Trey Canard has been one of the best surprises of the 2011 season. In his first full season in the 450 class, the Team Honda rider has already shown he can run with the fastest in the division, and he grabbed his first podium of the season this past weekend in Phoenix. In fact, the redheaded Okie was actually disappointed in his third-place finish at Chase Field and feels he’s close to landing his first premier class win.
Last year, Canard grabbed five straight podium finishes while riding just six of the east coast 450 rounds. He went on to take a dramatic, come-from-behind win in the outdoor 250 championship series. So far, it appears he hasn’t lost a step while moving to the bigger displacement class. In Phoenix, he moved up from outside the top five, passing Kevin Windham and Ryan Dungey to get on the podium. Cycle News spoke with Canard after the Phoenix race.How does it feel to get your first podium of the year?I’m really excited. This is a new class and a whole new ballgame. I’m very thankful to be up here and hopefully I can continue to be up here.What do you think of your race in Phoenix?I’m really disappointed in how I rode tonight, I had a few mistakes and I kind of froze when I got up into third. I thought I rode good to get past Dungey and Windham, but after that point I think I kind of floundered. I’m not very happy about that but it’s something I can build on and hopefully I can get more comfortable and maybe I can put something together.You got a much better start this week. Did you work on that this week?It was way better this week. The guys at Honda rigged up something for me so I didn’t hold the thing wide open so much and it worked pretty well. I was happy to get a decent start and I just gotta keep working on that and hopefully by the next few rounds I can start out front and lead some races.How do you feel about your program right now?I feel great about it. My riding is really good and I think my fitness is really good. I need to continue to put my self in position to get comfortable riding up there with those guys and not let those guys intimidate me. I think that’s been a bit of a problem these last couple of times. I need to kind of get past the names and realize they are just human beings and they put their pants on the same way I do. Hopefully I can start doing some good against these guys.How are you adapting to the 450?I feel great on it. I think the bike really suits me and I think it’s an amazing bike. Honda worked really hard to get it where it is and I’m happy to be there.