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Ken Roczen talks WSX and being a supercross specialist!

Ken Roczen talks WSX and being a supercross specialist!

resh from signing a three-year deal to race in the World Supercross Championship, Ken Roczen will be looking to defend his WSX crown when the 2023 season kicks off
with the British Grand Prix on 1 July.

After last year’s pilot season, he talks about making World Supercross a truly global championship, racing at home, and being a supercross specialist.

What factors made you commit to another three years of World Supercross?

“To be honest, ultimately, I followed my heart. It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with my body in recent years and at this stage of my career I asked myself, how can I be around this sport for as long as possible. I’ve struggled with the outdoor and honestly it hasn’t been that fun in the last couple of years, so I’m following my heart now to become a supercross specialist.

“I also had my eyes opened last year. I had so much fun with WSX in 2022, and that was my main objective; to bring the fun back, and being able to race supercross all-year-round will do that and hopefully help me prolong my career. And also being able to race in different countries around the world, and especially in my home country of Germany this year, that got me really excited and was a big part of my decision. So I was excited to make this decision and I’m excited for a new chapter.”

It must have also been a good deal for you, personally, to have a contract for the next three years?

“It’s nice to have things firmed up for the next few years but I can honestly say that my decision wasn’t financially driven. Retirement was starting to look like a very real possibility for me and I was scared of retiring, having not been enjoying myself over the last few years. This now feels good for me, good for my family, and I’m motivated but I want to have fun with it as well.”

How much are you looking forward to racing Germany again?

“It has been a very long time since I raced at home. And we’ve been so busy in the US, which is our home now, but as a result I hadn’t really thought about it. But we did the WSX races last year and I was like, this feels new and exciting. Familiar, too, and obviously it reminded me a lot of my GP days, but it felt like I’d found what had been missing from my life. So it was good to race in the UK and Australia, but I’m super-excited to race in Germany.

“I’m kind of curious what reception I’ll get, but I want to go and really make the most of it, go early, do some cool stuff ahead of time, see the fans, see some friends and family, I’ve got a lot of friends in Europe, so I’m excited to see them, and there are exciting times ahead.”

It’s not just Germany this year, obviously the series has expanded to six rounds in six countries, is that exciting for you?

“It’s amazing and that’s a big part of why I made the decision to race WSX again. The thought of racing around the world took me back to my childhood and racing in different countries with different fans. That’s what I grew up doing, that was so much fun for me, and I got a taste of it last year and it made my heart smile again, honestly speaking; it’s what I needed and the fact that we’re growing this sport is great and I’m looking forward to the future. I’m excited to race in things like soccer stadiums as well. That’s new, that’s cool, and seeing these tracks in different venues gets me excited.

“And also the fans. With supercross being so big in the US, it’s great, but there are supercross fans around the world that can’t always travel to come and see the racing, and it’s great for us to be able to go to them. It’s something I wished had happened when I was a kid.”

Do you think we could see other riders decide to be supercross specialists in the future?

“For sure, I think you’ll see this happen more often. You’ve got some older dudes like me at the elite level of supercross, and you can see people might start thinking about retirement, but it can be a mistake. This championship gives guys like me the chance to become a supercross specialist, which can be a way to prolong a career and see some of the world. We’re already seeing it with some of the guys that are signed up again this year and some of the new names on the entry list. I only expect it to grow from here. And all those guys are still hungry, I’m excited to see what the future holds.”

Round one of the 2023 World Supercross Championship takes place on Saturday 1 July, with the Birmingham’s Villa Park hosting the British Grand Prix. Tickets are on sale now.