A1 - Rider Comments

Posted on January 10, 2022

There is no doubt, while Ken Roczen won the opening round of the AMA supercross championship, something we all know is possible, the guy who finished second must be licking his lips. Defending champion Cooper Webb came through the pack and looked very confident and knowing how easy it is for him to get into the German’s head, you just know within a few rounds the gloves will be off and these two will be throwing punches. Not literally of course, but in boxing terms, this championship fight will come down to who is tougher mentally and we already know who that is.

There is no doubt Roczen is good enough to win himself an AMA supercross championship, quality of rider there are not many better, but due to his past, injuries and mental damage from those injuries, you wonder how he will deal with pressure as he starts to reach what should be his prime. A year older, a year wiser, but defeat in the way it happened in 2021, there must be some serious mental damage. 

The former MX2 World champion talks a good game, but as we saw last year, the pressure of battling somebody as tough as Webb might be too much. You just know that the defending champion’s mouth is watering at the chance to get another crack at the former AMA and FIM motocross champion.

More rider comments to come throughout the day and tonight.

Ken Roczen: I really don’t know what to say. Our December had been horrendous. The team and I did everything we could to get better for this race. I didn’t expect a win at all coming here. We’re really focused on our starts and everything went right, I’m really thankful for that. Towards the end I just wanted to keep it on two wheels, I haven’t often had a gap like that.

Cooper Webb: “It was a dog fight tonight! Fun race, but a really tough race. The track got super rough and a lot of us got out front just duking it out. I felt like I fought hard the whole time, made some good passes and got myself in a really good position. I kind of struggled a little bit with the track so I was pumped to come out with a second – great points and it's the best I've ever done at the opener so we're looking to keep the ball rolling. It's great to be back in Anaheim and it's fun to be back racing!"

Justin Barcia: "That was an awesome race! I had a lot of fun and we had some great battles out there. The pressure is off now and I can work on myself, keep plugging along and having fun. It’s been a great offseason and it’s just good to get this first race out of the way. I’m happy with the result, it’s a good podium finish, and we definitely have some things to build on. I’m really looking forward to the next race, bonding with the guys, having fun and going for it!”

Marvin Musquin: “I’m happy right now. It was a long and tough day, with quite a fight for the Main Event. I did my best with outside gate pick and I made some good passes, so I was pumped on the riding and the intensity early on. I made a couple mistakes and I lost contact with Cooper, and then Malcolm passed me. I tried to pass him to the inside but unfortunately, he railed the corner and we hit each other – he didn’t know I was coming – and we both went down. I got up and came back to fourth place, that was amazing. I’m pumped on the push and with the results, to be honest, with all the drama that happened during the main.”

Aaron Plessinger: “It was a pretty rough day for me actually. I started out in Free Practice going down and then I went down in the first qualifying practice as well. I turned it around and ran some decent laps in the second qualifier but it wasn’t a very great position. I got a decent start in the heat race and ran in fourth pretty much the whole time. In the main, I didn't get a good start at all and I was back of the pack battling. About halfway through, I turned it up a little bit and made some passes up to ninth. Overall, I’m pumped to get through the first round healthy and we'll back at it in Oakland!"

Michael Mosiman: “Anaheim I is in the books and boy was it a crazy one! I had so much fun throughout the day, honestly more fun than I’ve ever had at a SX. I felt super confident on the bike and everything was clicking, just riding well within my abilities. It’s unfortunate how the main started out and once I was back in the pack, it’s pretty hectic back there, but I’m proud of how I rode and I’m leaving with a ton of positives. I think I’m very much in it for the championship and very healthy and couldn’t ask for anything more.”

Malcolm Stewart: "I think this was actually one of the better season openers for me since I started in the 450 class. Going into the weekend, I wanted to execute a few things like having a good heat race, and I was able to do that. P1 for a qualifying, I've never done that before, so I feel like that was a big achievement for me and even though we went down in the Main Event, it was actually a good ride performance-wise but you know, the results weren't there. It was a good start but I definitely feel there are a few things that we need to work on but overall, I'm happy to leave here on a good note and looking forward to Oakland and to keep driving – we’ve got 16 more races to go!

