Ken Roczen surprised a lot of people, including himself, by winning the opening round of the 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series in Anaheim. The Red Bull KTM rider struggled early in the day and actually had to qualify for the main event through a semi. But by sneaking through the inside of the first turn, the Red Bull KTM rider found himself sitting second behind defending series champ Ryan Villopoto on the opening lap of the main event.
Roczen followed Villopoto for the first eight laps, and when the Kawasaki rider slid out on lap nine, Roczen took control of the race, holding on to take his first-ever 450-class main event win.
“It’s insane, I literally can’t believe it. I never expected it,” says Roczen. “What a great race. I was holding on really tight and in the end I just got the job done. I dedicate this race to my dad. I didn’t know he was coming, because we were fighting, we haven’t talked for a long time, but he just showed up.”
The win topped off an amazing weekend for KTM, with Roczen’s teammate Ryan Dungey finishing second and Rockstar Energy Racing-backed KTM rider Jason Anderson taking the win in the 250 class.
“For KTM it was an insane day, it couldn’t have been better,” says Roczen.
Villopoto was on form, for sure, and though he was slowly pulling away in the main, Roczen felt he was able to compete straight up with Villopoto.
“I feel like Ryan gained on me on half of the track, but then I would gain on him in other places, so we just kind of kept the same gap,” said Roczen. “I would say Ryan is still a bit faster, but it just worked out for me today. I was bummed for Ryan when he went down, but I just focused on myself and tried to keep it on two wheels.
“It was so early in the race when Ryan went down that my mind was empty, basically. I wasn’t thinking that was the race; it was too early for that. But after 10 laps the race started getting pretty long.” And James Stewart started catching him.
“I could hear him coming and I just tried to relax myself, and even if he had passed me I wouldn’t have given up,” said Roczen. “I just didn’t want to make any mistake, the track was really tricky, it was rough and it got really slippery in the corners. I was focusing so much on myself and I was holding on tight but I kept on reminding myself to just relax.”
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