ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK U.S. OPEN LAS VEGAS PRE-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE -- 10/11/07 JASON WEIGANDT: Now, time for our press conference. This event has gotten bigger and better every year. Last year we added a Trifecta bonus to the...
ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK U.S. OPEN LAS VEGAS PRE-RACE PRESS CONFERENCE -- 10/11/07
JASON WEIGANDT: Now, time for our press conference. This event has gotten bigger and better every year. Last year we added a Trifecta bonus to the traditional hundred thousand dollar jackpot here. The Trifecta goes to a rider that can nail the fastest hot lap time, the holeshot and win main events on Friday and Saturday night. And we're gonna talk to one of the riders that is certainly in contention for that -- he's had a phenomenal year in 2007 and wants to cap it off here and get some momentum going into 2008. We're joined by Tim Ferry of the Monster Kawasaki Team.
Tim, it was a surprise. At this time last year, you were just signed to Kawasaki -- we didn't really know where you were gonna fit in the results -- maybe you didn't either -- but obviously the year has to have exceeded a lot of people's expectations and maybe even yours. It's been a phenomenal 2007.
TIM FERRY: Yeah, for sure, supercross was good. This was my first race with Kawasaki last year and I went 5/6, so Byrne beat me out for that spot, you know, on second try. But it was a good race for me. I knew where I was at and it's kind of the same reason, I think, that we're here this year. See what we need to work on. We got a couple months for Anaheim 1 and it's a good event. It's a low stress event. You obviously want to win, but at the same time, it's a lot of fun.
JASON WEIGANDT: Well, you mentioned work. We heard that last year when you signed with Kawasaki and started testing, like a day after the AMA Toyota Motocross nationals ended, now we're a whole year past that. Have you taken any time off? We know how hard you work during the season. What are you doing to not get burned out?
TIM FERRY: We actually started testing again right after Glen Helen. But I took a week off about two weeks ago. There was some things going on -- my sister got married, my son's birthday party -- and took a week off the bike and I felt better, actually, once I got back on. So I needed that rest and I think from this race on, it's gonna be, you know, obviously training for Anaheim. And I'm gonna use this race as a stepping block and see what happens.
JASON WEIGANDT: Your expectations have to have changed from this race last year to this race this year. You had a shot to even win the AMA Motocross title, you had several podiums at supercross. So do you look at -- you know, looking at that big bonus and the Trifecta bonus -- that it's something that you can really go out and grab this year?
TIM FERRY: Well, yeah, obviously that's the main goal, to come in, is to win that; you know, try to win everything. But I'm looking forward to the super pole. Actually, that was a good event for me and that's the one thing I like about this race, is they've changed things up that's different from, you know, just a normal supercross. And it's pretty cool to be the only bike on the track and, you know, to go out of the tunnel and everything to be silent and all of a sudden come back in. It's a pretty good feeling to have all the eyes on you, and it's a little nerve-wracking at the same time.
JASON WEIGANDT: I'm gonna open it up to the media here if we have questions for Tim Ferry. I've got a whole bunch on my mind as well, but we'll let the media ask first. And, go ahead, Mario.
MARIO MARINI: Tim, comparing you last year and this year, you have a lot of more information about, you know, what you can expect for the supercross season this year. I'm not talking specifically about the U.S. Open. What do you expect for you in 2008 in the supercross season and how are you gonna get prepared for that and, you know, who's gonna be the main contender that you're gonna beat and stuff like that?
TIM FERRY: Well, I think the main contender, obviously, is gonna be my teammate, James, and I think Chad's gonna come out swinging. I think he's got something to prove this year and I'd like to get up there and get to that next level. I was on the podium a lot last year. You know, in reality, I was about the third fastest guy most of the year. And I'd like to try to go up there and, you know, I'd like to get my first win of supercross history, so that's kind of my goal right now. But I think podiums are the most important thing, to be consistent and be there at the end and not give up too many points at one event.
JIM HOLLY: Tim, Jim Holly, Supercross Live Online. This year is the tenth anniversary, something a little bit different. You're used to riding against guys with 450's, but now you've got the 250F's out there with you. Is that gonna have an advantage or disadvantage for you?
