The Rundown on Roczen

It seems like ages since we saw Ken Roczen out and about, but his friends at Honda HRC were more than happy to have the former champ back in the pit at the Budds Creek National, even though the still-recovering German wasn’t on a bike yet. When he badly injured his arm in that scary crash at the Anaheim 2 Supercross seven months ago, Roczen faced a major setback and a long road back to action. Things have been picking up momentum lately though, and now Roczen himself is able to fill us in on his progress.

 

It’s been a long time since your fans got to see you race. How are things going? 

Overall things are going very well. My healing process has actually become quite a bit shorter than we originally thought. The only thing that’s not fully healed yet is my radial head [end end of the radius bone, where it meets the elbow]. It’s doing really good but not to 100% yet. My wrist is fully healed but I still have a little stiffness and pain so we’re still cranking away on that. I got some of the hardware taken out about eight or nine days ago, so my incision is still healing from that but I felt it was necessary to hopefully allow me to ride pain-free. Otherwise, I’m doing very well and happy with how things are coming along.

You’ve made big progress since even Hangtown. What has the recovery process been like over the past few months? 

Yeah, things have improved quite a bit since the beginning of the summer. I basically moved a top-of-the-line physical therapist to my town in Florida. At first, he was living with me but we ended up getting him an apartment because he’ll be working with me over a six-month period. Basically, we do therapy twice a day almost every day and I’m working on it quite a bit myself too. The next step is to start using these braces I have that I can put my elbow and wrist in that click degree by degree to work on extension. Those should help a lot. 

Talk about getting released by the doctor and how it felt to get back on a bike that first day.

It was really out of the blue that my doctor said I could slowly start riding. We were so excited; I jumped on the phone and made a bunch of calls right away to let everyone know. I called Dan [Betley, Team Honda HRC Manager], my mechanic Oscar [Wirdeman] and Beeker [Chris Onstott with Fox] to start getting everything I needed to ride lined up. The first time back on the bike was kind of weird. It almost felt like I had never left but at the same time I had been off the bike for a long time so it was a really weird feeling. Within a few days, I started feeling pretty normal, which was nice. 

During the weeks following your release, how much riding were you actually doing and how did everything feel?

I ended up riding two to three times a week and things started coming around really well. My wrist was still sore and bugging me a little bit so I was breaking things up into four 15-minute sessions a day. It was good, especially for just coming back. Our turn track is super rough so that came in play too. I could’ve probably done a 30-plus-two on our normal track because even though it’s rough, it’s a different type of rough than the turn track. I have even more extension in my elbow now than I did back then, so that should be better.

It seems like since day one of your injury, your mental strength and perseverance have never wavered. Has that attitude helped you overcome what could have been a career-ending injury?

I feel like I’ve always been one of the stronger people, mentally. I might’ve gotten that from my dad [laughs]. I don’t know though, I was just born like this. Luckily, I still have my arm but other than that, things like this aren’t going to phase me and nothing has changed since the crash. If I could line up on the gate right now, I’d still put in my head that I’m going to win and I’d fight for that. As soon as I’m back to riding 100%, I’m going to prepare myself and we’ll go back to racing and be shooting for the win.

What are some of your plans in the next few weeks?

I’m getting my stiches out on Wednesday from my last surgery, which will then allow us to start doing more scar-tissue work and some joint mobility. This will end up giving me a lot more range of motion. On top of that, I’ll be picking up those braces for my wrist and elbow, which will help me to keep extending them. We’re strengthening every single day, of course. Other than that, I’m going to Utah on Friday for about 12 days. I’m going to have a trials bike and CRF450R up there, so I’ll ride this week in Florida and I’ll definitely be riding up there, even if it’s just trails.

Tim Gajser Wins MXGP of Sweden

Tim Gajser is flying high after taking the overall at the MXGP of Sweden.

Tim Gajser takes the overall in Uddevalla

Team HRC’s Tim Gajser made a long awaited returned to the top step of the podium over the weekend as he took the overall in Uddevalla at the MXGP of Sweden.

Gajser, who hasn’t taken an overall win since the Mexican GP earlier this season, took a first and second today securing him the win. Gajser took a comfortable win in the first race but the Slovenian had his work cut out in the second.

Yamaha’s Romain Febvre led while KTM’s Jeffrey Herlings put some early pressure on Gajser to take second out of the gate. Gajser remained focused on a track that was difficult to pass and bought the CRF450RW home in second place, which was enough to give him the overall win for the weekend.

Teammate Evgeny Bobryshev took the holeshot and an eighth-place finish in the first race, which is his second holeshot this year. The second race was a little more challenging for the Russian, not able to repeat the holeshot he found himself in the pack and a small collision with Tony Cairoli sent him down. He managed to pull back to tenth for eighth overall.

The FIM World Motocross Championship now takes a one week break before we head into the final flurry of races of the season. The first of these will be stateside at a new track; WW motocross park, Jacksonville.

MXGP Top 10 Rider Standings

Pos.

