Today’s press day featured JGR/Toyota/Yamaha’s Josh Grant and Justin Brayton, as well as Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs/Honda’s Cole Seely, Christian Craig, and Jessy Nelson. Before the riders took to the track, we sat down to catch up with them and find out their thoughts on the season so far. Be sure to click through the pages below to get the scoop on all five riders. Also, don’t forget to check out the photo gallery on the final page.
What are your thoughts on how your season has gone so far?
I mean, what can I say? It’s been up and down, but I’m still here riding, and I’m healthy. I’ve gotten a couple top-10 finishes. Last weekend sucked after getting in that first-turn pile-up and starting a lap down, so I just want to continue moving forward, and I’m feeling better on the bike. I told myself that I wasn’t going to kill myself in the first couple of rounds. I just want to get through it, start building a base, and get back to where I’m comfortable riding again. I’m waiting to feel that click that will allow me to want to go up there and run in the top-five. That’s where I feel like I should be.
With that being said, are you happy with where you’re at now?
Yeah I am. I mean, dude, there are a lot of fast guys that are in the top-20. For me being in the top-10 in the first three weekends—then obviously having a bad weekend last weekend—I think is a good to start of the year, especially for me considering the shit I’ve been through in the last couple of years. It’s been gnarly. I feel like it’s a good start. It’s not where I want to end up and be a 10th place guy, but it’s good for now. I don’t want to put too much expectation on myself to where I push it and end up on my head. A lot of these guys are going fast, but they’re also eating shit [laughs]. I want to stay up, stay healthy, get through the first bit of the year, and then start doing it towards the end there.
What are your thoughts on the competition with how gnarly the top guys are in the 450 class?
It’s crazy. The way that the points are with the 250 guys pointing out, and them having to move up to the premiere class pretty quick, it’s putting the top riders out there. It’s gnarly—there are a lot of good dudes. I think literally, the top-10 guys can win a race. We’ve seen it with [Justin] Barcia, Trey [Canard] is right there, Ryan [Villopoto], Davi [Millsaps]… All those guys can win a race. It’s pretty gnarly to be up in that group.
You were at JGR a few years ago, but how would you say the bike compares to what it was back when you were on the team in 2010?
They’ve done a lot of work to it, but the hardest thing for me is that in 2010, I rode some outdoors, but I didn’t really get to ride much Supercross on it. Before Supercross that year, I got hurt at Metty’s [Brett Metcalfe] where I got a concussion and tore up my shoulder, so I didn’t even race Supercross in 2010 on it, I just rode it in outdoors, and the bike was pretty good there. Then I switched to Honda and I rode Kawasaki after that. I don’t really remember exactly how the JGR bike was, so it’s hard to say that it is better now at certain things. It does, though, feel like they’ve done a lot of good stuff to it, so it’s good.
Going into this weekend, what are your expectations?
I just want to get through the weekend, have some good laps, and feel comfortable. I know that if I feel comfortable, I’ll do well. I just have to get a start and that’s it. I feel that as long as I keep doing that and build a base, I’ll be up there.
So like you said, you’re just kind of waiting for that “click”?
Yeah, just that click that makes me want go, “Alright, I’m ready to go up and do it; I’m ready to battle.” I don’t have it yet. I’m not feeling like it’s time to risk it yet, because we have 17 rounds of Supercross and we’ve only done four rounds. I don’t really want to go kill myself to where I can’t do something later. I’d rather just keep it going.