TIM FERRY: Well, I think it's gonna be interesting. I'm not quite sure yet. I think once we get on the track and we're racing, those bikes are, you know, are really -- These turns are a little smaller than supercross, so those bikes are gonna be able to whip around the turns a little faster. I still think -- I feel that the 450's are an advantage. Just having that extra power coming out of the tunnel, coming back in. You know, I don't know. I think 450 is still the bike to go with, but it's gonna be interesting. It is different. Something that I just said a minute ago -- we got the super pole, the Trifecta. Glad to see some changes. That's cool.
STEVE GIBERSON: If you didn't have such a successful year this year, what would that have done to your career at this point?
TIM FERRY: You mean this past year? You know, I don't know. I think I had couple years that were, you know, obviously lackluster and, you know, due to some injuries and some things, and it took almost basically a year and a half to get back to where I was. And, you know, I don't know -- I think I wasn't expecting to be racing right now. I think I made it known that my year at Triple X was just to prove it to myself that I could get back out there and race and then I got the opportunity to ride, you know, obviously a good bike and, you know, I don't know where I'd be right now, but just want to work hard and show Kawasaki that I can put in some good results.
STEVE GIBERSON: And also, I did the points -- as I told you earlier -- I added up all the points for the year because the AMA hasn't released any of the points or anything -- and you had more points than anybody on the year, which means that if they still gave a grand national championship, it would be Timmy Ferry as the grand national champion. So what did you think about that?
TIM FERRY: I mean, obviously, that feels good, to -- I'd be number two if they didn't have the points system the way it is now. But I think my year was good. Supercross was excellent. I really enjoyed supercross this year. It was the most fun I've ever had riding a supercross series. And I was healthy at the end for the nationals and the Motocross des Nations was just icing on the cake for my whole season.
JIM HOLLY: Something else is gonna be new here for you this year. I was talking to you backstage -- you got a new mechanic also.
TIM FERRY: Yeah, I got a new mechanic this year -- this is my third one. They got Daniel Wiggins -- he's actually our test mechanic -- and he's gonna be working for me here and he's been with Kawasaki a while, so, yeah, hopefully he'll stay for a little while.
JASON WEIGANDT: I got a question for you, Timmy. I know last year when you started getting those podiums, you knew you needed a little bit more speed to maybe try to contend for a win, and you said it probably would take the off season to work on some technique. Have you started doing any of that in the month we've had pretty much between Glen Helen and now, or are there things you plan on trying this weekend to try to get a little quicker?
TIM FERRY: I mean, actually, I have been. I've been working on my speed -- that's something that I didn't point out. I think if I can get a little more speed, that will make my racing a lot easier. I think James and Chad just had -- you know, were a step above me speed-wise and no matter how hard I tried, they were just a little better. But I think I'm gonna use this three months. I've already started working on some stuff and, you know, I'm trying to adapt as I get older. I mean, I'm over thirty years old, so I'm trying to adapt to the new styles of other riders and, you know, the young kids coming up. So that's a challenge to me, but at the same time, that's, you know, kind of what's keeping me motivated, keeping me moving.
JASON WEIGANDT: Another question for you, Tim. So do you come into this race looking at it as a preview for 2008? Or is this just a stand-alone event that you want to come out here and make a lot of money and just do well for yourself?
TIM FERRY: Actually, I really just wanted to come and have a good time. I had a good time last year and obviously the money's great, to win that. At the same time, I think we could make more money at a normal supercross, but I think it's just to kind of see where we're at and I don't want to put too much pressure on this race. It's not really gonna affect Anaheim. If it's a bad result, I'm not gonna take it into Anaheim. It's more about, you know, see where the bike's at, see where my endurance is and what I need to work on. But at the same time, I think the most important thing is to have a good time -- It's Las Vegas.
JASON WEIGANDT: One more thing I'll ask, for people that are maybe not as familiar with this event. It is a little bit tighter track than a traditional supercross. You kind of mentioned that even the smaller bikes would have an advantage. Now, we always talk about there's a little more bar banging out there. Just tell people who maybe aren't familiar what the difference is of racing on a track of this size compared to a traditional supercross track.
