At 15 years old Ken Roczen is very much a young man with huge ambitions. Mature for his age, and motivated to be a World MX2 Champion in 2010 this German kid won't just be happy to win races and Grand Prix's. When you consider five times World Motocross Champion Roger De Coster and Joel Smets won their first World titles when they were in their mid 20's, and even Stefan Everts who arrived into the sport on the tail of his father (Harry) and had to wait until his late teens before he was World Champion. Smets hadn't even started racing at 15 years old.
Of course the World has changed and back in the day of De Coster, Smets and Everts it was unheard of a 15 year old boy racing to be World Champion. How about this, if Roczen can win this year's World MX2 Championship he will be the first German to do so since Paul Friedrichs wrapped up the World 500cc Championship in 1968. Nearly 40 years ago. It's about time Germany had a World Motocross Champion again isn't it. We gave Roczen a call at his home today and as usual the teenager was open and friendly. Here is what he told us.
MXlarge: Hey, Ken, its Geoff Meyer from MXlarge, how are you?
Ken Roczen: Yep, how are you, its good here.
MXlarge: I tried to call you yesterday, but you were out.
Roczen: I am doing okay, thanks. I was training for my motorcycle license. I was probably there.
MXlarge: Ken can you tell me about your last few weeks, you won a few Motocross races didn't you?
Roczen: Every race was good and I won, that is a good feeling and I have done really good practice in the winter and I can't wait for Bulgaria to come. I didn't have problems with anyone really. In Germany Max Nagl and I had contact, but it wasn't that special, it wasn't my fault, I watched a movie of it and it was just a racing incident.
MXlarge: Many people are looking at you as the next World Champion. How does that feel, does it add pressure?
Roczen: That is good that people think that, it's nice to hear that, but I try and take everything for fun. I try and get the World Championship title, some people are saying it's for me, and for sure I am one of the biggest competitors. I don't put any pressure on myself for that, I just try and stay on the ground and have a normal race.
MXlarge: You always look like you are having a good time, smiling, and when you are riding you always look like it's all about enjoying yourself.
Roczen: That is it, don't think about the race, just go and have fun and try to look for good lines and if you don't think about the race and just not put pressure on yourself, then it will be okay.
MXlarge: What about your main rivals for 2010, Musquin, Paulin maybe or Simpson. Do you think about anyone?
Roczen: At the moment I am not busy with it, I have to wait until the first couple of GP's and then see what the situation is. I have only raced those guys once, so it's too early. I don't really care what they do now, or how good they are, I will see that in Bulgaria. I think I am in good form.
MXlarge: Germany hasn't had a World Motocross Champion for many years. It was Paul Friedrichs back in 1968.
Roczen: I think after him not, but in 2007 I won the 85cc World title, so I was the next, but of course that was only 85cc, so, if I get the title this year it would be awesome.
MXlarge: Are you a young man or still a boy?
Roczen: You know, maybe I think I am a young man, I have enough time to have fun and go out with friends and they are older than me, I don't know.
MXlarge: How are you doing with your driving license?
Roczen: Yes, it's going good, I did some hours already and in two weeks I have the second test and then another test, so it's okay. If I can get that I don't have to ask my parents anymore to take me to places.
MXlarge: But it's just a motorcycle license or not?
Roczen: Yes, to get a car license you have to be 17, but then you have to drive with somebody who is over 25 or something like that, somebody who hasn't lost any points.
MXlarge: What do you do for fun?
Roczen: On the weekends I go out with my friends, do something, or go eating, or maybe have some friends around. We sit together and drink a cold Red Bull, or play football, or play on the bike or something.
MXlarge: I am seeing images of you from Fox Racing and Suzuki, really cool looking images. Do you like the photo shoots?
Roczen: I like it, but we had the Fox photo shoot one week, then the next week a Suzuki photo shoot, so it was long hours and we couldn't ride for two days, I like it, but it's a lot of work. It takes a lot of time.
MXlarge: What about Antonio Cairoli, have you been able to watch him much this year?
Roczen: Cairoli I haven't seen so much of him, we are good friends and we talked when we were both in Belgium, but then he had to go to Italy. When he is back in Belgium we would go carting or something like that. I didn't watch so many races of him.
MXlarge: Are you similar to Antonio in your outlook to racing?
Roczen: It is difficult to say, I try to be myself.
MXlarge: Last question, what do you expect from Bulgaria?
Roczen: I am going to Bulgaria to have fun, and for sure get as many points as possible, but at the beginning I don't want to risk too much. I think the results will work out for themselves.