Chase Sexton: I kinda feel like an idiot for making those mistakes, it was a tough one. The first crash kind of caught me off guard, and the second one was pretty much me just riding off emotion. Unfortunate for me but I showed a lot of fight in that one. I didn’t give up, Marvin and I had a good few battles there, he ended up getting me at the end. That was frustrating because it’s not the first time I was the fastest but I didn’t get the win.

Dean Wilson: My night was a struggle for sure, which is frustrating because I've had a really good off season. In the Main, I was pretty far outside on the gate and I came through and made some good passes. I was hovering around top-10 and then got passed and ended up 12th. It wasn't great but I believe we'll just get better from here on out.

Eli Tomac: “It was a little bit of a slower start than what we wanted this season. It really came down to two things tonight: the starts and I was struggling a little bit with the whoops. It was a tough track; probably one of the toughest A1’s that we’ve had in quite some time. On a positive note, I had really good qualifying sessions all day, so I know I can be fast and be there. I just have to put it all together. It’s always easier said than done, but it’s possible. We’re going to try and fix the little things and come back next week.”

Dylan Ferrandis: “Anaheim I is always a little crazy. I was actually feeling pretty good all day; it was my starts that hurt me. In the main event, I got a really bad start, but I moved my way up. I was feeling pretty good, pretty strong, and was coming back to the top five. Then I had an issue and tried to come back but made a mistake and crashed. So it was not a really good night, but I know now that I’m capable of riding out front in the 450 class. We’re going to regroup and be ready for next weekend.”

Jason Anderson: “I definitely think today could have gone better. My speed was right there with the top guys, and I felt like my KX450SR was handling so well. In the main, I spent a few laps planning my pass for second and did the best I could to make a clean move and ride away. Unfortunately, I can’t control how other riders respond, but that’s racing. It was a tough one, but we live to fight another day. Time to switch gears and focus on Oakland.”

Adam Cianciarulo: “It was a challenging day for us. Obviously, coming in with a grade three AC shoulder separation isn’t ideal but I did the best I could all day. I can honestly say I exceeded my expectations by a lot. I wasn’t sure if I’d even make the full 20 minutes going into the main event, but the team and I had a quick chat before the race which helped me get into the right mindset and deliver a rather impressive result. The goal is to keep getting healthier each week and start fighting for wins as soon as possible.”

Christian Craig: “I don’t think anything can top last year’s win in Houston, but I would say this is just as good. Having all the fans back and having my family here, and winning at a hometown race is a dream come true. I’ve been coming here since I was three years old, so this means everything to me. It was an awesome Main Event, and I felt awesome all day. I didn’t get the best of starts, but I made my way through the pack and made clean passes. Once I got up front, I just clicked off my laps and rode a smart race. We’re going to try and keep this thing going into the next round in Oakland.”

Seth Hammaker: “We had a pretty good day all around and a good start to the season. Qualifying sessions went well. I ended up with the fourth-fastest lap time in my class and finished second in my heat race. I got out to a second-place start in the main event and tried to make my way to the front but ended up dropping down a spot for a moment before taking the position back. I rode comfortably in second for a while but started to feel some pressure from behind late in the race, which made for an exciting ending. I still have some small things to clean up before next weekend but I’m happy with the ride and how my KX250 performed tonight.”

Hunter Lawrence: It was maybe five laps to go, I saw them, I kept pushing, kept charging, I hope it was fun to watch. I got a bad start, about seven guys hit the gate so it flinched. I wanted to get the pass there but I was still trying to keep it a little but civilized. I’m bummed because I could have won. It sucks, really.

Nate Thrasher: “It was a tough night, but I felt like I was riding well. Somebody hit the gate, and it moved, so I went and hit it too. Then I was working my way up through the field and was going for another pass, but the guy got cross-rutted, and I ended up going down. After that, I tried to push my way back but just didn’t have anything left. So, it was kind of a bummer because I felt like I was riding well and could have made it to the top five. It was just a tough night, but we’ve got the speed, so I’m going to come back next weekend and put it on the box.”

Jo Shimoda: “That was a crazy race tonight! I was caught behind the gate after the person next to me flinched and had to battle my way through the pack. A small mistake in the whoops midway through set me back again but I pushed all race to finish in seventh. Not exactly how I wanted the night to go but we still have a lot of racing left this season to make up those points. I know I have the speed to win. I just need to work on some things, and we’ll be ready for Oakland next weekend. Thank you to the entire Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team for the help today.”