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Aldon Baker - Villopoto's Injury, Joker Lanes, and Ken Roczen

by Racer X Virtual Trainer


Racer X VT: Hey Aldon, thanks for taking my call tonight. I know you just returned from Vegas and the MEC so let's start out there with the obvious. How is Ryan?
Aldon Baker: Thank God he is okay. He is sore and bruised and his side where he made impact is a little sore. We were a little bit concerned about his wrist but that has been checked out and everything seems fine there. We had another x-ray done to recheck and it all looks clear. He also took a bit of a ding to his head and with that we will do the ImPACT test and go through the normal concussion protocol and then he should be good to go.

Do think he was knocked uncurious?
He for sure took a little nap. RV said he was also winded. At minimum he rung his bell pretty good for sure, but does remember everything that happened.

Did he go through the entire concussion protocol with Eddie Casillas and the Asterisk Mobile Medic Unit?
Yes he did for sure and the ImPACT test is scheduled for this week. All three doctors saw him immediately after the crash and analyzed him the best they could. He had to hang around the mobile unit for at least 45-minutes to be monitored. So they evaluated him at the track and then yesterday I had to touch base with them and give them a status update and then setup the test for later this week. But I think we dodged a bullet for sure.

Man, it seems like the MEC is either really good to you all or really bad.
Yea, for sure. It's definitely a different kind of race with the format and the Joker Lane and all that. It was also really difficult for the riders to see the mechanics area when they were racing. The lighting was not that good in that area of the track and where the mechanics were placed it was difficult for the rider to take his eye off the track and look over to see the pit board. I even asked when Dungey missed the Joker Lane if his mechanic had it on the pit board and he did but Dungey obviously didn't see it. It's a tough deal when you are so focused on the racing, there are no whoops, and it's only 10 laps. That too is what makes that race good. The start is also different from regular supercross. You don't have a choice and you have to line up on both sides of that gate. If you line on the left gate for moto 1 you have to line up on the right gate for the next moto. So that makes it more difficult if you end up not liking one side verse the other.

There is a lot of speculation and the internet is full of bench racing experts and people cannot understand how he missed the Joker Lane especially after he watched Dungey do the same thing earlier. I’ll admit, for me it is hard to believe that with the white flag waving and Joker Lane written all over the pit board that he missed it. Can you explain?
Well, and I can certainly understand how people are confused but in the heat of the race you are so focused and like I said the mechanics area was hard to see that he just missed it. He was planning to take the joker lane after James took it. And he told me he honestly did not see the white flag. So he thought James was going in one lap early and not on the last lap. And then RV figured too that since he was going backwards and forwards with James that taking the joker lane at different times would be good to get some separation for a lap until they came together again at the end of the joker lane. James went in and RV decided to take it a lap later. But it was the last lap.

So does it happen very often that a pro rider misses the white flag or was this something specific to this event?
Well, it happens but I think in this case it was such a different event and the racing with James was so close that he just missed it. What can you say, RV just missed it and the pit board was in a difficult location that it just happened. And Joker was written on both pit boards since they both had to take the lane. But he just didn't see it. And it's not like he didn't know he had to take it since he just watched RD miss it the race earlier.

I think some people think that he just over shot the Joker entry.
Yea, well if he would have done that, he had enough time he could have stopped, turned around, and went through it instead of continuing on. But he probably would have just stopped had he missed it knowing that he had just given up the chance of winning. But that was my initial thought when watching him that, Oh my Gosh he forgot the joker and then suddenly remember he forgot the joker and that’s what put him off and caused the crash. But that was not the case. He planned on having one more lap to go and he just made a mistake and crashed.

Where you or Ryan surprised with James' speed and his ability to make passes on RV after Ryan passed him.?
No, we are never surprised with James' speed. If you look at his record in Supercross his practices are always near the top. It's always between #2 and #7 as to who has the fastest lap times and this race was no different. And Ryan expected to be racing James for the win and expected more intensity than a normal race, since these are 10-lap shootouts. And without whoops to separate the riders the racing is even closer.

Aldon's riders like to push each other on and off the track. I see a fitness challenge in these boy's future!