Rider

Num

Nation

Points

Team

Constructor

1

CAIROLI Antonio

222

ITA

631

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

KTM

2

HERLINGS Jeffrey

84

NDL

530

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

KTM

3

PAULIN Gautier

21

FRA

526

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing

Husqvarna

4

DESALLE Clement

25

BEL

519

Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing

Kawasaki

5

GAJSER Tim

243

SLO

453

Team HRC – MXGP

Honda

6

FEBVRE Romain

461

FRA

441

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team

Yamaha

7

VAN HOREBEEK Jeremy

89

BEL

377

Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team

Yamaha

8

NAGL Max

12

GER

364

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing

Husqvarna

9

COLDENHOFF Glenn

259

NDL

352

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

KTM

10

BOBRYSHEV Evgeny

777

RUS

344

Team HRC – MXGP

Honda

SECOND MXGP WIN IN A ROW FOR HERLINGS

Heavy rainfall in the days preceding the Grand Prix of Switzerland helped soak and soften the impressive circuit which sits 40km outside of the city of Zurich. Thankfully the climate improved for the race weekend and the watering was beneficial for the racing surface; helping create a choppy terrain that again made high demands of the riders’ technical skill.

Tony Cairoli raced to his sixth Pole Position of 2017 on Saturday while Jeffrey Herlings was one of few riders in the top ten to make progress through the order across the tight layout. With the Dutchman ruing a small crash and taking sixth position and Glenn Coldenhoff in fifth all three factory bikes were well-placed for the gate.

On a bright and sunny raceday the first moto saw Arnaud Tonus, Max Anstie and Gautier Paulin marked the pace from the first corner. The KTM triplet was distributed around the top ten with Cairoli nestled in fifth. The Sicilian found some new lines and more effective flow in the final ten minutes of the moto to move up to third and was close to Anstie and Tonus but unable to dislodge the MXGP rookies. Jeffrey Herlings was riding hard and spent the entire moto with world champion Tim Gajser on his rear wheel. The Belgian GP winner was at the front of the second group and sealed sixth place. Glenn Coldenhoff was also part of that tussle until a late race tumble and the Dutchman picked up the KTM to gain fifteenth.

Starts were obviously key and Cairoli launched brightly in the second moto but, by his own admission, was ‘sleeping’ at the start of the thirty-minute and two lap distance and left his rally too late to move higher than fourth. His 3-4 scorecard was sufficient for his eleventh podium of the term. Escaping free at the front was Herlings. The former three-times MX2 World Champion overtook Paulin and rode at his own speed to bank an eighth moto victory in his maiden MXGP season. The 25 points elevated Herlings to the top step for the second time in a week. Coldenhoff didn’t exit the gate among the leaders and threaded his way to ninth for thirteenth overall. 

Cairoli and Herlings are still first and second in the MXGP standings with 97 points splitting the KTM pair, just 200 remain. Glenn sits tied for tenth spot.

Standings MXGP 2017 after 15 of 19 rounds

1. Cairoli, 605 points

2. Herlings, 508 points

3. Paulin, 486 points

4. Desalle, 483 points

5. Gajser, 406 points

JASON ANDERSON TAKES TIME FOR RECOVERY

ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING RIDER JASON ANDERSON WILL TAKE TIME TO PROPERLY RECOVER FROM RECENT SURGERY

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson will sit out the final two rounds of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship as he recovers from a recent surgery.

Following several weeks of racing in pain, Jason and the Husqvarna team decided it was best for the FC 450 rider to sit out the remaining races and take care of pre-existing injuries.

Anderson, who injured his foot at the 2016 Motocross of Nations in Italy, had hardware removed, which results in him withdrawing from the last two rounds in order to heal up 100% and resume training for the 2018 AMA Supercross season.

KTM SWEEP MXGP OF BELGIUM

Much talk of the Grand Prix of Belgium revolved around Red Bull KTM Factory Rac teammates Tony Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings, largely due to their pedigree and results on sandy tracks, and a compelling duel that occurred in the ‘soft’ terrain of Ottobiano, Italy in June with their 450 SX-Fs.

Herlings set a mean pace in Free Practice, almost three seconds quicker than the MXGP standings leader. A top ten start in the Qualification Heat was not a deterrent as Herlings soon worked his way to second place and squashed Cairoli’s five second lead to nothing with two laps remaining. It was exciting stuff: Herlings on full-charge and Cairoli making several small errors that gave the Dutchman hope. Herlings seized the lead on the last lap for his second Pole Position of his debut MXGP year and the stage was nicely ‘lit’ for the thirty-minute and two lap motos on Sunday.

Jeffrey Herlings

The strong rain showers of Saturday that swamped sections of the sand and helped roughen the surface further were thankfully replaced by warm sunshine for race day, and a crowd of 30,000 found places around the sandy venue that is a well-used and well-known training location for many of the Grand Prix riders.

A reversed and altered layout for the fourth Belgian GP at Lommel helped offer a fresh challenge to the riders that would already be pushed to physical and mental limits (as well as those of their machinery).

The first race saw the third member of the crew, Glenn Coldenhoff, produce his best moto of the season so far with an excellent start and leading the first four laps of sixteen. He then followed Herlings’ superior pace for the midpart of the chase and was passed by a conservative Cairoli. As Herlings dealt with some arm-pump to remain free and claim his sixth race win, Cairoli made a mistake late on and crashed, handing second spot briefly back to Coldenhoff but soon recovered. The KTM trio ran ahead of Jeremy Van Horebeek by fourteen seconds in a dominant show.

Tony Cairoli

The second race permitted Herlings and Cairoli to renew their dispute. Several close exchanges for the lead and some cat-and-mouse games ended in the last ten minutes as Herlings forged a gap and Cairoli accepted 22 points for second place and to safeguard a hefty window in the standings (now over Herlings who has moved up from third). Coldenhoff was again strong and found a way past Clement Desalle to capture fourth position; the classification allowed #259 to walk the podium for the second time in 2017 and give KTM a historic sweep of the premier class rostrum.  

The next round of the MXGP heads to Frauenfeld in Switzerland for the MXGP of Switzerland.