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Hosts PJ Doran and Dave Sulecki discuss Anaheim 2, wheelies and #motokarma while bringing you the latest industry news, and interview Supercross rider Alex Martin. Alex placed 5th in the 250SX West Main this past weekend and tells us about the experience and being a part of the JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team.
PJ Doran: Welcome to Pit Pass Moto the show that keeps you up to speed on the latest in motorcycling and brings the biggest themes in motorcycle racing right to you. I'm PJ Doran.
Dave Sulecki: I'm Dave Sulecki.
PJ Doran: This week as a guest we have Alex Martin. But first here's the latest news in the industry.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah. Big Supercross news this weekend. I hope everybody was out to watch. I mean it was, PJ saw some action this weekend. 450 race was awesome. Your guy was able to make his mark finally and Come out of his shell. Right?
PJ Doran: Absolutely. Tomac just, he's always, so fast and they were talking about it. I'm sure you watched the same coverage that I did. They were mentioning Carmichael kept saying when he is on fire, no one's going anywhere near as fast, I mean he was taking huge chunks of time out of people. Unfortunately he had to, because his start was around 10th so, he was on fire though and easily passed the field and then put a gap on them.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, notorious slow starter, for the season. Not for Moto, but just a slow starter for the season and he stalked Roczen down. Roczen didn't put up, much of a fight. I was really kind of surprised.
PJ Doran: Yeah. I thought he might have a little something for him. I just, again, this hearkens back to how many seasons in a row now that we've seen something similar from Tomac. He starts the season slow, as you said. Then all of a sudden he catches fire and as long as he doesn't bin it, he's the fastest guy around.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah. Not every race can be Daytona though, that would be ideal for Tomac he'd be 17 and Oh and gosh, the guy you quietly snuck in there in third Cooper Webb on the box. The defending champ just snuck in and made a good night of it. He's gotten over his sickness first couple rounds, he looks steady. He looked really steady and I still, I was never a big Cooper believer, but look where he's at.
PJ Doran: I mean, he's got a little work to do in the title hunt but, he hasn't ruled himself out of it, right?
Dave Sulecki: No, not really. So the flip side of all of this is Adam Cianciarulo, the guy that we all predicted was going to just really kill it as a rookie this year. Kind of slip back a little bit, didn't put up a huge fight, finished out sixth, for the night. Not a terrible finish by any stretch but, he's really kind of finishing now where you expect a rookie to finish.
PJ Doran: Yeah. And then, we can't not talk about the 16 year old phenom in the 250 race who did the longest nose wheelie of all time into the face of the finish line jump. That was insane.
Dave Sulecki: It was insane, he was a little bit out of control leading up to that. I think he was tired. I think he was riding over his head just a tad and that little section that dragon back, which bit a few people I guess in practice earlier in the day.
PJ Doran: Absolutely it did.
Dave Sulecki: You could see lost energy and let go of the bike and, Ferrandis man just out of nowhere. That's the story of the night. I think everybody's talking about it. His pass on Christian Craig taking him out. There by the mechanics area was, just amazing to watch. And there's a lot, if you go on the internet, there's a lot of pictures you can see sequential that show... I think, he was hungry to get past him and he put a wheel in there where he probably shouldn't have.
PJ Doran: Yeah. And it was discussed certainly at the finish line at the podium. They were still alluding to it may be under review and kudos to the racing powers that be, they made a decision before they got on the podium.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah. And it finally came down from the AMA. They gave him a 12 month suspension and a $3,000 fine. That was suspended. So basically, he's going to be watched closely for the rest of the series and probably the outdoors. They're going to be eyeballing everything Dylan does and if he slips up at all, makes the wrong move, gets a little too aggressive, throws an elbow or something, they're going to come down on him.
PJ Doran: For a young guy, he's got to think about that now. Every time he makes a pass.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah. And he actually, I think got a little close to the Australian kid also, when he went to catch up to him and pass him, he stuck a wheel in on him over one of the jumps, which I don't know if that really caused any of the kid's problems, but...
