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
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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