Webb vs Roczen - The Contenders

Posted on January 14, 2022

In my mind, while there is a lot of talk about several guys being in contention for this years AMA 450 supercross championship, I get a feeling if we don’t see either Cooper Webb or Ken Roczen injured, these two will be the only two battling for the title and win many of the main events. It wouldn't be surprised to see a large gap between these two and the others by mid-season.

Both are very experienced and won’t be making mistakes like Chase Sexton seems to make. Sexton might be the fastest guy on many occasions, but maybe he is too inexperienced to battle for the title (similar to Ricky Carmichael in 1999). Will he win a main event or two, maybe even three, yes, I think he will, but I also think he might also find himself on the floor too often to contend in the second part of the season.

I really see this year going down to two men, because outside of Webb and Roczen, there isn’t anyone else who will win on a regular basis or be on the podium week after week. Webb knows that the plan is to be close to that top spot as often as possible.

“There was a lot of chaos,” Webb said. “There were bikes going everywhere, left and right. Definitely guys rubbing, trying to get those early passes in. It was tough, it really was. You kind of want to go for it but you also kind of want to get through those first few laps, especially how we were all bunched up. Then you kind of have some guys that you know are going to fall off the back a little bit. You don’t want to lose track position, which I kind of feel like we did. Going through the rhythms you don’t know where you’re going to end up sometimes. It was definitely a little chaotic and I just tried to stay calm and know if what I’m doing is working or not. It’s definitely on who you are racing and where you try to pass. You can’t show where you want to go too soon, and you can’t wait around too long, or you’ll get left.”

Roczen knows that his experience will play a major part in his season and getting a win in round one will only make him stronger for the early part of the season and hopefully he can build a gap between himself and Webb.

“I just have a few years under my belt now,” Roczen said. “So, I’m generally not too worried come race time. Last year, for example, I came into the first-round way different, just knowing what I got. I didn’t have as crazy of a December as I did this year. Like I said, I have a few years under my belt, and I just stay relaxed. I wasn’t really too worried. At the same time, feeling a little bit like a fish out of water, but things just clicked. I’m blown away at the same time and I am just happy that it went the way it went. I felt pretty good. It was a little weird just having that big of a gap with that much riding time to go. I guess it was kind of nice how rough the track was.”

“There was a lot of stuff going on back there and I was glad I wasn’t in that. I didn’t have it easy the whole way. Chase (Sexton) was definitely pushing me and trying to get me, so I had to ride defensively a little bit. I felt like I did a good job at having instincts and defending him and I just had a sense of calmness, I wasn’t stressing about anything. I was also hitting the whoops fairly decent. I just did every single lap the same thing and tried to kind of roll with whatever it threw at me, then he went down. I was ready for whatever was to come and once he was down, I had a bit of a gap and that made things a little bit easier.”

So don’t be surprised if this weekends Oakland round will again be a battle between the two HRC men and the defending champion Webb. I just can’t see Justin Barcia, Eli Tomac, Marvin Musquin, Malcolm Stewart or anyone else battling these three and don’t be surprised if by the halfway mark of the season that some of the older veterans like Tomac and Musquin are licking their wounds as Roczen and Webb start really putting hurt on these guys.