PJ Doran: no, he was clearly, I think you hit the nail on the head. He's young, he's inexperienced at this level. He's gathering it quickly and clearly not going to be the last we hear of that kid. He is insanely fast. He had within eyesight, his first win in the Supercross series.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah. Within a half a lap. That's quite a story. So the other Cooper, Justin Cooper again, he's got the points lead. He's got 12 points on Dylan right now and, he just nice solid second place finish for the night. He's wise beyond his years out on the race track. I think, he's really doing the right things.
PJ Doran: Yeah. He kept himself out of trouble and of course, we haven't said his name. Jett Lawrence is the young man we're talking about. Unfortunately he in that incident, essentially at the finish line, or very close to the finish line, suffers an injury to his collarbone. As we know, that's about the most common injury you're going to have when you crash in a Supercross or any motorcycle racing honestly. He's young, he'll heal quickly, I have to believe. And hopefully we'll get to see more from the rising star that is Jett Lawrence, because that was one heck of a ride he was putting on.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah it was. On the other side of the coin again, the guy that we really thought was going to own this season crashes in the main, ends up, where did Forkner end up for the night? I mean, he pretty much, he's down at 17th so he's dropped-
PJ Doran: Rough night for him and he dropped, way back in the points. He's now back in a fourth place tie with, this episode's guest Alex Martin that are tied up in the grand overall points.
Dave Sulecki: That's right. So Forkner, young kid talking trash because he wanted to own him, [crosstalk 00:06:27] he race and went out there and said I wanted to, make a statement and he made a statement and then while the main came around it just didn't look good man.
PJ Doran: I think most racers call that, well they would call it fitting justice, but yeah karma, whatever you want to call it. He really did throw down a little smack talk there at the interview after his heat because he dominated no doubt about it. It was a ten second or better win. But yeah, tempting the fates when you start talking before the main.
Dave Sulecki: That is moto-karma came back to bite him. Great weekend of racing. Really this series has just been full of surprises so far, really looking forward to the next round.
PJ Doran: Yeah, me too. I mean Roczen continues to hold onto the series lead, barcia is right behind him. Barcia had a, one could say a mediocre night for him after the start he's had, he was in ninth Tomac right back into the thick of the title hunt. It's going to be a long season. The top five, six guys are still very much in it. We got 10 points cross the top five ciancairulo sitting in fifth.
Dave Sulecki: Yep. his 56 points to Roczen's 66, throw a blanket over him. It's going to be exciting. This whole series has just been different winner every Saturday night, which I think is great for the sport. It's healthy when you've got that level of parity where anybody can win and it's not a runaway.
PJ Doran: Fans want to watch fans want to be there so the upcoming rounds, they're going to be awesome. Can't wait to see more of them, it is going to be a great season.
Dave Sulecki: I agree. I agree.
PJ Doran: Well Dave, you want to give us this week's trivia question? Let's talk about that.
Dave Sulecki: All right. This week's trivia question, pit pass moto of the week. What former NFL coach entered in the motor sports and eventually started a motocross team name the coach, team, and what year?
PJ Doran: We'll have the answer after our interview with Alex Martin.
PJ Doran: Welcome to the show, alex Martin, welcome to Pit Pass. Alex is a professional motocross racer for the J G R M X Yoshimura Suzuki factory racing team. How are you doing Alex? You had a pretty decent weekend this weekend. How'd the race go for you?
Alex Martin: Yeah, doing pretty good back in Florida. I've been making the trek cross country every week because I'm based in Florida race in West coast just got done with a little a bike ride trying to get the blood flowing after crashing, hitting the deck multiple times this weekend. No Anaheim was good Anaheim too, ended up with a fifth place overall in the main event. Actually really close to nabbing the podium there with a couple laps to go, was in fourth and had second, third Justin Cooper and Hart were right ahead of me and ended up coming up short on a triple and clipped it. Went over the bars and then, fifth was all I could manage after that. So a bummer weekend but just happy to be healthy.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, for sure. I mean you had a rough go in your heat race. That was a nasty get off. What was going through your mind when you went down? I mean is that get back on the bike right away and let's go or Oh shoot, I'm going through the LCQ. What a what are you thinking when that happens?
