Supercross

Ken Roczen Gives Suzuki Their First Win In Seven Years At Indianapolis Supercross

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Photo of Ken Roczen at  round nine of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Ken Roczen grabbed his fourth win inside Lucas Oil Stadium. He kept his cool, and the lead, under intense pressure on one of the season’s most challenging tracks. Photo Credit: Feld Motor Sports, Inc.  

Ken Roczen took a thrilling victory in front of the 62,728 fans who packed Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for Round 9 of the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season While Hunter Lawrence topped the podium again in the 250SX East Class.

Justin Barcia took second place after intensely pressuring for the lead in the final laps of the race. Cooper Webb finished third on an especially challenging track filled with deep, soft ruts. Webb’s finish gives him the season’s points lead and the red plate, by a single point. In Round 5 of Eastern Regional 250SX Class racing, Australian Hunter Lawrence earned his fourth win of the season.

When the gate dropped for the 450SX Class Main Event Ken Roczen crossed the Holeshot stripe first and immediately jumped into the lead. After one lap was in the books Roczen led Cooper Webb, Chase Sexton, Adam Cianciarulo, Justin Hill, Jason Anderson, and Justin Barcia. After a slow start, points leader Eli Tomac had moved up to eleventh place.

Sexton went to work on Webb for second as the top four riders slowly pulled away from the rest of the field. Less than two minutes into the 20-minute plus one lap race Sexton moved past Webb and set his sights on Roczen. The lead was down to less than one second when Sexton caught a rut on a jump and crashed. The incident gave Roczen a little breathing room on Webb. Sexton remounted back in twelfth place.

Photo of Justin Barcia at  round nine of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Justin Barcia had his best result of the season taking second place. Photo: Align Media

Seven minutes into the Main Event Barcia applied heavy pressure on Webb for second place. Barcia took the spot after the two racers came together exiting the whoops. Neither rider went down, and Webb stayed tight on Barcia while the two tried to reel in Roczen, who was over three seconds ahead.

As the race clock reached three minutes remaining Barcia had the lead down to just one and a half seconds and the volume of the Indianapolis crowd was intense. Barcia got right on the rear fender of the Suzuki, dropping the gap to .7 seconds as the two racers took the white flag. Roczen held his composure through the final lap, earning his first win of the season.

Photo of Cooper Webb at  round nine of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Third place was enough to give Cooper Webb the championship lead by a single point. Photo: Align Media

The victory makes Roczen a four-time winner in Indy, the winningest active racer at the venue. It was Roczen’s first win since 2022, and Suzuki’s first win since 2016 – which incidentally was earned by Roczen. Barcia took a close and hard-fought second place, his best result of the season. Webb crossed the checkered flag in third, earning enough points to take the red plate and the points lead heading into Round 10 next weekend in Detroit.

Photo of Eli Tomac at  round nine of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
After a bad start championship leader going into the round Eli Tomac could only manage 8th and saw his leader’s Red Plate go to Cooper Webb.

Justin Barcia was satisfied with his best result of the season.

“Great practice, P4, which was awesome. In the heat race, I charged hard and got the win which was even more awesome. In the main event, I didn’t get a great start, but I charged through the pack and came up to second. It was just some great riding, and the crew did a great job today…the bike was on point. A podium was awesome, and we are looking forward to Detroit,” Barcia said.

Cooper Webb was happy to have finished with the important third-place result, claiming the championship points lead in the process.

“To come away from Indy with the red plate is a great accomplishment,” Webb said. “It’s still tight, but it was a great night for the points battle. Looking at my actual race, I’m a bit disappointed, as even though I was in the mix, we didn’t execute to race for the win. It’s a long season and tonight was about finding that balance between risk and reward because the track was so brutal. I lost a bit of pace at the end, but we’ll take this result and move on to the next round with the red plate.”

Photo of Hunter Lawrence at  round nine of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Hunter Lawrence (96) took his fourth win of the season in the 250SX East Class.

When the gate dropped for the Eastern Regional 250SX Class Hunter Lawrence took the lead with a Holeshot over Jordon Smith, Chris Blose, Marshal Weltin, and Jeremy Martin. Nate Thrasher moved up to fourth early in the opening lap and reached third position before the lap was over. On lap two Thrasher put his Yamaha into second place and the crowd was primed to see an intense battle. The two riders collided the weekend before and Thrasher held some extra motivation to catch and pass the Honda rider.

Martin was the rider on the move early; after losing several spots on the opening laps he charged into fourth place just before the race’s midpoint. He was the fastest rider on the track on that lap but was still about eight seconds back from the third place spot held by Smith. With just under seven minutes left on the race clock Lawrence had a scary moment when he came together with a lapped rider. Hunter’s right hand came off the handlebar but he stayed up and seemed to be no worse for the wear. As the clock wined down Haiden Deegan crashed in the whoops, giving up his fifth place spot.

When the flames lit at the finish Lawrence pulled in his fourth win of the season and stretched his points lead to 22. Thrasher earned second place points without ever getting into striking distance of the lead. Thrasher’s teammate Smith took third place and Martin crossed the line in fourth.

In a touching gesture, Larence dedicated his win to fellow Queenslander Brayden Erbacher who lost his life last week in an accident at the Australian Motocross Titles.

Photo of Nate Thrasher at  round nine of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Second place in the 250 East class has seen Nate Thrasher close up on third place in the championship.

This week the series takes a short hop north to Detroit, Michigan for Round 10 at Ford Field on Saturday, March 18th. The domed stadium is sure to provide more great racing as the athletes pass the midpoint of the 17-round Monster Energy AMA Supercross season.

Photo of Jordon Smith at round nine of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship
Jordon Smith made it a Yamaha 2-3 on the 250 podium.

450SX Class Results
1 Ken Roczen, Mattstedt, Ger., Suzuki
2 Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS
3 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM
4 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM
5 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki
6 Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki
7 Christian Craig, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna
8 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha
9 Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., KTM
10 Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda

450SX Class Championship Standings
1 Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (202 Points)
2 Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (201 Points)
3 Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda (189 Points)
4 Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (166 Points)
5 Ken Roczen, Mattstedt, Ger., Suzuki (164 Points)
6 Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (155 Points)
7 Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (154 Points)
8 Christian Craig, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna (119 Points)
9 Dean Wilson, Menifee, Calif., Honda (93 Points)
10 Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki (92 Points)

Eastern Regional 250SX Class Results
1 Hunter Lawrence, Landsborough, Aus., Honda
2 Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha
3 Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Yamaha
4 Jeremy Martin, Rochester, Minn., Yamaha
5 Max Anstie, Newbury, Eng., Honda
6 Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Kawasaki
7 Haiden Deegan, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha
8 Tom Vialle, Avignon, France, KTM
9 Cullin Park, Clermont, Fla., Honda
10 Coty Schock, Dover, Del., Honda

Eastern Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
1 Hunter Lawrence, Landsborough, Aus., Honda (125 Points)
2 Max Anstie, Newbury, Eng., Honda (103 Points)
3 Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (93 Points)
4 Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Yamaha (92 Points)
5 Haiden Deegan, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (90 Points)
6 Jeremy Martin, Rochester, Minn., Yamaha (90 Points)
7 Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Kawasaki (70 Points)
8 Tom Vialle, Avignon, France, KTM (68 Points)
9 Chance Hymas, Pocatello, Idaho, Honda (60 Points)
10 Coty Schock, Dover, Del., Honda (57 Points)

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