He may be on a new team and on a new bike, but it was business as usual for Germany’s Ken Roczen when he won the opening round of the United States Supercross Championships in Anaheim, Califoirnia, tonight.
The 20-year-old former MX2 motocross world champion won his second consecutive Anaheim 1 victory and, in the process, he gave his new Ricky Carmichael-managed Suzuki team its first AMA Monster Energy Supercross victory.
Roczen took the lead early on the first lap and pulled away to a convincing 4.199-second victory margin. It marked his third-career AMA Supercross victory and gave the German rider and his RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy Johns Suzuki team the early lead in the championship chase.
It was also a sparkling ride by runner-up rider Jason Anderson in his 450 Supercross debut. Husqvarna-mounted Anderson, the only rookie to qualify straight out of his heat race, got a solid start in third, promptly got by KTM’s Andrew Short on the second lap and went on to look totally comfortable on his way to finishing runner-up.
Third at Anaheim 1 went to Team Honda’s Trey Canard. Canard charged hard all night after a lackluster start that saw him running eighth early in the final. Canard put his head down and worked his way past a gaggle of talented riders including Davi Millsaps, Eli Tomac, Ryan Dungey, Mike Alessi and Andrew Short.
Justin Barcia took sixth in his debut with Yamaha. Weston Peick, Broc Tickle, Alessi and Australian Chad Reed rounded out the top 10 finishers.
Roczen to be on target as the the rider to assume the mantle left by Kawasaki’s 2014 champion Ryan Villopoto, who announced his retirement from Supercross racing to head across to Europe and wind up his career by racing the motocross world championships.
In other news, two-time season champion James Stewart is out after being suspended 16 months for a positive test for an amphetamine at a race in Seattle on April 12. Stewart’s team has said the positive test came from his prescribed Adderall and that the rider is appealing the decision.
Meanwhile, KTM’s Jessy Nelson raced to his first Western Regional 250 class victory.
Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne was second, followed by Kawasaki’s Tyler Bowers and KTM’s Justin Hill.
The AMA SX series heads to Phoenix next Saturday, January 10, for round two.
AMA Supercross, result from round 1 of 17:
1. Ken Roczen (Germany), Suzuki RM-Z450
2. Jason Anderson, Husqvarna FC450
3. Trey Canard, Honda CRF450
4. Ryan Dungey, KTM 450 SX-F
5. Andrew Short, KTM 450 SX-F
6. Justin Barcia, Yamaha YZ450F
7. Weston Peick, Yamaha YZ450F
8. Broc Tickle, Suzuki RM-Z450
9. Mike Alessi, Suzuki RM-Z450
10. Chad Reed (Australia), Kawasaki KX450F
11. Jacob Weimer, Kawasaki KX450F
12. Blake Baggett, Suzuki RM-Z450
13. Justin Brayton, KTM 450 SX-F
14. Cole Seely, Honda CRF450
15. Dean Wilson, KTM 450 SX-F
16. Joshua Hill, Yamaha YZ450F
17. Brett Metcalfe (Australia), Suzuki RM-Z450
18. Joshua Grant, Kawasaki KX450F
19. David Millsaps, Kawasaki KX450F
20. Eli Tomac, Honda CRF450
21. Kyle Partridge, Honda CRF450
22. Tevin Tapia, Suzuki RM-Z450
450SX Class standings
1. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Suzuki, 25
2. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna, 22
3. Trey Canard, Edmond, Okla., Honda, 20
4. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 18
5. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM, 16
6. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Yamaha,15
7. Weston Peick, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha, 14
8. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki, 13
9. Mike Alessi, Hilliard, Fla., Suzuki, 12
10. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Kawasaki, 11
250-class standings (West Coast series):
1. Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., KTM, 25
2. Zach Osborne, Chesterfield, S.C., KTM, 22
3. Tyler Bowers, Corona, Calif., Kawasaki, 20
4. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., KTM, 18
5. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha, 16
6. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM, 15
7. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha, 14
8. Alex Martin, Millville., Minn., Yamaha, 13
9. Josh Hansen, Elbert, Colo., Kawasaki, 12
10. Michael Leib, Menifee, Calif., Honda, 11