Alex Martin: Well, when that happened, it happened so fast that the only thing was well game over.
Dave Sulecki: game over.
Alex Martin: I mean because the way I crashed and how I crashed and it looks, it was a hard hit. Like I hit very hard and honestly I'm really happy, just fortunate that I didn't break a bone or something because that could have easily been a wrist or something. So I definitely was very fortunate to, get away relatively unscathed. And at that point I couldn't really even continue the heat race cause the front end was so twisted. I did one lap and I couldn't even go straight through the warp so it was just turning on me. So just regroup, come back. The LCQ pull the whole shot, just manage a second. Just wanted to get through the LCQ, unscathed. Luckily the main was a lot better though.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, for sure. You're start in, the LCQ was stellar for sure. I think you guys are making horsepower JGR and you and Mosiman going at it there. And really to finish up and make it into the main, from there it was great. Really job well done for sure.
Alex Martin: It's no secret, everyone struggled with the track and the whoops in particular last weekend, it was just one of those races where I struggled all day personally with the track and you get to a point where you're like, okay, maybe let's just salvage the race or just get through this one healthy, it's a long season. We're racing 20 plus times even in 250 class and this is one of those races where I can reach up and bite you. Like it did, I guess with Jett Lawrence, there was a lot of things happening in the 250 class main event and lot of crashes just in general throughout the day. So just, take this one and go forward.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, for sure. I mean how much of that did about right away after the race? I mean it was watching it on TV or seen it live. There was a lot of drama. Just the things that happened with Dylan and Christian and then jett. I mean how much of that did you hear about right away or was that stuff debated through the pits later?
Alex Martin: Yeah, I had no idea. Honestly. Obviously I was thinking that my race in and of itself, there was enough drama with me crashing, going over the bars, all this stuff, and then you just hear a little bits and pieces when you come back and talking to the mechanics and J Bone team manager, all that stuff, and you see Instagram, you see clips and stuff. I still haven't watched the race in full, but I've seen the highlights so I have a good idea. Obviously yesterday I had a good idea of, what went down.
PJ Doran: Alex, exactly what you're saying, we all witnessed there was a lot of offtrack excursions, particularly in the whoops that you noted. Was it slick? Was it just different timing? What was it about the course? Because you clearly were not the only one who had issues in a couple of areas of the track.
Alex Martin: I just think it was a case of, I can't really even say the dirt because like from Anaheim one to Anaheim two, they have the monster jam over that off weekend. when we were in ST. Louis they were doing the Monster Jam. So the dirt's sitting in the stadium for a good three or four weeks, typically a two is really dry, hard pack slick. But we did press, actually the JJR, me and Jimmy D and a couple other guys did press day Friday and it had rained Thursday night and it was pretty muddy and pretty slick. So I was actually like, man, this might be good for the track in general for the weekend.
Alex Martin: But I really just think it was a case of the way the track layout was designed. There was two whoop sections and there was a Dragon's back and the whoop sections were just, really big. I guess they were big, they were steep. The first whoop section had no startup at all. So it was very hard to like set up and get into the whoops. Typically if you have a startup whoop, it really makes it a lot easier to get into the whoops. Cause once you're in the whoops, it's just about managing your throttle. It's pretty easy for the most part. So yeah, just the whoop sections, the Dragon's back, that's what really made the track difficult in my opinion.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah. There definitely seemed to be something odd about the course for everybody, whether it was a cadence, of the obstacles, or just the conditions of the soil. So I think making the best of it like you did, like you said, that's a good weekend. I can score some points, and not walk out of there hurt. So definitely.
