#94 Ken Roczen (Honda HRC):
I’m not impressed that Roczen won, but I am VERY impressed at how much he won by. Roczen was no doubt one of the favorites to win A1 (he had won A1 twice in the last three years entering the 2017 season), but to win by 16 seconds is absolutely incredible.
There’s lots of talk about the “deep field” in the 450 class, but none of that matters when a single rider like Roczen can win by such a large magnitude. Honestly, no one was even close to matching Kenny’s speed in the main event; his best lap time was over a full-second faster than the second-place finisher Ryan Dungey (Note: Eli Tomac had a fast lap that was within 0.3 seconds of Roczen’s, but let’s not count that because Tomac seriously fell off the pace early on in the race and was never a real threat). Not only that, but Roczen increased his lead over Dungey in 17 out of 20 laps, making him super consistent as well (something he’s struggled with in the past; he’s always been able to put out a fast lap time, but not necessarily follow that up with consistent execution in a race).
Ignoring the stats for a moment, Roczen looks impressive even just watching him. His flow on the bike is unreal; I’ve never seen him look this comfortable or in control of his riding. His confidence and attitude on and off the track is impressive, and he even showed up to the press conference in a suit. What more can you say: impressive.
No doubt in my mind, Ken Roczen was the Most Impressive 450 rider at Anaheim 1. Let’s see if he will impress again this weekend in San Diego.
Photo from Racer X Online