Ok, let's shift gears a little bit and talk about the controversy of the week: you training Kenny Roczen. What happened to Jake Weimer, how did the KROC thing come about, is RV still your #1 guy, and how does Kenny fit into the program?
Well, first of all I am still with Ryan and will be for the rest of his career. He is my number one guy. When Jake left a position opened up and Kenny came and talked to me about it. Jake felt that he wanted to go in a different direction with regards to not having to stay down here in Florida. It is tough to stay here in Florida when you don’t have a place of your own. There are a lot of logistics to handle and that gets tough. The majority of my training is done here in Florida so I require my guys to be here when they can. Jake's main residence is in California so he was just renting down here and we use Ryan's tracks. So all the riders have to be aligned with Ryan's program. I think there are a lot of areas where that is beneficial and some areas where it's not good for some riders. But with Jake, he decided he wanted to move back to California and get more of the focus on himself and be closer to the team and work more on his confidence level on areas that he feels he needs work. My relationship with Jake is good and he will always be one of my guys in my mind. We still have a great friendship and he just decided to go in a different direction. So that opened up a spot for another rider. Finding a rider to fill the spot was not a problem but we needed to find a rider who would fit in well with the overall program here in Florida. Kenny is a great guy as everyone knows and we think he will fit in with what we are doing. Kenny approached me and I spoke with Ryan about it and RV has always liked Kenny and has a lot of respect for him. Kenny was also looking to get away from California for a bit and come to Florida. He knows he has to step up to the 450 and knows that he has to put in some work to adapt to that big step. The other thing is that at this point in RV's career he is not so much motivated by winning races and championships. He has done all of that. At this point in his career he needs a little something extra on practice days to keep that fire burning and riding with someone like Kenny can do that. He needs to ride with guys of similar abilities to push that extra bit to keep improving. Out of the choices that were out there, Kenny fit that the best. It was quite a process to make it all come together and was a calculated decision. But in the end we think it will be good for everyone involved. Kenny is looking for that next progression and I think I can help him move up to that next level. And then of course I still have Adam on the 250s so my stable of riders at the track is really good. I don't think I will have any problem with motivation at the track.

Is Tyla Rattray still with you?
Yes for sure, but Tyla is going to Europe so his whole program will be changing. Plus he will be outdoor only. He will be doing as much as he can here and I'll oversee his program. Obviously there will be periods when he is in Europe so it'll be more of a logistics problem than anything else. But the cool thing with Tyla is I have so much data on him that it will not be difficult for me to balance out his training ratios while he is in Europe.

I think it will be interesting if Kenny starts pushing RV to the point where he is beating him. That'll make for some interesting days around the compound!
Well, for sure but racing is racing and Ryan knows that. So much goes into the preparation for racing and there are so many variables. Ryan is mature enough to understand that and if that happens we will have to deal with it. And possibly ride on different days (laughs). But seriously we have given it a lot of thought and honestly I want Ryan to go out just like Ricky did. I want him to accomplish everything he can and leave nothing behind. That dream ending where you did everything right and you ended it well. That's the magic dream. I'd like to duplicate that again with Ryan but at the same time I want to see Kenny make that climb up the ladder quickly and the right way.

Kenny has used his dad to train in the past. How will that work out now that you are handling the training?
Well, we all sat down in the beginning and talked about how we are going to handle things. We don't have everything figured out just yet and we talked more about the logistics of how things will work. But I think a lot of it is coming from Kenny where he feels his dad has done phenomenal at getting him where he is but now he feels he needs to get a little more specific and calculated to get to that next level. I admire Kenny for seeing that and deciding he needed to do more than just train in general. Most of the time I get guys coming to me after they have made the mistakes and see that they need something more structured. Kenny is being proactive and I admire that. I mean it's not like he and his dad have done bad to this point. They have done great but moving up to the 450, I think Kenny sees the need to be more calculated in his training. I always encourage input and involvement from the parents. Hopefully when Kenny's dad returns from Europe he will come down here and see the program and how structured it is and fully accept it. Sometime it's tough for the parents to let go a little and I understand that. I mean, it's his child and I completely understand that. But I hope his dad sees what I am doing and likes it for Kenny. At this point I don’t see why his dad would not support what Kenny is trying to achieve.

Photo -

I don't know if you saw on VitalMX or not, but there is a thread about heart rate monitors. Apparently one of the photogs with his high def. camera was able to zoom in on Kenny's watch and view his heart rate. He was running a 190 at the time and of course all the experts came out of the woodwork to make a comment on that number. Can you talk a little about what you do with that data and how it relates to a rider's training?
Well, for me it is an element of my training program that allows me to develop what I call a ratio for each rider. Every rider’s ratios are different and over the years I have worked out this ratio to work for each rider individually. Heart rate is one part of the equation. So what I am doing with Kenny is collecting data from racing, from riding, from cycling, which I will utilize to form the ratio that is specific to him. Heart rate numbers are very individual and it's not about how high you can get that number. But that is a pretty normal heart rate for these guys especially at a race where you have things like adrenaline and mental stress. Typically during practice a rider's heart rate is a little lower than race day. So heart rate isn't the only thing I look at with the rider. The other thing I use heart rate data for is recovery. I want to look at and monitor how quickly a guy's heart rate returns to normal. This is an indication of his overall conditioning. The other thing people need to understand is that each sport will produce a different heart rate. Just because a guy can run a 190 heart rate while on the motorcycle doesn't mean he can run a 190 heart rate on the bicycle for 40-minutes. Not that either is particularly harder than the other they are just different. So sometimes a guy will look at what his heart rate is on the motorcycle and then want to run that same heart rate while cycling and he just cannot do it. Riding a motorcycle requires the use of a lot more muscles and because of this you can get a higher heart rate. Most of the time in cycling a guys legs will burn and give out before his heart has a chance to get to that higher number. So it's all relative to the particular sport. And heart rate is not always a good way to tell if a guy is working hard. The amount of work an athlete is doing is what is important. But we can't measure the amount of work a rider does on a motorcycle so we have to rely on heart rates. So I take that data and a bunch of other parameters and use it all to develop protocols for each of my guys.

Well as always, Aldon thank you for taking the time to chat with me.
Yea for sure. No problem Mate.

That's it for now, until next time, good luck with your training and remember, if you have a question, log on to the Virtual Trainer Expert Forum and have your question answered by a panel of experts. In addition, be sure and check out the Racer X Virtual Trainer archive section. Your complete one-stop information zone for motocross fitness. VT Signature

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  1. Gravatar
    ktompkins44 October 25, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I guess it's just a coincidence that RV's crash had nothing to do with missing the Joker Lane. I think Aldon is sticking up for his rider here but I think RV was so focused on beating James that he forgot to take it.

    I do think that this situation should cause Monster to make the entrance more obvious to the riders and make it wider in case two riders are battling for the win and trying to make a pass.

  2. Gravatar
    Josh October 25, 2013 at 12:02 pm

    Stewart had a gap on Villo while they approached the white flag. There was no way Stewart's bike was blocking RV from seeing the flag as he claims. Not sure why he would say that.

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    localexpert October 25, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Josh, he never said that Stewarts bike blocked him from seeing the flag. AB clearly said RV just plain missed it.

  4. Gravatar
    VISTAJIM October 25, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    Aldon is one smart man. He has this down to a science, litteraly

  5. Gravatar
    Liam October 25, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    I have not noticed a white flag multiple times, so I'm sure he's not making excuses.

  6. Gravatar
    Tony October 25, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Even the best of the best can lose focus with an intense battle like that or after: is there any chance that when Villo missed the Joker lane that maybe the crowd reacted and that was enough to make him lose attention for a sec.? They used to say how soccer is the most demanding sport physically and mx is #2...can we now confirm from the best trainer in the world that the best sport in the world mx/sx is the most physically and mentally demanding?

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    Tony 2 October 25, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    I just watched Southwick and I was blown away with the pace and lines Villopoto took. As far as heart-rate do you want to try to save energy and hit the smooth lines to conserve like Emig says? Some riders make it look so easy it's hard to believe they are up past 150 bpm and not winded after. Would a McGrath, Carmichael, or Emig tame their beast and allow them to up the tempo even more?

  8. Gravatar
    Casey Pons October 27, 2013 at 7:46 am

    As always Racer X-VT comes through with some information that I have been anxiously wondering about for a week now. That being an in-depth report on RV's condition, and a breakdown of what (in detail) happened. So glad to hear the positive notes on wrist, hip, leg, head and the rest. Especially after all the controversy with RV taking the time off from the MXdN for surgery, so as to be ready for A-1 in a few short weeks.
    Bullets Dodged!!!
    With that said, I had no idea Aldon Baker and Ken Roczen were partnering up. I must have been sleeping to miss that one. I have always thought to myself what discipline like Aldon could offer to Kenny, would do for his maturation process now he is in the "Big Show." Personally, I think that couldn't be a better fit for both parties. Aldon needs the determination from someone as talented as Ken Roczen, and Kenny needs Aldon's expertise. What a pairing! Good luck you two!
    Thanks Racer X-VT, once again for the great interview.

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  10. Gravatar
    the yank November 22, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    screw that euro roczen. i've never been a stewart fan, but i much rather see james (or any other american rider) win before that heinie. i will always pull for my country's riders, that's for sure. hannah had it right though...he hated all riders, especially, them stinkin' euros. that's a real racer's attitude. go usa!

  11. Gravatar
    Tycast December 22, 2013 at 11:57 pm


    I'm extremly open minded but what you said is just stupid I'm no KTM guy but think he's a euro rider and for him to compete for sx titles is crazy. Also his dad was his trainer not a pro trainer a father you don't like him because he's different. Just accept the fact that they want these chances while we blow them off like its no big deal. Just ask yourself do you want a title more than the next guy.


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