Alex Martin: the way the 250 class has been lately, I just kind of been, somewhat consistent, and I'm fourth in points, so people are either winning or grenading themselves. So yeah, hopefully we can just be steady Eddie and chipping away. I mean, obviously we want to be up in the podium consistently week in, week out and, we're close. Just need a few more puzzle pieces and myself and JJR, Suzuki guys, Yoshimura. We're working hard to get the bike in a good spot and I feel like we're in a good spot. Just a few little things here and there and definitely better starts in the main event. Better starts when it counts and I think, we'll be up front.
PJ Doran: So you get to go back to obviously, you're competing in the West coast. It's Arizona this coming weekend. What are your realistic goals? Are you doing a lot of training this week? Did you come away from that episode on track with any, nagging injuries or are you feeling a hundred percent.
Alex Martin: I can't say I'm 100%, I'm never really 100% on a Monday, after a race. But this one in particular, I actually really was lucky. I have a massive, scratch and bruise on my collarbone. My left collarbone. But I mean, to be honest, for the way I crashed, the fact that that's all I really have. I feel pretty good. Monday I've been treating as a rest and recovery R&R day to try and get, the old body back in order. And so for me, I mean I guess training wise I'm still doing the same amount of volume. I guess Tuesday, Thursday I'm riding this week still in the gym, couple of days a week doing cardio every day and then I'm back on a plane Friday to head to Phoenix. So it's definitely a little bit more challenging with the, East coast base and having to hop on a flight and travel across the country.
Alex Martin: But, I would say for the last month or two months, I've been basically on a West coast time zone, sleeping schedule. So I'm staying up later just so that way it's not as much of a hit to the system when I do go West.
Dave Sulecki: Those are those things that most people, don't realize or recognize when they watch the races on a Saturday night. Other than guys like me, you have to stay up late and watch it. But I guess the point is, what the average racer has to go through, on a given week to meet that schedule. It's not easy.
Alex Martin: Well, and that's the thing is like Saturday night after A2, I'll get back to hotel, you're lucky if you can be sleeping by one, 12:30 and then I get back to Florida, Orlando Sunday night and it's like you're tired at 9:00 PM but that's only six o'clock on the West coast. So I force myself to stay up till midnight, one just so that way I'm just somewhat on a consistent schedule.
Dave Sulecki: Just switching gears a little bit Alex, looking at your history, 12 year pro, you're in your second year, your contract, with JGR and Suzuki and you've had to become the guy who helps develop this bike because it was new last year. And I think you've self admitted that you're not the greatest test rider developer guy. But I think the proof is you guys have got a winning platform When we see on the track. So what's it like going from private tiered, to team's like 1110 and star and TLD to where you are today as far as what you ask for your setup, for your bike and what you get, is it tremendously different now?
Alex Martin: Yeah I mean, it's definitely a long road and I feel like I've had all of those opportunities from 1110 to rock river cycle charter teams. Sorry, Yamaha, TLD it's given me good perspective and, I've definitely grown, as an athlete, as a rider, as a tester, all of the above. And this opportunity with JJR, Suzuki more or less being the only factory, 250 full time rider in the world for Suzuki I've had to, take the R&D department, I feel like I've been the R&D department and me and Renee and Lee and some of the guys just trying to figure out what makes a Suzuki competitive, what makes it tick, with KTM that was nice because you had the guys over in Europe Prato, Curly hurlings. There's a certain setting, certain length of the bike needs to be or spring raid valving all that stuff.
Alex Martin: It's all relatively similar and you can feed off a lot of different people. Whereas with Suzuki it was like, okay I'm the only one. I think, I'm actually proud of where we're at, what we've accomplished with the bike engine wise. They've made a lot of gains in off season, the bikes fast engine wise and chaste wise it handles great, and it's definitely, 12 years in, it's been, definitely a long time. I've learned a lot and I think it just gives me a good perspective in general for how to set up a bike, how to train. And obviously at the end of the day it all relates back to hopefully that gets us the results, to get Suzuki up on the top step of the podium or at least be on the podium.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, for sure. And it's awesome to see out there. I mean, a lot of nights you're the lone Suzuki representing in your top five every Saturday night and in the summer on the outdoors.And I noticed Jimmy was on the 450 this weekend.
