Photos and Words by Mike Emery | @emeryphoto
Josh Hansen is easily one of the most talented riders of his generation, and his switch to Honda this week piqued our interest. We met up at Fox Raceway to spin some laps and talk about how it all came about, and learned he’ll be on board with the iconic brand as an influencer with plenty of fun projects in the works. Hanny always looks good on the bike, and the new CRF450R is no different. Read on to hear more from Josh, and learn about some of his plans moving forward.
You have some new wheels, man. Talk about the switch to Honda.
Yeah, so I recently connected with the people over at Honda and we came up with a pretty cool deal to bring me on as an influencer for the brand. They gave me the bike earlier this week, and they're going to be supporting me in basically everything I have going on. As an influencer, I may be helping them out at intros, help out with commercial stuff, and they're also down to support me if I jump in some races too. I may do some overseas Supercross races or even jump in a few races here too. I'd also like to do more video projects and hope to get back into X Games as well. Basically the partnership allows me to keep doing what I love and work with a brand that supports that.
It sounds like you'll be able to just have fun, ride at the level you want to, and represent Honda in the process.
Yeah, and I want to just keep riding and keep it going, and do cool stuff with them. They're willing to do some cool projects with me and it's kind of a blessing in disguise because I didn't really know what was going to happen after my Suzuki contract was up. I got this unique opportunity and heard how much they really wanted to do and how much they were behind it was definitely a company I wanted to be with. Plus my dad has won for them and that was the bike he left off on, so it would be really cool to do the same thing.
The new CRF450R is a solid package. I know your opinion may be biased, but what was it like going from the Suzuki to the Honda?
Honestly I truly liked the Suzuki, and there are a lot of good things about it. I got on this Honda, and this thing is amazing too –they're definitely two different bikes but they have a lot of different positive points about each one. I think these days there are a lot of good motorcycles to choose from, for sure. Getting this opportunity to ride a Honda and seeing their development, having never been able to throw a leg over one until now, it's just crazy to see what they have brought to the table and how good the bike has become. It's easy for me to see why Roczen likes his bike as much as he does. They've done a great job.
Even at your level, a stock motorcycle is pretty damn impressive these days isn't it?
100% –I think the bikes these days most people can just go out and race them, where as before and even back in the two-stroke days that was a little harder. It's really neat that if you want a bike now that is all done up you can go out and buy a Works Edition Honda and that's rad. Those bikes are so sick, right off the bat, and it's pretty amazing what these manufacturers have done.
So you've got two days on it, just cruising right now? Are people surprised?
Yeah, I'm just kind of riding around and getting comfy on it. I think the support from Honda may come as a surprise for some people. But I think about my life and having a kid now, and what kind of influence I want to be to other kids too. I think that working with Honda is a great road to go down for the future with what I want to bring to the table. Maybe before I may have been a little too loose [laughs], but I really want to do good for other people and have my kid grow up in a positive environment too so I think this is a hole in one.
All of the bench racing talk and past racing talk aside, you are just a guy that likes to ride and get out to the track right?
I ride dirt bikes. That's just what I do. I want to ride, and I still can go good, but I just don't always choose to go race. If I go race, I will go out there and try and win, but just being out here on a day like today is the coolest thing to me. Having my daughter and riding my dirt bike are the two highs of my life and it's a beautiful thing to be able to do. It's just cool, I have my dad who's done it and he's taught me how to do it, so to keep riding and have the love for the sport is what it's all about to me.
Final question –Is this bike capable of going upside down in X Games best whip?
If they let me in, this bike can definitely go upside down. I just want to be a part of it again, and I'm interested in every event they have for dirt bikes.
It sounds like next year could be a fun one for Josh Hansen.
Yeah! I want to do some racing, I want to do a lot of riding, I wouldn't mind doing some testing, I want to do X Games again, and just lots of fun on my dirt bike.