Tuesday, May 31, 2016


Courtesy of Suzuki Press Office

Team Suzuki Press Office – May 31.

While it might not show on paper, no one had anything for Ken Roczen and his RCH Suzuki Factory Racing RM-Z450 on Saturday afternoon at Glen Helen Raceway in California, America.

Fresh off a dominant 1-1 performance in last weekend’s Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship season opener - and his seventh career Pro Motocross overall win - the Soaring Eagle/ Jimmy John’s/ Suzuki Factory Racing rider was poised to match that exact result at the weekend’s second round: The 22-year-old German was out-front with a 15-plus-second lead in the first moto and was primed to pick-up his first win at the famed southern California race track. Unfortunately, the remarkable cushion wasn’t enough to hold the top-spot after a suspension issue on the front-end of his machine halted Roczen’s progress, ultimately forcing him to surrender the lead with three laps to go, and he finished fourth.

Still, Roczen demonstrated the championship grit that won him the 2014 series title by coming back and winning the second moto by almost 20 seconds, leaving little doubt of who was the fastest. At the end of the day, Roczen left Glen Helen with a solid 4-1 finish, maintaining the points lead and the red number plate that goes along with it.

“It’s always frustrating when a mechanical issue derails a good run but the biggest disappointment was seeing Ken have to back-off and ultimately surrender the lead in the first moto,” explained RCH Director of Competition Mark Johnson. “He had a fantastic ride and was leading by over 15 seconds when the problem occurred. We have a great relationship with KYB and their product is second to none. The part failure was in no way related to the forks themselves. The system that failed is made up of multiple components, purchased from a variety of vendors by RCH. Unfortunately, one of these components suffered a failure, which affected the front forks.

“Fortunately, Ken kept his composure, rode like a champion and salvaged a fourth-place finish in the first moto. He went on to win the second moto by almost 20 seconds and maintain the series points lead. We’re very proud of that effort and proud to have Ken carry the red plate into Colorado this weekend.”

Roczen qualified second, started third in the first moto and won the holeshot in the second. The victory in the second marked his third moto win in four races this season. Even more impressive is his 1.5 overall finishing average in the season’s first two events.

“I’m pretty stoked right now,” said Roczen, who leads the championship by two points. “The bike is pretty powerful, especially where I need it. I grabbed a good start in the second moto. It’s just good right now. My riding is getting better and I’m pretty happy. There’s nothing to complain about. Obviously, everyone is bummed about what happened in the first moto: We had a problem with the front suspension and there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t jump anything. I just tried to maintain. Fortunately, I was able to hold-on long enough and finish fourth.

“In the second moto, I did what I had to do to get the win. I’m glad to put this one behind us. I was trying really hard to hit my marks and stay on the bike. The last thing I wanted to do was throw it away.”

For his part, Roczen’s team-mate Broc Tickle turned in a formidable performance, earning a 10th-place overall finish on the strength of an 8-13 showing. Tickle is currently 11th in the standings heading into this weekend’s stop in Colorado.

“Glen Helen was better than the week before,” said Tickle. “I qualified 10th in both practices. In the first moto, I got about a 15th-place start, passed a couple guys and then a couple of guys crashed so I ended up eighth. The first moto was good: I felt like I had a good flow going. In the second moto, I wanted to improve a little bit and see where I could be a little better. I wanted to pick-it-up in the second and pass some more people. I got the same type of start in the second moto but both my legs started cramping so I just kind-of settled-in and rode-it-out. I’m looking forward to Colorado. Last year I got fourth overall and it was a good race for me.” 

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