Alex Martin: Yeah, he did 450 the first three West coast. That was the plan I guess with Joey Savatgy getting hurt at the AUS-X open. That was something that changed because I was actually planning on doing East coast most of the off season and then around Thanksgiving time I got the call from Jeremy Alberta to do West, which, wasn't a huge deal for me. It just, guess I had to ramp up my training a little bit more. So I know December was pretty intense in terms of volume, intensity, just trying to get the bike and not even the bike but just me back in shape. Because, I definitely enjoyed my off season, September and October. So, had to slim down a little bit. But no it was good. And then Jimmy, he did a couple of West coast 450 and then he's going to be doing East coast full time on the 250.
Dave Sulecki: Oh I got you. Okay. So do you get to ride the 450 much?
Alex Martin: I do have one in Florida and Florida and I've been riding it in off-season, actually once a week, I actually really liked this program where I was doing three days a week Supercross and then 250 and then on Friday I would ride the 450 outdoors and do a couple 30 minute models and actually really feel like it helped me just to, get a lot of seat time. And then also just seems like when I went back to the 250 and Supercross I always felt like just a tick better on the bike. So...
Dave Sulecki: Yeah is it-
PJ Doran: More control?
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, the weight or mass or the motorcycles just different.
Alex Martin: Yeah. That and just, I mean just doing like two 35 minute models on an outdoor track and a 450 it's a heavy bike and, it's a lot of seat time where people don't really realize in Supercross, I mean if you're doing a 60 lap day, it's only like 45-50 minutes of riding, you don't necessarily ride a lot in Supercross. It's definitely in the way with how intense it is, it's hard to put a lot of time in and the risk reward ratio, is very high. Whereas in outdoors, I mean you could do three 30 minute motos and you're relatively safe for the most part.
PJ Doran: Well Alex, you've got, what I would say has been, does it feel like a good start to you? You are clearly in the hunt. Does this feel overall you've had enough seasons now, you've started enough season, I mean do you like where you're at this point in the season? Again, to your point, you haven't taken yourself out of it when adversity has shown up.
Alex Martin: Yeah, I got to say I'm known as an outdoor guy and finishing second in the outdoor championship twice now, for me Supercross definitely doesn't come easy and I don't think I've ever been fourth in the championship through the first three rounds. So I mean, I'll take it, but at the same time I know I'm getting paid, and Suzuki, JJR, they expect me to be on the podium and so, that's definitely the ultimate goal. But I mean we're close, we're very close and we still have seven rounds left. So, I'm definitely pretty optimistic and happy with where we're at. And just to get through, the first three healthy, safe, it'd be pretty, somewhat solid. I mean, we're definitely still in the hunt and just, little things that we could work on better and we'll be right there where we need to be.
PJ Doran: right on. Well, we look forward to what's going to happen in the upcoming races. Alex, we want to give you a chance, as we're nearing the end of our interview, we want to give you a chance to thank the guys that have helped you go racing, get you where you are. Anybody you'd like to thank particularly?
Alex Martin: Yeah. Oh for sure. Yeah, I'm pretty happy with, the group I have around me, the people, JJR guys, Suzuki, Yoshimura, Perelli. It's been fun getting to know the Pirelli tires and using those. We switched over after Vegas Supercross outdoors, so that's been fun. And, John Wesley, my trainer and Mike McQuillen practice mechanic, we definitely have a good group of guys around us and that's ultimately can't go racing without those people helping us and supporting us. Scott goggles and Ryan and Answer and Darnay CTI polar, definitely a good group of people. And thanks for the support.
PJ Doran: No problem. Alex, it's been a pleasure watching you so far this season. We look forward to your upcoming results. Glad you made it through this, somewhat tough weekend without any injury. And we look forward to talking to you again soon. Best of luck.
Alex Martin: All right guys, thanks for having me on I appreciate it.
