For being just 17, Jett Lawrence has a lot of weight on his shoulders. A rising star—on and off the track—the young Australian is expected to win—maybe not from his team, but certainly from fans. No one can attest to this more than his Honda HRC teammate, Ken Roczen.
Roczen, like Lawrence, came to the U.S. at a young age. He too was a huge star—on and off the track. He too had a lot of expectations. Ken, now 26, is able to serve more of a mentor role to his young teammate.
Following Indy 2, where Lawrence had a rough night with two big crashes (one in qualifying, one in his heat) and an eventual DNS, Roczen was asked in the post-race press conference if he had any advice for his teammate.
“I try to help out where I can,” he said. “You never want to see your teammate go down a couple of times like that. I told him after the heat race, when he went down and was obviously in pain, but I told him, ‘Man the F up, you can still turn this night around, we have all been there, we have all had rough nights.’ He can go out there and really turn it around, even in pain, we have seen it happen multiple times. But at the same time, it has to be in a safe manner. He went out for the LCQ and made it through, he ended up deciding not to race, I know his collarbone or shoulder was hurting. I just try support him in a way that you can still turn this whole thing around even though you are down right now.
“I just want to keep his spirits up,” continued Roczen. “It seemed like he was pretty down and disappointed and obviously in pain, but I try to help where I can and, sometimes, you need a little bit of a kick in the ass and that’s what I try and be there for him. He’s young and he needs to settle down every now and then, when you are second in qualifying you don’t need to go out there and absolutely send it into the whoops and things like that happen. It’s just unnecessary but at the same time, I’ve been there. I’ve ridden hard when you first come into this thing and you always want more but at the end he decided not to race, and I am proud of him for that. It takes some balls to pull it out of there and I think it’s good for him. He has a long racing career and a lot of racing ahead, so I think it’s better for him to recover for Saturday and try again, be little bit calmer, more focused and less crashing.”
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