Chad Reed has had a turbulent start to the season, but there were more positive signs in Oakland on Saturday night. Although the end result at the fourth round of 2019 Monster Energy Supercross was not what he wanted, he had the potential to achieve so much more and may be edging closer to the top five. Did Reed feel just as positive on Saturday night? '22' made his feelings quite clear in this exclusive MX Vice interview.
MX Vice: Positive night. The result may not show what you want it to, but it was definitely positive.
Chad Reed: Yeah. Basically, I would agree with what you said. It was a positive night. Paper doesn't show where I probably could have been. The heat race was pretty solid, fourth. Starts, honestly. It is really starts. My starts have been so awesome on my Suzuki and then for some reason… I feel like I know that I need a good start and I know that if I put myself in a good place that good things will happen. I'm anxious. I'm maybe trying a little bit too much.
I need to maybe calm myself a little bit there, but at least I had a good start in the heat and then [it was] not great in the main. The last couple weeks it's been bad heat and bad main. Then my riding was good tonight, but [Aaron] Plessinger crashed and obviously I had nowhere to go. I couldn't see him and just landed on his bike.
I feel like there was progress with the starts tonight. Maybe I'm just clinging to the heat race too much. Do you feel like you actually learned something or was it just pot luck?
I see on the data what I'm doing wrong and I'm trying to correct it. Starts are weird. I think, for me at least, my opinion and what works for me is you cannot think about it. You cannot be sitting there thinking about what you got to do. It has to be natural. You have to let it naturally come. I know what I am doing wrong. I see it on the data and things like that.
I was better at it tonight, but still… I haven't seen my main event data, actually. The main event wasn't so much my start. I flinched a little bit. They held it really long, actually. For some reason I was like, "Okay, let's go." Again, just maybe being a little bit too anxious. I need to calm myself a little bit there to get a better start.
It's not one of those things where, say, at Monster Cup you had your bike set-up perfect for the start and then as you tried to correct things on other parts of the track, it hurts you on the start? It is not one of those things where you are trying to find the perfect balance, is it?
Good question. I do not think we have done anything drastic since Monster Cup to the bike that would really affect that area of the bike, but fair question. I lean towards no. I shouldn't say you make me think about it, but thinking about what you asked… I don't think the things that we have changed, it's not like we have drastically changed bike length or linkage or anything like that. I think that really it's just a matter of me being not so anxious.
Starts aside and all that, I am encouraged by your night. I'm guessing you are too? You are going back to the drawing board a bit of like, "This is going to happen?" All the pieces need to fall into place, but it is going to happen.
I think it falls into place at some point. I really do. Look at a year ago. It was such a struggle. It was kind of like just getting to the main events was hard. Where tonight I felt like I was in a position to go forward. I was going forward. At one point I was trying to pass [Blake] Baggett and then he gets to third. I think everything is there. I just need to fire it all off, just like these guys are. I really think that when you look at the series as a whole, there is a lot of up and down. Everybody is kind of a little bit here, there and everywhere.
Cooper [Webb] is the first one to put back-to-back weekends together. I think I just need to continue. Get that start back. Continue to put myself in good positions. I think it is all there. I really do. I think my riding is not far off. Probably the most frustrating thing about my riding right now is my single lap speed. My qualifying times are so bad. I do not know that I would say it is frustrating or bothering me, but it is getting frustrating. I don't like seeing myself in fifteenth. I know that when we drop the gates I am okay, so I need to continue to maybe put a little bit more effort into that part of it so that the night and the day starts a little bit more at the pointy end of the group.
My final question was going to be is there anything else that you want to work on other than starts, but I guess it is just intensity then?
Yeah. I wouldn't say intensity. I think the intensity seems to be okay. When I got a start in the heat or in Phoenix a couple weeks ago… I didn't get a great start but I came from, like, ninth to second and literally passed everybody that was on the podium that night: Kenny [Roczen], [Jason] Anderson and [Blake] Baggett. Like I said, I really believe that the tools are there. I just need to execute 20 minutes plus one lap. It’s the same old same.
Winning these races and being competitive in these supercross races, it hasn’t changed since I was here in 2002. I wouldn’t say I need to go back to the basics, because I don’t think I’m that far off, but I just need to trust that you have got to put yourself in the right place. Starts are so important, because clear track… But when I say that, Baggett came from eighth or whatever it was tonight and then got up to third. I was ninth in the heat race in Phoenix and got to second. You seemingly just need to fire off consistent laps and you can make it work.
You used Baggett as an example. He was fifteenth last week, so that just shows that you just need it to all fall into place on one night. Maybe it wasn't like that when it was you, Ricky [Carmichael] and James [Stewart]. You were all a step above, but no one has really got that at the moment.
Yeah. I have my personal opinion on that but I’ll keep it to myself, I guess. I think, honestly, it is really just about putting yourself in the right places at the right time and taking advantage of it. I feel that tonight was like a frustrating night. I crashed and I still finished ninth. I'm still in the top ten and it's not a terrible night.
Compare that to your ninth at A1 and you'll take it.
Yeah. My ninth at A1… I came from a long way back and kind of got ninth. It was like a lonely ninth, whereas tonight I was in behind Baggett, [Justin] Barcia, Eli [Tomac] and kind of had a pretty good rhythm going where I felt racy. I felt patient. It was unfortunate that I didn't have x-ray vision through the jump and I landed on that damn seven. The seven is still haunting me.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX