Adam Cianciarulo showed up at Hangtown on May 18 for the premier race of the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship and handily won the overall victory. One week later, this time at Pala Raceway in Southern California, Cianciarulo won again.
Cianciarulo has been front and center when it comes to the radical highs and lows that come from being a title-contending rider. With the third round of the title fight set to go off this Saturday on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado (set to air live on the NBC Sports Network at both 4 and 5pm ESP on Saturday), the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki spoke with us.
Q: Adam, how does it feel to have that red plate affixed to your bike for being the number one rider in the 250MX classification?
ADAM CIANCIARULO: Yeah, it feels good. I’m reluctant to get too excited about it just because we are so early in the championship, but it is definitely neat to start it off on the right foot. Like you said, I haven’t consistently been too good in the outdoors in the past, so to come out and make a statement these first couple rounds that I’m for real and ready to battle for this title… it feels good because I think a lot of people were already kind of counting me out a little bit and I’m definitely carrying a bit of a chip on my shoulder this summer for sure. I think that in the past my preparation for outdoors hasn’t been too great. Ever since my rookie year in 2013, I didn’t come in healthy. In 2015 I raced, which was coming off an injury. 2016 was the same thing. In 2017, the last year I raced, I had a torn ACL I was dealing with all year that was kind of holding me back a tad. I’m older know. I’m a veteran of the class, and I have more experience, and I think it’s all coming together for me.
Q: This weekend at Denver marks round three of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship and all is at full sail. Reasons to be optimistic?
AC: Yeah, I think that’s kind of where my mind went the week after Vegas. It’s just pressing forward and doing my best to not think about the championship, and just focus on winning races. Obviously, I know everybody is going to be gunning for me here as we get deeper into this championship. I’m just going to take it moto by moto and not worry about it too much. I’ve been having a lot of fun so far, the team has got a great attitude and everybody around me is super-stoked and having a good time, so we’re hoping to keep the good vibes rolling through the summer.
Q: What’s your take on the recent Hangtown and Pala Nationals you won?
AC: I’ve been preparing for this year ever since the off-season and coming back from my knee injury. Everything that I’ve done so far training-wise was and is to try and set myself up to be as fit and as strong as I can possible be. I know coming into outdoors I had an idea of where I was, and I thought I could certainly be competitive. I think this year going into Hangtown I certainly went in with intent to win. Same thing for Pala. Hangtown, obviously we had the weather roll in so that made it pretty dicey, but I got a couple of good starts and everything kind of clicked for me that day; everything flowed and it all went well and good.
Pala seemed like a completely different race. I had to fight like hell to come through the pack and make passes on those guys. I had a challenge with Hunter Lawrence there in the second moto. He was riding really good, and that was fun and challenging. When I got done with that one, I felt like I had fought a couple wars, as opposed to Hangtown where it all went pretty smooth. For lack of a better word, Hangtown felt easy compared to Pala. Two very different races for me.
That honestly gives me even more confidence, knowing that I could make it happen in both of those scenarios. Yeah, I love the idea of racing in Denver on Saturday. I actually got my first outdoor podium there in 2015. I’ve always enjoyed going there and going to the city. I vibe really well with that place, and just enjoy being there. I also had some success in Denver this year when I won the supercross. Hopefully we can make it two for two in Denver.
Q: NFL coach Vince Lombardi once proclaimed: “The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender.” I figured these words are very applicable to both you and your bid to be a champion.
AC: Yeah, I think that can certainly apply to me. I feel this kind of calmness right now, honestly. I felt that way at Hangtown, and I felt this way at Pala. I have this confidence in myself right now that I think I’ve sometimes lacked a little bit in the past. I feel good. I feel like I’m able to put my best foot forward and to give it everything I have. I feel strong, and feel like I’m about ready to go to the next level and ready to progress.