Ken Roczen on Indianapolis Win | Vital MX Interview 1

After ending a drought of almost seven years for Suzuki, Ken Roczen talks about Indianapolis.

Well, it happened! Ken Roczen ended a drought of almost seven years for the RM-Z450 and delivered a 450SX victory in 2023 Monster Energy Supercross. It looks like a simple victory on paper – he took the holeshot and led every lap – yet it was anything but that. In this exclusive chat that was conducted by our Jamie Guida, Roczen talks about just how far he was willing to go in order to get the job done. This interview is available in written and video form, thanks to support from DeCal Works.

Vital MX: This is such a special win. You were Suzuki's last win, with RCH back in 2016, but what does this bike do differently to back then?

Ken Roczen: The biggest thing is that I believe in the bike. I jumped up on it and it may not have been perfect by any means, but I knew that the bones of the bike were good. It was a big move. There were a lot of critics, but I think there were a lot more [people] stoked than anything else. To actually make it happen is another story! We have had a little bit of a rough go this entire year, but it all came together tonight. That is what makes this so special for me, people in the industry, friends, family and my team. This is the first win ever for my team! What gets me hyped is the win for me, first and foremost, but to deliver it to the other people on the team is absolutely amazing.


[Justin] Barcia was coming on those last couple of laps. Did the heart rate spike? Was there a little bit of panic?

The heart rate was up, let me tell you! The heart rate was definitely up. I got screwed by a couple of lappers and one of them was my teammate. I don't know if it was Kyle [Chisholm] or Shane [McElrath]. Everyone always tells me that you cannot hear me when I am behind, because I kind of just lug it around everywhere. We were going through the whoops and he ended up going wide, but then he went into the main line. I was right on his thing and rolled off the tabletop. When you are at that stage of the race and the guy behind sees you roll something, it makes them that much hungrier.

With only two or three laps to go, I was ready to… If I was going to throw up, I did not give a sh*t. If I was going to pass out, then I didn't give a crap. I was like, "I'm bringing this home!" To actually do it is another thing, because three laps is quite long when someone is on your ass the entire time. The track was so gnarly! You cannot just smash it around the thing. You have to be precise, let the bike move and play with the thing. He was going all out and so was I, so things can happen at that point. Luckily, we were able to make history.

Having your peers, like Adam Cianciarulo, come up to you afterwards and the crowd going nuts had to make it a little more special. Everyone wanted you to win!

It really did. I wouldn't call them my enemies, but my competitors and some people who I do not necessarily care for being genuinely stoked… They don't have to do that. It is something that I have never witnessed. It was one of the coolest things of the night, for sure, and I was so appreciative. I had a lot of friends come other, but even guys who normally wouldn't. I think that they appreciate how hard it really is to pull it off.

We have talked a little bit about what your plans are long term. Does this win fire you back up and change anything at all?

No, I want to stay content. This is something that I am definitely going to enjoy today and tomorrow. Career wise, I am focusing on what is happening right now. I have had a lot of things that I have had to do over the last couple of months. There was a lot of stuff on my plate. I feel like I was able to clear a lot of stuff out and get a normal rhythm in, so I am going to focus on the task at hand. It could look very different next weekend! I really want to dial my starts in a bit more, to make them more consistent. My fitness felt great and my bike felt great, so now it is on me.


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