Friday Feature: Ryan Morais

by Kyle Cowling

In 2002 a young Ryan Morais made his professional debut in Supercross aboard a newly formed team: McGrath Racing. Unfortunately, Ryan’s ’02 season only lasted half a heat race after sustaining a season-ending injury. Since then, Morais has been stuck on a never-ending rollercoaster ride of injuries. In 2007, however, Mo was able to show everybody what he was truly capable of by falling only a few points short of winning the East Coast Lites Supercross title. The Yamaha of Troy rider had somewhat of a bittersweet season this year and we wanted to catch up with Morais to see what was going on and discuss the Outdoor Nationals that are rapidly approaching.

You struggled throughout the year, but you were able to put things together towards the end of the season. What was going on?

I had a severe off-season injury coming into the East Coast Supercross season, so I about 85% healthy coming into Atlanta. I was fighting my way back from that as the series was moving along and I kept trying to improve each weekend. I think I was getting pretty close to my actual potential at the last couple of races. I got second place at Detroit and I think a lot of people noticed that I was finally coming along.

Finishing second place in Detroit; did that help your confidence for the weeks ahead.

For sure! Coming into Detroit this year I was really focused and last year…(laughs) it was a big turning point for me. I was leading the series and I lost the championship it at the last race and this year I wanted to go in there and break that streak, you know? I was able to accomplish that and I’m really happy.

Are you looking forward to moving things outside in a couple of weeks?

Yeah! I’m excited. I’ve done a little bit of testing and our bikes are awesome this year. It should be a good time. I think between myself and J-Law we should be able to get some good starts and good finishes; especially with Osborne and Bowers, we should be a strong team.

How was it with Tyler Bowers being a rookie and joining the team?

I didn’t see Bowers too much. For the most part he was back home, but when Osborne joined the team he stayed at my house for three weeks. He has a good program and it was fun to train and ride with him.

Does J-Law have his own program as well?

Lawrence was working with Ryno, but I guess they parted ways. Everybody on the team has their own program, but I think I get a long with Jason the best. A lot of people don’t understand him, but I understand where he is coming from and the way he is. We get a long great, we ride together, and we joke around.

What are your plans for ’09?

Uh… I don’t know. This is my last year at Yamaha of Troy. I wish I had an idea and I could tell you, but I really have no idea right now (laughs).

We’ve seen a lot of Lites riders jump into the 450 class to get their feet wet. Given the chance, is that something we could expect to see from you in the future?

I think it would be really cool! Our team wasn’t prepared to do that this year, especially because we are a Lites team. We didn’t have the budget or the support from Yamaha to do that because we’re just a Lites team. Maybe next year, depending where I am at, we could do something like that. I think it would be really cool! The 450 class is the premier class and I think I could do pretty well in that class. After watching Tommy Hahn, Josh Grant, and Ryan Dungey do so well I see no reason why I can’t finish inside the top seven in the Supercross class.

What are your goals foor the Outdoor Nationals this year?

My main goal is to be racing at every single round this year. I’ve never finished a full Outdoor season because I tend to get hurt and then I have a ton of complications. So that’s my main goal: be at every race and finish the series. I want to be inside the top ten and top five. I would be so happy with a top-three finish! If you’re able to race an Outdoor National and finish inside the top five…that’s pretty good!

Throughout your career you’ve been riddled with injuries. How are you able to come back from each injury fully motivated and determined to be successful?

Oh man! This has been my dream since I was a little kid. Once I set my mind to something I’m not going to give up until I reach what I want. I haven’t achieved all of the goals I have set for myself, but I’ve accomplished some of them. It’s definitely been a rough road. In 2002, that was my first year, I was riding for McGrath Racing and I think I came into A1 with a lot of hype surrounding me because I was one of the faster amateur kids. Unfortunately I got hurt in the first lap of my heat race and I was out for the entire year. It was a pretty serious injury and it was hard to fight back from that one. Last year was the first Supercross season I’ve ever finished. Until last year, I was averaging up to four or five surgeries a year. It’s hard. You can’t give up, however. I believe once you do it’s easier to give up the time after that and that’s not me. I’m not giving up until I get what I want.