Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki’s Ken Roczen earned a thrilling victory in front of the 62,728 screaming fans who packed Lucas Oil Stadium for Round 9 of the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season.
Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia took second place after intensely pressuring for the lead in the final laps of the race. Red Bull KTM’s 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, for both the Supercross season as well as toward the inaugural 31-round SuperMotocross World Championship series. In Round 5 of Eastern Regional 250SX Class racing, Team Honda HRC’s 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, Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo, Team Tedder Monster Energy Mountain Motorsport’s Justin Hill, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson, and Justin Barcia. After a slow start, points leader Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s 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.
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. 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.
When the gate dropped for the Eastern Regional 250SX Class Hunter Lawrence took the lead with a Holeshot over Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Jordon Smith, Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Chris Blose, Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki’s Marshal Weltin, and Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha’s Jeremy Martin. Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s 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 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 Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s 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.
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. Each Supercross round also pays points toward the brand-new SuperMotocross World Championship which pits the top Supercross and Motocross racers against one another for two Playoff races and one Final in September. The 450 Class winner will take home a cool one million dollars and go down in the history books as the first champion of the SuperMotocross League. The 250 Class racers will battle for the 250 Class title, with a $500,000 championship payout to the winner of that division and an equal spot in the sport’s history books.
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)
2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (201)
3. Chase Sexton, Clermont, Fla., Honda (189)
4. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.Mex., Kawasaki (166)
5. Ken Roczen, Mattstedt, Ger., Suzuki (164)
6. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., GASGAS (155)
7. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (154)
8. Christian Craig, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna (119)
9. Dean Wilson, Menifee, Calif., Honda (93)
10. Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki (92)
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)
2. Max Anstie, Newbury, Eng., Honda (103)
3. Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (93)
4. Jordon Smith, Ochlocknee, Ga., Yamaha (92)
5. Haiden Deegan, Tallahassee, Fla., Yamaha (90)
6. Jeremy Martin, Rochester, Minn., Yamaha (90)
7. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Ariz., Kawasaki (70)
8. Tom Vialle, Avignon, France, KTM (68)
9. Chance Hymas, Pocatello, Idaho, Honda (60)
10. Coty Schock, Dover, Del., Honda (57)
- From Monster Energy Supercross / Feld Motor Sports, Inc.