Photography by Andrea Wilson
ANAHEIM, CA, JAN. 2 – Almost to a man those in attendance at today’s pre-Anaheim Supercross press conference mentioned the word fun and how much fun they are having. Some of them even looked like they meant it.
One person who surely won’t get questioned about whether or not he’s actually having fun racing motorcycles is Ken Roczen. He’s the one up on the stage with the never-ending smile. Even when discussing the fact that a recent arm injury gave him and factory KTM team a scare.
“I’m feeling really good,” Roczen said. “I had a little get-off in Florida, but I was honestly never really too worried about not being at A1. I went to a doctor over there and he said I might have fractured my humerous [the bone above the elbow that runs to the shoulder], but it came out that it really wasn’t that bad. Even when he said it right there, I was pretty confident that I was going to be able to race here.”
Roczen comes into Anaheim as a rookie in the 450 Supercross class after winning the West 250 Supercross title last year. He also believes he knows what it takes to find success in the premiere class.
“I had a pretty good off-season,” the 20 year old said. “Like everybody said, the field is going to be really stacked, but I’m stoked to be here and I’m going to have some fun this year. I’m hoping for good races and it’s important to be up there every single weekend and not just for one race - so it’s about being consistent and putting in good rides.”
Roczen has spent the majority of the off-season in Florida where he’s been training with three-time Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto and trainer Aldon Baker. Villopoto has enjoyed having the German to ride and train with.
“I feel like at the point I’m at in my career I need that extra push, someone to chase, somebody to keep me on my toes, so I think it helps me out a lot,” Villopoto said today. “Ken’s also a rookie coming into this stacked class with a lot more races so I think he’s obviously going to have a learning year, but I think we’re using each other to both get better. It’s a good combination of people down there [in Florida] and we have a lot of fun. He’s a little bit younger than I am and I tend to take it a lot more serious and he’s a lot more… he takes things a lot more fun and is joking around a lot more. It brings a lot of good things to the table and I think it’s going to help us both out throughout the year.”
At the test track and throughout the season, Roczen will be teamed with another Ryan – Dungey. And his teammate also speaks highly of him.
“Overall, I don’t think I’ve ever had another guy alongside of me, a teammate, in the same rig or anything like that,” Dungey said. “But, like Ryan [Villopoto] said, I think it’s good. Between practicing at the test tracks… Each weekend it’s going to be each guy for himself to win for sure, but if anything being on the same team and on the same equipment and seeing what’s capable and what’s possible and always improving to get better. He is more easy going, more relaxed and he likes to have a good time and maybe I tend to be a bit too serious sometimes so I think it’s a good combination. He’s a hard-working kid with definitely a lot of talent. Having fun and enjoying things, I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I think it’s good.
The good-natured Roczen just wants to have some fun and go racing.
“I don’t really have a problem with anybody in general,” Roczen said. “I talk to both of them [the two Ryans]. It’s important to keep the fun up. Sometimes I might goof around a little bit, but overall it’s fun and I really enjoy being around them and also all the other riders. Of course we are enemies on the track, but besides that we still have a life and I try to enjoy this as much as I can.”
That he does.