PJ Doran: this week's trivia question of the week on pit pass was what former NFL coach entered into motor sports and eventually started a motocross team. What was the name of that coach? What was the team and what year was that? The answer is Joe Gibbs, formerly Washington Redskins, head coach, 1981 and 1992 he coached them and he entered into motocross in 2008 with JGR MX whose rider we just got done speaking with, which was pretty fun.
Dave Sulecki: Yeah, absolutely. Have you ever been down to NASCAR country PJ to see some of the facilities down there?
PJ Doran: Oh yeah, quite a bit. Actually. Talladega, Alabama. There's a little road race course called little Talladega. It's about 12 miles from Talladega super Speedway, so I used to go there at night when I was sleeping in a tent and just look at the place and watch dirt track races right across the street. I've been to Daytona. My first road race was at the Nashville super Speedway, which is no more but was a NASCAR facility where they ran craftsman truck series back in the day.
Dave Sulecki: No doubt those tracks share a lot of DNA with road racing. I could see the road courses are really cool to see, the NASCAR guys go at those courses. But you go down to Charlotte and you go into any of these big shops like Joe Gibbs and they're absolutely beautiful. They really have.
PJ Doran: You want to live there.
Dave Sulecki: A one facilities absolutely it is gearhead heaven. I mean it's just nothing but engines, cars and gasoline. High-speed and boy they have-
PJ Doran: As clean, as a surgical room as well. I mean it's-
Dave Sulecki: No doubt.
PJ Doran: Unbelievable how clean they keep where they work on motors.
Dave Sulecki: Absolutely. And Gibbs is one of the top I've my former life, at Wiseco when I was a engineer, spent a lot of time down there and got to go behind the scenes with companies like Joe Gibbs. I was at Joe Gibbs and just, deal one on one with the engine builders and the engineers there on piston development and seeing it from the inside. It's amazing. Absolutely amazing. Like you said, surgically clean and boy do they run type programs. So Joe Gibbs I think has taken that model and applied it to motocross and he's as good as or bigger than some of the factory teams. I think.
PJ Doran: Absolutely. They brought, since day one since they started in the series. It was only momentarily... I recall when JGR became a team, there was some scoffing perhaps from the fan side anyway, if not in the pits and it immediately became clear that they had every intention of running a high speed, high quality program. No jokes. This is not a Lark. We're here to win.
Dave Sulecki: Yes. And when they have definitely a first-class program.
PJ Doran: No doubt, well what do we got coming up in motorcycle race and news.
Dave Sulecki: All right, so coming up this weekend, continuation of the Supercross series, they're back out West and it's the Statefarm stadium in Glendale, Arizona. That'll be January 25th Saturday night, I hope everybody watches and also arenacross is in Guthrie, Oklahoma, they start Friday night, the 24th and race again on Saturday night, the 25th.
PJ Doran: That is big news and then of course after Glendale back to California for the West coast legs of our Supercross season. We got Oakland on the 1st of February and followed by San Diego the next weekend of the eighth so they're going to be all the way to the coast for a little while, which is what you expect in the West coast series.
PJ Doran: Well, we would like to thank again our guest, Alex Martin for being with us today of the afore mentioned JGR MX crew, great guest and a great racer. We really had a good weekend for all the problems that could have developed. He really salvaged it. We want to thank you for tuning into us here on Pit Pass. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to subscribe to us on your favorite podcast app where you'll get alerts when new episodes are uploaded. Of course, make sure you're also following us on Twitter and Facebook and PitPassMoto.com.
Dave Sulecki: This has been a production of evergreen podcasts. A special thank you to Ed Conlon Camp, social media contributor, Chris Bishop. Our producers Alaya Lombreak and Rigid Coin and audio engineers Sean Rule Hoffman and Eric Colton.
PJ Doran: I'm PJ.
Dave Sulecki: and I'm Dave.
PJ Doran: We're going to see you next week here on Pit Pass Moto. Thanks for tuning in.