News 24 Jan 2018

Subconscious effects of Anaheim 2 hinder Roczen

Team Honda HRC contender moves on following difficult night.

Image: Supplied.

German Ken Roczen’s return to Anaheim 2 one year on from his near career-ending arm injury was affected by a subconscious battle that saw him eventually claim ninth overall.

It was anticipated the Team Honda HRC rider would be in the frame for a fairytale podium, however he was unable to make any major impact in search of victory in the Triple Crown event.

In the first main event he took an eighth-place start and then struggled to find his rhythm, losing spots before taking the chequered flag in 11th. Another poor start in the second race left him outside the top 15 on the first lap, but he advanced to 12th by the finish. The last main saw Roczen start near the front before settling into fourth on lap five, which is where he finished.

“Tonight was very interesting,” Roczen said, wearing the same gear set in final one that he wore when injured last season. “It’s Anaheim 2, which is obviously where I crashed and even though I tried not to think about it at all, it lingered subconsciously in the back of my mind. I didn’t feel like myself at all out there – I was riding bad and couldn’t seem to do anything about it.

“I went into the first main, got a bad start, felt terrible on the track and basically went backwards. That definitely wasn’t the plan, but the worst part was, I had two more to go [laughs]. Even though I didn’t feel good, it was great to just finish it and get this one off the checklist. It was big night and obviously, it could’ve gone worse, as we saw here last year.

“We’re walking away from here super healthy and looking forward to next weekend’s race. All in all, it’s a tough pill to swallow as a rider because I want to win or at least battle for the win. It for sure wasn’t there today though. I want to move on, forget about tonight and start looking forward to the next one.”

Roczen’s result saw him bumped from second in the championship standings down to fourth, now 14 points behind early championship leader Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) following three of 17 rounds.