yourself in moto two, man. Ran a great race.
Alex Martin: Yeah. Definitely was just pure heartbreak. That’s what it felt like. I think I felt like [Ryan] Dungey whenever that happened to him in the 250 Class right before [LaRocco’s] Leap. It was the last lap or something. I was just bummed. That was a long, hot, tough moto. I was just kind of in no-man’s land. RJ [Hamphsire] came up to me and got me and then like you said, with three corners to go it blew up. It ended up just being a radiator hose fell off or something, so kind of a freak deal. I lined up for the second moto and I was like, I’m feeling way too good today to not be on the podium and talk to the NBC crew. So I ripped the holeshot. That’s something I’ve been looking for all year, just a start and a holeshot. It was good to get it in the deep, loamy start like that at RedBud from the outside. Nineteenth gate pick, three to the left of the box. I had a lot of heat there from Hunter Lawrence that last lap, but I was like, there’s no way. I just cannot give this up right now. We were right up on AC [Cianciarulo]. I had nowhere to go. If AC wasn’t going, I wasn’t going anywhere. I just kind of let [Dylan] Ferrandis get a little too far ahead of me. I haven’t been up front as much as I’d like to this year, and I definitely rode a little bit tight, especially in the first moto, and let him get away from me. It’s really good for my confidence and everything to be running the speed up front and to know that I can get the job done still.
First time we’ve seen you up front all year. First time you’ve gotten starts. Great track [Millville] for you next, obviously. You’ll be a little more comfy, feeling better to be up front.
Yeah. No better time I guess to turn things around than halfway through the season at RedBud. Millville coming up. Just to get the Troll Train rolling; Troll Train is back on the tracks. We definitely had a rough start to the year but I feel like we’re gaining momentum now. We have a good setting. Now I’m just riding motos. There’s no more testing. It’s just motos. So I think I’m in a good spot.
"J-Bone" [JRGMX/Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing team manager Jeremy Albrecht] was on the PulpMX Show and said got you more power, got you more motor on your bike recently.
Yeah. We kind of just switched up our motor specs. We had a lot of bottom at the first three or four races and now we have less bottom, but more mid to top. I think it’s really helping. Kind of allows me to ride the bike a little harder because it doesn’t have that hit off the bottom. As you can see, I think it’s working out.
Keep the motor spec. First moto, did you notice it getting weaker and weaker?
Four laps to go, I went up one of the triples in the back. Right after the mechanics area where the triple was going into the back left-hander, I felt like the brakes were on going up the face. I was like, oh, that’s not good. Turned and went down the downhill and I could tell something was up. I made it three and a half more laps. I was just riding really tall gears. I started not tripling the jumps. I was doubling. I really, really thought I was going to make it. It was so close.
I didn’t see you do The Leap all day. I don’t know if you did it in practice or if you cased it or just one of those things where you weren’t comfy with it?
I was kind of bummed because they changed it, the way we approached The Leap this year. We had less of a run than we had last year. I was barely making it last year. I basically just decided not to do it from the get-go. Honestly, I had good practice lap times. The way I was hitting it and scrubbing onto the bank, maybe I was losing a tenth or two but it wasn’t a lot. I wanted to make sure my spokes were intact all day long.
The bank move was pretty sweet. I liked that.
At least you could kind of make up for it a little bit, and I had a better approach into the corner after that with that line. But I think [Dylan] Ferrandis was able to rest a lot more off that jump. You had two or three seconds where I was having to kind of hustle and work it to make that line somewhat efficient. Adam wasn’t really doing The Leap at all either. Obviously, he was doing it at the beginning, but he stopped doing it. So it was kind of give and take.
Adam Cianciarulo | 5-2 for second overall in 250 Class
Racer X: With all that happened today, getting penalized for moto one, it was a tough day, but for all that happened, you still got second overall. You gained on [Justin] Cooper. Lost, 12 to [Dylan] Ferrandis. You’ll take it?
Adam Cianciarulo: Totally. First moto I felt terrible, man. For one, I didn’t deserve the podium anyway because A-Mart’s bike gave up there with two corners to go. He had me. He was really good. He kind of caught me off guard because he didn’t ride a lot this week. He’s crafty. He’s sneaky. He’s super good. When the track gets gnarly, you can just count on that guy every time. First moto, I hate saying this, it’s so cliché, I hate it, but I missed the setup, which was weird. I changed the bike from last weekend. I thought it was way better at my home track this week and then I came here. It was kind of a more slow speed track here. The rear end was just a little bit up my butt there in that first moto. I tried really hard to get around Alex. I was beating myself up and honestly just got super tired and basically just rode around, [in] survival mode. Thought I salvaged a third, which I was super stoked with, but I didn’t. I got fifth. Jumped off the track. They wanted me to slow down more. Dylan [Ferrandis] pushed me off the track. It was go off the track or land on his head.
So this wasn’t for the A-Mart finish line thing?