TIM FERRY: Well, I think you definitely have to, you know, set up the passes a lot more. It's more of a block pass. I remember back when I was riding and everybody was on two-strokes and I was on a four-stroke and they thought that you couldn't ride this track on a four-stroke, and I think it actually works better sometimes with the engine braking and things like that. I feel like I can get in the corners better and get the bike turned around quicker because of the engine braking. So I don't think that being tight is a disadvantage -- back to Jim, with the 450 and 250-F. But you're definitely gonna see a little more bar banging and, you know, nothing too bad hopefully.
JASON WEIGANDT: Alright, well, for you, we don't mind seeing that stuff. Any other questions for Tim Ferry, #15 of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Team?
MARIO MARINI: This is Vegas, so the show is the most important thing -- not just money. Do you have any special tricks for, you know, the next two nights here for the crowd? You don't -- You know, you don't show off too much.
TIM FERRY: Yeah, I'm working on a back flip right now. No, I think the racing is going to be exciting. James is coming back from an injury so he's got -- you know, he wants to prove he's got some speed. And the same with Chad. I think there's gonna be some good racing. I don't think there's gonna be any -- too many nacs-nacs or back flips or anything like that, but I think the crowd's gonna get a good show.
JASON WEIGANDT: Alright, cool. That's Tim Ferry, of the Monster Energy Kawasaki Team. Thanks, Tim.
And we'll transition over here and bring Chad Reed, #22, on his Yamaha over here to the podium. We will have riders out riding on the track a little bit later on, so keep your cameras ready and we will have -- Chad's gonna be doing some riding today so we can get some video and photos of that. Let's bring Chad Reed in here now. Somewhat absent all summer long -- we saw him at Budd's Creek twice and I know you were at the X Games. But really haven't seen too much of Chad Reed, so what have you been doing for the last couple of months, man?
CHAD REED: Now I've been kind of busy, somewhat more busy than when I have been racing. Just, you know, doing a lot of stuff, you know, in Australia with some cars and, you know, working with my strength in supercross championship down there, and trying to get dates and stadiums and all that fun stuff that you -- you know, you sit on the couch and you go, man, why is Live Nation going here, there and everywhere on this date and this date? But I'm kind of finding out why. So it's been fun and I've just been riding every once in a while and waiting for the new bikes and, you know, got ready for Motocross des Nations and did that, and then been testing a little bit for this.
JASON WEIGANDT: Okay, so where is your program right now? I mean, are you aiming at Anaheim 1? Have you been doing work preparing for this race or are you just kind of getting back into the swing of things right now?
CHAD REED: No, I'm here to win, you know? I think it's been a great off season for me. I've had some good times, but I'm ready -- I'm ready to go back to work. And, you know, we've been working pretty hard on the bike and myself and it's looking -- It's looking pretty good. You know, we've made some improvements and that's why we're here this weekend. I think we've gotten to a point where we need to go racing to find out what's next for us.
JASON WEIGANDT: Yeah, there's two schools of thought. Some people think that you get faster by racing every weekend, which is what guys like Timmy did all summer long. For you, I think you wanted to get kind of a fresh start. So do you think for supercross, you're actually going to benefit by having time off this summer?
CHAD REED: I think it's gonna be fun. You know, I think -- You know, I have my opinion. I've been getting pretty beat up about not doing the nationals and it's -- It is what it is. You know, I have a race team that wants to only go race supercross and I'm okay with that. So, you know, I was able to do a lot of fun things this year and I can honestly say, going to the test track in October and being motivated and being happy to be there and make things happen. And everybody else around here is just like, dude, I gotta go riding here and they're all -- you know, they're beat up; they're tired. Even our national champ doesn't care to race, you know, right now. So it is what it is. I'm motivated in October and we've got three months to, you know, get strong and get ready to win supercross next year.
JASON WEIGANDT: Alright, good answer there. We have questions for Chad Reed, Yamaha rider? Questions from the press? We've got Steve Cox, Motocross Illustrated. Go ahead.
