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Press Conference Comments: Anaheim 1

Just a couple of hours ago, FELD Motorsports held a press conference at Angel Stadium with some of the biggest names in the 450SX class ahead of the Anaheim 1 season opener. Obviously, there were the usual statements about the fact that the title cannot be won at A1, but it can be lost, as well as some other cliches. Did you miss the press conference when it was being shown live? If so, don’t worry; we collected the most interesting statements and put them into this, so you knows exactly what the riders are thinking going into A1.

Ryan Villopoto (Monster Energy Kawasaki): 

I think that when you become a professional, you don’t look that far in front. I put a goal in place, and I tried to meet those expectations and take it one race at a time. You put in all of this work, and try to surround yourself with good people. Back in the day, the riders were racing one or two guys [for the title]. It has changed, just in the last couple of years – there are a lot of guys up here! If you win one race, that is huge. But, to win a championship is going to be very hard. So, I am just taking it one step at a time.

I think that, where I am in my career, I need that extra push – someone to keep me on my toes. So, I think that it helps me out [training with Ken Roczen], and it helps him out. It is a good combination of people that are out there. Obviously, he [Roczen] is a lot younger than I am, so I tend to take it a lot more serious.

James Stewart (Yoshimura Suzuki):

Yeah, for sure [this is the deepest field that I have faced]. There are a lot of wins, and a lot of championships. Everyone up here has won a title. It is pretty special to be a part of, and I am excited. When we go to press day, it is never like this. But, when you have been here a lot, you get used to it. For me, it is easier in the middle of the season, as you know the schedule. But, it does not matter too much, the biggest thing for me is to get out of here safe and with some points.”

Chad Reed (Discount Tire Racing):

It has been fun the last three years [having my own team]. I want to see this thing through, and make it into what I want it to become. So, I am going to try and win a few more races and a title.

A lot has changed over the years. When I raced the west coast in 2002, they had semis and stuff like that. So, it will be different, but the same. Like James said, Anaheim 1 has a lot of hype around it. But, when you have been here a few times you can take it in and enjoy it. It can be lost here, but it can’t be won here. Everyone has high expectations this weekend, and they are all coming off of a lot of down time. S**t happens at this first race, so you have to be careful.

It’s fun, I have Ellie and the two kids – life is great right now. We are having a blast. I get to do my training, and be a mini-dad after I pick Tate up from school. I am excited to be here, and enjoy that moment with them.

Luckily, a lot [has changed on the Kawasaki since the last time I rode it in 2010]. For me, it was about riding all of the bikes, I am just as surprised as everybody that I am on this bike. But, it is what it is, bikes change – we saw that last year. I am healthy, and I am going to try and put the bike, and more importantly Discount Tire, on the top step.”

Ryan Dungey (Red Bull KTM):

I think that overall, I have gotten better in every area. When 2013 ended, I just looked to 2014 and prepared – testing went well and I feel like we had a great off-season. We have done our homework, and I am very excited to get it underway with this stacked field.

Overall, I have never had a teammate like Roczen. I think, like Ryan said, it’s good. Each weekend, it is every guy for himself. But, being on the same equipment shows what is capable and possible. Ken is more relaxed and has a good time, whereas I tend to be a little too serious sometimes. It’s a good combination – he works hard. I’m not saying that having fun is a bad thing, I think it’s good.”

“I think that things get heated at times. There are points where I don’t agree [with Roger DeCoster and his criticism]. But, he has given me an opportunity, and that is great. I feel like I owe a lot of my success to him. Over the last couple of years, we have had our work cut out for us with the KTM and everything like that. It’s not easy, but I feel like the bike is one of the best out there, without a doubt. Roger has always said the truth, sometimes it is hard to hear that, but it helps me.”

Justin Barcia (Muscle Milk Honda):

I have done a lot of racing this off-season, which was good for me, and a lot of training. I am here to have some fun and win some races. I definitely want to be more consistent this year; last year was a learning year, I learned a lot and I am bringing in a lot more experience. Last year was my first time racing on the west coast, so that was interesting. It is a long season, and it is very different.”

Obviously, starts are key with all of these top guys. But, I have been working on, solid, consistent laps. Everyone is welcome at my house – all of these boys can come; it would make for crazy practice.”

Wil Hahn (Geico Honda):

I was very fortunate to be able to continue the relationship with Geico Honda, and make the transition to the new class relatively easily, for the most part. Staying on a Honda was the main objective there, and we got it done. I had a good off-season, and for me, I want to learn throughout the seventeen race series and take it week by week. I am excited to come out and do battle with these guys. I think that this whole table is capable of winning, plus a few guys that are not up here.

It seems that I do get overlooked a bit, but I do not go begging for the spotlight. I think that my championship has been discounted a little, judging by some of the things that I have seen lately. [Whether I am] overlooked or not, I am going to do my best and work my butt off.

Eli Tomac (Geico Honda):

Like Wil said, the good thing for me is that we are on the same team, so it is not as big a deal for me stepping up to the new bike. I had a very good off-season; it has been good so far. I have always been a little bit more of a shy guy. But, on the inside, I burn just as much as everyone else – that is just me.”

Ken Roczen (Red Bull KTM):

I haven’t really down there [surfing in Florida]. But, I am definitely going to have to do that when I get back over there. I feel really good. I had a little get-off in Florida. But, honestly, I was not too worried about not making it to A1. I went to a doctor over there, and he said I might have fractured my humorous. But, it came out that it wasn’t that bad; even when he said it, I was confident that I could race here. Like everyone said, I am stoked to be here – I am going to have some fun this year.”

“I don’t really have a problem with anyone, so I talk to both of them [Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey]. It is important to keep the fun up, so sometimes I do goof around a bit. I enjoy being around them, and also the other riders. Of course, we are enemies on the track, but we still have a life. I try to enjoy this as much as I can.”

You can find the full replay of the press conference here: http://www.supercrossonline.com/supercrosslive

Words: Lewis Phillips

Image: KTM Images/Simon Cudby

MX Vice Editor || 25

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