Jeff Canfield [AMA official] basically told me… I went off the track twice in the first lap. No doubt I was sketchy. I was going for it. Obviously, I’m not trying to [go off the track]. I don’t think it’s a suggestion. I’m not like, I could go off the track if it doesn’t work out. That’s not how I think.
I don’t think any racer does.
No. So the first time it’s like, okay, they wanted me to slow down more. Alright. I’ll get in first gear. I’ll jump on the track at five miles an hour while everybody else is doing 60. We’ll see how that works out for everybody. So I didn’t get that. Then the second one I almost died up the face of the finish line jump. Just happy I survived. Then I hopped in. On camera it looked like I was pretty close to Joey Crown, but the ruts were separated. It is what it is. Then Jeff Canfield was like, "And the incident with [Colt] Nichols too." I’m like, "The incident with Nichols?" He tried to pass me on the outside and I bumped him. Don’t try to pass me on the outside. I like Colt, but you can’t pass me on the outside. It’s funny that he mentioned that. Obviously after Colorado I’m going to have a microscope on me. What I told him after the race, this is you getting heat from Star. They feel like they got screwed at Colorado, and now I did this. What I don’t understand, last week Ferrandis jumps off the track twice wide open, hitting berms. It’s right on TV. Wide open. Nothing. Now this time, it’s different. So there’s just no consistency there. I was bummed. I think everybody knows by now that I’m not here to not take accountability. I’ve gone to the AMA before and been like, I messed up over there. Go ahead and dock me. You can ask Jeff. I’ve done it before. I really don’t know what they wanted me to do on the first one. It’s based on what they think. It has to be concrete. It’s too much based on the circumstances. He’s getting heat from people. He doesn’t want to look like he’s in favor of me. I think it’s just kind of bullshit, honestly.
Now you have Mitch [Payton], and you have the Ferrandis thing at Southwick, which I saw and didn’t make any sense. Then you just say, hey, now it’s time. We got to even this up.
I really don’t understand it. I’ve got nothing against Dylan, but he’s wide open off the track. Wide open. When Colt tried to pass me off the track, he held it wide open. That’s what people do. I didn’t even hold it wide open when I was off the track. It’s just unfortunate.
Does something like that jack you up for the second moto or are you able to put it aside?
That’s what I was proud of. I was frustrated, very. I was [in] survival mode out there just trying to get to the line. Then you salvage a third, got lucky, but you’re thinking, "Good points." Maybe still a shot at the overall. Then you get docked to fifth and you’re like, man. Both the title rivals are now ahead of you in points. It could have easily messed up my day. It honestly just kind of pissed me off. It made me actually probably ride a little bit better. It’s unfortunate, but I’ve been real fortunate in the past too.
I think it starts with what I said. You’ll take it for today. Second overall, right?
Totally. Obviously, the whole narrative right now is Dylan’s on a roll. He’s won a lot of the last motos. But for me, the turnaround from these tracks from years past for me is huge. To win Southwick and to get second here, on a day where I felt like complete shit here, I’m super stoked. Although I lost points to Dylan, I extended my lead overall. This last stretch, these next tracks, are really my favorite, so I’m really confident going into these last few.
A question I’ve asked just about everybody today. Brutal three week stretch. Four weeks in a row. So good to have a weekend off.
Totally. I think that’s the hardest thing. I don’t do anything other than ride and train. You can’t afford to. I’m either doing something for recovery where I’m sitting on my couch, or I’m riding. I barely even ride because you have to recover. We ride Tuesday, Wednesday. Barely any on Wednesday anyway. You wake up Monday and you’re doing an indoor spin or doing an hour bike ride. You have so much of your day. Honestly, that’s the hardest part is being disciplined and being able to sit there and say we need to chill. I haven’t played a round of golf in months, so I’d love to get out there and hit the links on Saturday. It’s the only thing I really do for fun. That or PlayStation.
Ken Roczen | 6-3 for fifth overall in 450 Class
Racer X: How was your day? Good second moto. I think you got to be okay with that.
Ken Roczen: Yeah. My second moto was better. Obviously I haven’t been myself. It’s just been a tough few weeks. I’m not giving up. Just out there to do my best every time. The first moto would have been okay too. I threw up with five minutes to go or something. I’m terrible with throwing up. I don’t do well. I normally faint actually, which is kind of crazy. I’ve actually gone to the doctor for that and they said I put a lot of pressure on my heart and that makes me faint. So I got a little scared out there for a quick second. I just let it all out and finished my race and went back for the second moto. Just went out there and tried as hard as I could for as long as I could.
Seems like that’s kind of your thing right now. You maybe don’t have the whole thing in you with the weather and the tracks, so it’s like "I’m going to go out. I’m going to give what I can. We’ll see what happens."
Yeah, pretty much. I’m still trying to find a couple of things out, because obviously what’s going on, it’s not normal. It’s just my thing. Something isn’t right. Obviously, the good thing was in the first few races when it was at least cool out I could hide it. It’s not like I get brutally hot out there, but a couple of other things are going on. I don’t know. We’re going to have to figure it out.
Week off. Maybe that will help? Maybe that will be something that will make a difference?
I hope it helps.