STEVE COX: A lot has been made over the summer with Langston racing the '08 bike, about differences in handling and turning and how much he says that helped him. I assume, obviously, you've been on it as well. Has it made a similar difference for you?
CHAD REED: I mean, the bike's better. Grant does a very good job of doing his job. He's there to sell bikes and he was able to win on it. But, you know, me and Grant have completely different styles and definitely things I feel is not what he's feeling and likewise. I felt that over the last couple of weeks, we've -- You know, we've really, as a team, you know, L&M and Factory Yamaha have kind of come together and, you know, that's been a good feeling, to come together and work as a team and try to make things better for all of us. And I think, you know, we've made some improvements, and kind of like what I said -- You know, I think we've got to the point where we need to go racing and figure out, you know, what it's like on the track that, you know, other manufacturers are racing on. And you know, at the test track, I'm comfortable, strong and feeling good so, you know, we'll see. See how it goes this weekend.
JIM HOLLY: Chad, does it present a problem like, you know, Friday night the track's gonna be one way and then Saturday night it's gonna be a completely different track? Is it hard to get acclimated to a track in such a short time?
CHAD REED: For me, I'm all for it. I wish they'd do that -- you know, do practice on one track and change it up for the race. I get bored too easy, so -- and I know my attention span is a little too short -- but, you know, for me it's, you know, the more variety the better. I love the idea. It will be the first time that I'm back here that they've been doing that every other year that I've been here. It's just the same track both nights and, you know, it's a long night on, you know Friday, and then you get up, you know, Saturday morning and it's just kind of repeat and go through the motions again. So I'm excited to come back on Saturday night with a new track and, you know, some new things with the bike. You know, Yamaha only has a certain amount of parts, so me and GL are kind of trading off this weekend on some things, so yeah, he'll have some things Friday night and I'll have some things Saturday night.
JIM HOLLY: This will be the first time that you're gonna compete in the fastest lapper. Are you looking forward to something like that? And it's only you out on the track -- nobody else. You get to lay down the fastest track and one step closer to that Trifecta.
CHAD REED: Yeah, I think it's gonna be fun. I think, like Red Dog said, it's fun to go out there and just lay down that perfect lap. I think, you know, whether we're back in Florida or whatever, you know, I think we all -- You know, we all like to get out there and flex a little bit and show who can go down and lay down a good lap. So I think it's gonna be a good feeling, you know, to come in and be the only guy on the track with, you know, a stadium full of fans. And I think it's gonna be exciting. I like it. I enjoy, you know, laying down one lap and you can just go out there and pin it. So, first time for me doing that, and first time at U.S. Open, you know, with the four-stroke and all that. So I think it's gonna be exciting; gonna be neat to come back. And I love this race. It's a lot what I grew up in Australia with the really tight, small tracks. And, you know, like I said, I've always done well. I've won twice and I'm looking for a third.
MARIO MARINI: Chad, before the new season, 2008, everybody's talking about you proving, you know, making it better and trying to be faster. What did you learn through the 2007 season of supercross and what do you think you have to improve, you know, to win the title next year?
CHAD REED: You know, there's a lot of things that -- You know, when we finished '07, you know, I sat down with the team there -- you know, the guys -- and it was just a lot of things needed to happen to, you know, to be competitive and, you know, it was to a point where it really wasn't that fun to go racing and just go through the motions to be the second place guy. And I think this summer off was fun and I needed it. And, you know, I think the '08 bike is a little better. And, you know, but I think the changes that we've made and the direction we're going in is much better, more than anything. So, I think -- That's what I'm excited about. You know, I think, you know, it all comes down to bike setup and I just need to be comfortable and that's what we've been chasing for a couple years now.
JASON WEIGANDT: I've got a couple questions for you, Chad. You mentioned that you're kind of working behind the scenes -- the Australia Supercross Series now. Does that change your approach to racing here, now that you've learned how many different things go on behind the scenes and what has to be done with media and logistics and all that? Does that give you some insight into your team when you're racing back here in the States?
