At 28-years-old, Broc Tickle has more resources at his disposal than at any other time throughout his career. The new Red Bull KTM racer has been in Cleremont, Florida, for the past four weeks participating in Aldon Baker’s legendary pre-season boot camp, and when we saw him at yesterday’s 2018 team intro, he was visibly leaner in appearance. On the bike, Tickle looks comfortable and confident, and he hopes to make more gains in the next four weeks before the gate drops on the 2018 season.
You look like you're about 10 pounds down from the last time we saw you. Has the Aldon Baker program been kicking your ass?
I mean, it was tough in the beginning, but obviously, it's been good. I feel like I've made progress since I've been there so that's the ultimate goal. I've gotten stronger and faster, so everything's headed in the right direction. It's a lot of thinking about something before you just eat it and plow down food. In the past, if I was hungry I'd eat whatever. This is more thought out, you're thinking, “Is this actually going to make me feel better?" For me, the first two weeks there was tough. I had a big crash the second week, but since then it's been all in the right direction. Obviously, Marvin [Musquin] has been there - not the whole time since he's been doing other races - and then it was Zach [Osborne] and myself one week, and then a week by myself. I've also ridden with some of the Troy Lee Designs guys too. It's been good, especially because some days it's just been Aldon and myself. I think I've gotten a lot out of those days. They weren't the easiest, but all eyes were on me and I felt like right before I headed back to California that's where I was at. We ended last week on Friday the best that I have so far. We've made progress and that's feeding me motivation to get more. With that being said, I'm glad to be here for a couple days to kind of break it up. I feel good and look forward to heading back to make more progress.
How long were you in Florida up until this point?
Exactly a month pretty much. I struggled a little bit with the track and dirt because it's a sandy clay mix. I've been in California the last eight years for every offseason so for me it's been a change of climate and everything else that goes with moving across the United States to where I'm at. A month later I'm feeling pumped that I got this opportunity and that I'm in a position to make the best out of the whole scenario.
You've always been a consistent finisher and consistent performer, and now you have the best resources at your disposal. I think we're all looking for a breakthrough year for you.
Yeah, I feel like I'm in the position to do so and like you said, I've been consistent. I've never been consistently a podium or top-five guy, but I've consistently been a fifth- through 10th-place guy. Ultimately, the goal is to show up at Anaheim, be in the top five, and from there the goal for the whole year is podiums. With that said, it's not out of reach, but it's not going to be easy to do. With the resources I have and the group of guys behind me, the main thing I noticed about the atmosphere is that you can never settle during the week, and that's where I've struggled in the past. I've done the work, but maybe my motos weren't at the intensity that they needed to be. Riding with these guys, there's no such thing as just going out there and finishing your moto. You've got to put in 100-percent and that's each and every time you hit the track. I think that's what I'm going to benefit from the most. I've always worked hard and strong, but the atmosphere is super positive and I think that's another thing we can all feed off of. On the days you're struggling, that's there. You're pushing yourself that much more - or at least I am - during the week to be better and faster. Riding with Marvin right now, he's on it and confident and riding really good, so I feel like I know where I should be and what I'm going after.
Did you spend any time on the '17 model or did you jump straight onto the '18?
I rode the '17 for a little while, not too much. Overall the whole bike and the characteristics of the KTM - both the '17 and '18 - there wasn't too much difference for me because I didn't know the '17 too well. The KTM overall is a really good motorcycle. The motor is easy to ride but fast. The suspension we've made improvements to and small changes have made a big difference. I really, really like the characteristics of this bike. Chassis-wise I think is what I notice the most. It's a really good motorcycle to have as a platform to start with.
This is the first time in your big bike career that you've been on a steel frame bike. Was it a transition for you as far as the flex and feel of that?
For sure, but I thought it was a good thing. The first day that I rode the bike was at Glen Helen and I felt good. I was excited to ride obviously because I had come off of an injury prior. Before that, the last time that I rode was when I got hurt at RedBud. That was six or seven weeks off the bike. Then to go straight to Glen Helen and feel good? That's usually not the case. Right away I felt comfortable. The cockpit area felt a little different at first, but overall, I was comfortable right away.