Chad Reed comes into the 2011 AMA Supercross series with a new perspective: that of a team owner. After stints with Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki, it's fair to say that the controversial Aussie had made the rounds. And when the sponsorship well ran dry at the end of 2010, Reed found himself looking at the prospect of funding his own team. With the help of Bel-Ray and a few others, Reed did just that.Some are saying that Reed is coming into the '11 season with a chip on his shoulder. One thing's for sure - he looks fit and ready. But a lot of questions will be answered on Saturday at Anaheim 1, and all will see who has done their homework during the off-season.After the usual A1 press conference on Thursday, Reedy spoke exclusively with Cycle News about owning his own team and his decision to go with Honda.About going with Honda:"I had a great year in 2008," says Reed. "In '08, I enjoyed the chassis on the Yamaha. We made some huge gains. And then going from Yamaha to Suzuki, it was like a step up again. It was like a new generation bike - small, light and nimble. So when I went to the Kawasaki I was chasing that feeling. But the Kawi turned a little slower than what I was used to on the Suzuki. It took a different style of riding and it's always hard to change something when it comes natural to you and ride it a different way. So the Kawai was a great bike and Villopoto won a lot of races on it, but it was just different for me. So I wanted to find something that was light and nimble, all that kind of stuff, and honestly, the Honda was by far the lightest and it turns for me. Where I ended up in a turn was where I wanted to end up. I wasn't fighting it. So that's where my decision came from. It was like, ‘wow' this is it. And I was probably one of Honda's biggest critics when they came out with that new generation four-stroke. I really wasn't a fan of it. I rode Jason Thomas' bike and it just was a really weird bike. But with new bikes comes new issues, and I think it was probably those same issues that Yamaha is having. I rode the Yamaha and it felt good, but then there were some issues that really needed tweaking and I imagine over the next year or two they will really tweak those issues and it will be a great motorcycle. So I just felt that were I was in my career and where I wanted to be, the Honda best fit me in 2011."On help and parts:"Honda supports the program a little bit, and I appreciate that, but everything is being purchased - checks are being written. Mitch Payton is in control of development of engines and suspension and a lot of people have made parts available to me that maybe aren't available to everyone. All parts are being purchased and not being given to me, but being able to purchase those parts you wouldn't normally have a chance to buy is huge. So I'm thankful that a lot of people have stepped up and helped me in the program. I think it's rewarding, to see it from the outside and know what happens on the inside, and see it all come together. It's a fun a rewarding process. I think with my last couple of years of involvement with Australian Supercross, from a business aspect, there are certain things that the brain needs challenging with, and I feel at my age and the point in my career, and my personality, I needed a challenge. And just being a factory rider, certain parts of me weren't getting challenged. I wasn't able to make decisions; I wasn't able to have input that I wanted. And I'm not saying I know everything or I'm a genius. I just find it fun. So creating your own team you have a massive amount of freedom to be creative and decide what you do or use.Advice and resolutions:"I've always been critical of a team that I've been on that if I didn't have the latest, greatest stuff on my practice bike I would be real critical of the team. So in this situation I have made sure that whatever is available on my race bike is also on my practice bike. So my practice bike is equally as good as my race bike. And probably the best advice I've ever got on a budgeting point of view is from Mitch Payton and he told me to look at a budget at the start of the year and then put it away. And then look at it at the end of the year. You will either go ‘Wow, we stayed within our budget, or we came under it, or Holy Shit, we had a great year, but we spent a lot of money!' So you can't really go strictly by a budget, you have to be prepared to step up and do what you have to do to win races. That's the attitude I'm taking with this race team."

 

AMA Supercross Headlines


Shan Moore | Contributing Editor

Moore covers all facets of off-road racing for Cycle News – from AMA Supercross and Motocross to GNCC and National Hare Scrambles events.

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