HAVE YOU MET YOUR EXPECTATIONS IN
THE 450 CLASS? I knew that it would be a little
tough at first, and that my body needed a little bit of
time to adjust. Obviously, most everyone knows that
trainer Aldon Baker’s program is not the easiest. I struggled a little bit during the Supercross season, but I was
able to build myself back up. I fully trust in his program
now. I didn’t want to ride like I did near the end of the
Supercross series, so I fully committed to his program
and everything started clicking during the Nationals.
YOU SEEMED MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY
EXHAUSTED AT THE END OF SUPERCROSS.
TRUE? Yes, that’s true. Aldon and I bumped heads a
little bit, but then we got it all figured out. It was really
more mental. I disagreed with Aldon on a few things.
Fortunately we talked a lot, and as I said, we got it
figured out. Ever since then things have been going
very well, and I am really enjoying the program.
HAS IT BEEN DIFFICULT ADAPTING TO
FLORIDA? YOU LOVED THE SoCAL LIFESTYLE.
I have been living in Florida since the fall in 2013. It
was definitely a culture shock, but now I like it better
than California. It’s very green down there. The only
difficult part is the humidity. I now believe that to win
an outdoor championship you have to live in Florida.
If I hadn’t moved there, I would have struggled racing
in the summer. It’s actually been hotter there than it is
at the Nationals. So living there has made it easier at
the motocross races. I’ve adapted to heat and humidity
now, and everything is going well. I just need to keep
on my toes and not slow down.
RYAN VILLOPOTO, ADAM CIANCIARULO
AND YOU ARE THE THREE AMIGOS. [Laughter]
We get along well. Adam is kind of like a little brother
to me. We are always messing around and yelling at
each other. I’ll punch him a few times, and he’ll come
back at me [laughter]. We are definitely a good team,
and it’s a lot of fun. If Adam and I weren’t working
together on our training program, it would be a lot
more miserable. It’s great to have a good relationship
with your training partners, as that makes it so much
better to work.
WHAT DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR
POPULARITY AMONG U.S. FANS? That’s nice to
hear. I have to give it up to my parents. They raised
me the way that I am. I am basically the same
person as my mom and dad. They have always treated
everyone the same, and that is what I have tried to do
since I first came over here. It’s not always easy to get
into the groove of Americans. Sometimes they are very
uneasy about European riders, but I think that may be
due to the fact that other European racers that came
over were not very friendly. I just think that it is a
personality thing—whatever I am doing is just me
being myself. If the Americans like me, then that’s
great. That is what makes it so fun here! If I was
a rider that the people did not like, then the racing
wouldn’t be nearly as fun.
HOW ARE THE DYNAMICS AT TEAM KTM?
We have to take it the way that it is. I think that Ryan
Dungey knew that I would be doing well in the 450