CHAD REED: Yeah, I mean, for sure. You know, like I said -- It's funny, you know, like a couple years ago, we went from San Diego to Atlanta or something and back to, you know, back to the West Coast. And I was thinking, why the hell were we doing that? And, you know, just dealing with stadiums and other sports and all that kind of stuff has been pretty interesting to see, you know, where it all fits in. So, I definitely have a different look of, you know, what it takes to go racing and whether it's a team or actual supercross. And, you know, like I said, it's just -- It's fun and I've had some great time off this season to do all that. A lot of people kind of mis -- you know, mis-think about it, I think. They all think that I'm looking for an out, but I'm not going no where. I'm having a lot of fun and, you know, I feel better than ever and it's time to go racing again. Like I said, you know, it was a great summer and I'm motivated and ready to, you know, push some people out.
STEVE GIBERSON: When you got back on the bike again after, you know, considerable time off, did you feel better or was there a little rust you had to shake off?
CHAD REED: No, I mean, I felt great on the bike. You know, obviously, when you go racing, you know, you're doing the start with 39 other guys and, you know, when I came back and raced, it was at a race that I was around a bunch of international guys -- you know, at Motocross des Nations -- and didn't really know any of them. And, you know, I got a decent start and I felt like I rode pretty decently, you know? It was -- You guys would be pretty shocked and maybe disappointed in the rest of the field if you knew how much riding I'd done before that race. But it was fun. It was fun to come out and just put on the box, just like always.
JASON WEIGANDT: Just to remind people -- just like I asked Timmy -- that they're not familiar with this race. Talk about riding on a smaller track and what's that like? You guys have had a few years where you haven't even done it, but I'm sure you remember well what it was like a couple of years ago.
CHAD REED: Yeah, I love it. This is what I grew up on. I've been racing supercross since I was 12 years old on an 80 and they were just like this and smaller, and we didn't have the luxury of going outside the stadium. So, it's gonna be cool and, you know, I think on the tight tracks, I just -- You know, I'm like -- Like I said, I grew up on it, so I think my style kind of suits it and yeah, it's gonna be fun. I love Vegas. Any time to come to Vegas is a good excuse.
JASON WEIGANDT: Same thing I asked Timmy now. A couple of weeks ago, you were at a race where you weren't, I guess, super 100 percent prepared. I don't know how much work you could do between now and then. Do you look at this as a race to come out and win, or is this just a stepping stone to 2008?
CHAD REED: No, this is an important race. You know, I need to win. I need to, you know, validate what I'm feeling on the bike and, you know, I'm looking forward to it. Just can't wait to get there and go race, to be honest. You know, it's been a long time since I've been on a supercross track and I felt good and, you know, at this point, on the Yamaha track, I feel good, and we'll see how it goes this weekend.
JASON WEIGANDT: You mentioned you were getting beat up -- I think we've all heard it -- when you didn't race this summer. Does that give you extra motivation?
CHAD REED: Oh, for sure, you know? I think I work harder than anyone out there and even in the off season, you know? I was still doing a lot of things and I'm not scared of it. And even when I'm not working that hard, I can still come out and be on the podium. And, you know, I think people are bummed that I'm not there and feel that maybe I could have won a title, and that kind of bothers me more than anything, you know? That, you know, because Ricky didn't race a full season and then James got hurt, they just automatically think that I'd be the guy that should be out there winning and I'd be happy to collect a title with another asterisk. But that's not what life's about and I could do without another asterisk, you know? I think '04, Ricky was hurt when I won my supercross title but, you know, at the end of the day, I think we had great equipment and we were prepared to win and, you know, whether I was in it or not, you know, I think -- You know, for sure I think I could have won the title this year, but I wouldn't give up my off-season this year. It's been fun and I'm motivated for next year.
JASON WEIGANDT: Alright. Okay, that's Chad Reed, #22 on the Yamaha. He's going to be racing out here tomorrow, going for the Trifecta, going for the U.S. Open title, and they will be doing some riding out here in a little bit, so stick around, folks. Thanks a lot, Chad. Thanks, Tim Ferry. This has been your press conference.