Ryan Morais’ goal for a 2010 West Coast Lites Supercross championship came to a screeching halt in just the 3rd round of the series, when another racer landed on the back on his bike, sending both riders crashing to the ground. This unfortunate crash would sideline Ryan for a few rounds, but he would eventually return to racing action in Seattle and finish the season 10th overall points. When the AMA Motocross Nationals came into around, Ryan was ready to get back to racing, but going into the second round he was once again out with an injury. Ryan has been busy the past few months, but is back and ready to set some new goals for the upcoming 2011 series. I spoke with Ryan about what he learned over the past year and his prospects for the new season.
Angela: Well Ryan, here we are just a few short weeks until the first Supercross race of the season; let’s talk about sponsors and the bike?
Ryan: Yeah, DC Shoes stepped up recently and is sponsoring the entire Rockstar Energy Suzuki Team, so I am really excited to be a part of it. I have only been with this sponsor for a few days now and they’re really taken care of the team. I’m with the same team as last year, Rockstar Energy Suzuki, with the same mechanic (Rene Zapata), and the same team manager, and owner, everything is pretty much the same, but Suzuki really is stepping up this year. Last year we were on a 2009 carburetor bike, so we were kind of behind the ball, but this year we are on the new 2011 fuel injected, the whole new chassis and everything, and Suzuki has really helped us out with factory support. Our bikes are pretty much in house bikes, running Shoei Suspension, so everything is looking great. Everyone has been doing a great job and the people at Yoshimura have been doing a lot of testing and getting our bikes dialed in, so I’m excited for Anaheim 1. Our bike should be one of the best ones out there, making things really competitive, and that is very cool.
Riding for the same team as last year, there must be some great advantages to having familiarity with your surroundings, the bike, the crew; what’s your take?
It is real nice staying somewhere for a second year and I have rarely had that and it’s nice knowing the team and I have a great relationship with the crew. They know how I like to work and what makes me comfortable and I also know how to work alongside them. I communicate my opinions and ideas and they work hard to understand my style. I feel like this is a good home for me and I am happy to be here with Bill Keefe and Bobby Hewitt. I’m excited to get this season started, and start off where I kind of ended my season last year. Those first two rounds went really good, I was right there racing Jake Weimer, my speed was good, and I felt like I was good for the championship, but things happened. I plan on coming back swinging, like I have every year and hopefully get some race wins and my first championship.
Let’s rewind on the last 6 months for you, I saw you out there for a few rounds of the Motocross Nationals, but you quickly exited the series; what happened out there?
I raced Hangtown and it went alright, but in both motos I got bad starts and I got stuck in some pile up. I came from 38th to 12th in one Moto and 37th to 14th in that last moto. When I got to Freestone I landed off a jump, hitting a soft spot. It cranked my handlebars really hard and I ended up going down. The result from that crash was an Avulsion fracture to my thumb. An Avulsion fracture is when the ligament is pulled from the bone. I had to come home and have surgery. It was a very long process with one of the smallest and most aggravating injuries I have ever had. But I finally got back to riding and rode for about three weeks.
Ryan received the RC Hard Charger award at Hangtown in 2010.
You’ve recently done some extra races, which were they?
I did a Supercross race in Sweden, that went pretty good and I finished in third place. Then I came home and started testing with the new 250F. Then I went and did the Bercy Supercross a couple of weeks ago and it went alright, but I had some bike issue. We did not have some parts we needed, so we were kind of limited at some point. The experience was good and the main reason I wanted to go was do just do some racing. It had been a while since I had raced and I really wanted to get some race time before the first race of the season. That was the goal, go there, be smart, come home safe, and just race and that’s what I did.
What kind of training off the bike are you doing?
I mainly do a lot of cycling and gym work. My trainer is Darren Stockto, this will be my third year with him and I feel that the program works really well for me. I have used different trainers throughout my career and I feel like this is a really good fit for me. It revolves around riding instead of putting cycling first, so it really works for me. I am really excited and our preparations have been very good the past couple of years and it is showing. I’m more confident with my preparation this year than previous years, so I am going in the right direction.
Ryan practicing at Pala Raceway during the DC Moto TF ride day.
You will be racing in West Coast Lites series for 2011, and there are changes to the rules for the Lites class, what do you think of the Final going to Las Vegas?
I think the final in Vegas is cool. It is a good idea and gives everyone one more race to go out there and get those points. With the separate East and West Main Events and then the shootout later on which I think is a very cool idea. It is going to be a lot of racing and add some excitement and I think I will enjoy it.
This year Supercross will add some more interesting things to do during the race day; what is your perspective on the Supercross fan experience?
I think it has been getting better every year at Supercross. There is a lot going on during the day in the Pits for the spectators to check out, a lot to see and it is a cool idea to keep adding more fun for the fans. We need to do everything we possibly can, from the industry to the riders to help this sport grow and so many people depend on this as a way of life. I think we should all put into it as much effort as they can to make it as big as they can; give back to the sport that has given to you.
What is your main goal for Supercross in 2011?
My main goal, as I go into this new season, is to be on that box every single weekend, that is one of my goals. I actually have a lot of goals that I have set for myself this year, but that one to be consistently on the podium every weekend; I have done it before, so I know it is possible, but I am setting race wins as my top goal. I’ve been in the Lites class and got plenty of 2nds and 3rds, but still yet to get that elusive Win. I’ve been close plenty of times, but that is not cutting it for me. I know if I go out there and win some races I will have a great chance for the championship.
You have a few weekends left to relax; what will you do for those peaceful days you are not out training?
Actually I am just happy to be home. I was over in France for almost a week, came home for a day then went to Colorado for Thanksgiving. Then I got back to Cali, but then left for Northern California. So the last month I have been doing a lot of traveling, riding, testing, it has been busy. I am just really excited to enjoy the last few weeks at home, relaxing on the weekend and looking forward to that family time over Christmas.
It is a ton of work to race Supercross and the people that support your efforts are a huge part of the program. Who helps makes your program run the way it does?
Yeah, I have got a lot of people that help me get out to the races every weekend, but the most important person is my wife. She has to deal with me every day; good days and bad, and she is always there for me and always supports me and she does whatever it takes for me to be able to do everything I can for my career and our life, so I am very thankful. Also to my Mom and Dad, sister and brother, they are always there for me. My trainer, he is the reason I am as good as I am right now with my fitness, because in the past I struggled with injuries, but he has taught me to correct the issues that I had, so I am very thankful for him. Of course my mechanic does such a great job. He works hard on that bike everyday and brings it home and back again, making sure I am able to have a good racing bike to train on every day. And everyone on the team and the people and sponsors who back me, it is just amazing feeling, because I would not be able to do it without all of them!
Thanks Ryan ~ Happy Holidays & see you at Anaheim 1!