Once again Ken Roczen claimed the title in the WSX series, this time with the HEP Suzuki team. Roczen won the opening round in Birmingham and, despite not being on the podium on a rough night in Abu Dhabi, rebounds with a 1-1-3 at the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne to take the overall and the championship.
After the last WSX GP of the season, Roczen spoke with the media.
Ken, congratulations. You began the weekend with, with a slight points deficit. What a turnaround here at Marvel Stadium.
Yeah, I knew it was gonna be tough. With these races like you just never know what’s gonna happen. You saw it in Abu Dhabi. So I by no means came here taking it lightly, but having said that we made the absolute most out of it. We had a little bit of adversity to fight through because I really had some clutch problems both yesterday and today, and then we went with a completely different set up into the heat race. So it took me a little bit of time to get used to and my clutch pull was actually so stiff I could literally barely pull! [Laughs] So it was tough. But nonetheless, once the gate drops, it doesn’t really matter what you have on the bike you just gotta go. I was able to slice and dice my way through and was able to win the first couple. And in the last one, I just chopped the throttle on the start turn because it’s just not been fun these first couple of turns. So I just played it safe and I was really buried really far in the pack and ultimately, the race, I was kind of surprised when the checkered flag came out, but that’s just what happens when you’re in race mode. Like, I wasn’t really paying attention to how many laps we have done. So in the end, I’m just glad that I was able to get it done.
A world crown is pretty special. You get to keep the #1, give us a sense of what that means.
Absolutely. And especially going back to back. In general, I’ve never really stayed in a class long enough to be able to actually defend the title. So, this is my first successful title defense.
How do you feel in terms of the cachet of the riders that you were up against this year? Perhaps give us a sense of what the 2023 title means.
Yeah, it means a lot. Ultimately, I just hope we can get some more racing going, like [having] more races, right? But yeah these guys are getting faster and faster and you see what happens when you’re buried in the pack. Like I can’t really just make my way to the front with the snap of a finger.
Following Abu Dhabi and then Paris as well, how important was it for you to kind of reset and get this type of result tonight? And obviously the world championship was the end result. Just a good night in general for you. So, how important was that?
For sure. I think my riding was just back up to normal, I would say. Then, like I said, it was a little bit unique cause yesterday in a couple of practices and even today in the practices, I had a really hard time focusing on doing laps and kind of figuring out where to go faster just because we had a couple of little bike issues that I had to figure out and I had to get a feel for it. But at the same time, like you can’t let that completely ruin everything cause even when I had a problem, I think it was qualifying or maybe it was free practice, I just kept riding and doing laps cause I’m like, “Hey, if this is what I have to deal with and we have to go into racing, then I at least have to feel comfortable with it.” So I guess I just tried to work with what I had. So it’s just always a learning experience, right? Like I’ve almost been a pro for 15 years but yet when these situations come, you try to deal with that and you’re always learning. So yes, I’m on board because Abu Dhabi didn’t quite go as I wanted to, even though I won the last main. Paris wasn’t that great for me and just coming back and, I felt like my riding was on par and I felt, I felt pretty strong out there. I didn’t win the last one, but all in all it was just good to kind of like at least finish it on a high note and, and go back and get some rest and overall my body and everything, I’m in a pretty good spot and, yeah, I can just focus on what’s to come in 2024.