The rider finished third place in the long-awaited return of the AMA Supercross in Salt Lake City.
The AMA Supercross has finally made its return after a long shutdown following the outbreak for COVID-19. Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen managed to secure a third-place finish at Salt Lake City, Utah, during the weekend. The event took place at the Rice-Eccles Stadium as part of the series’ 11th round and also the next six.
The German rider started off subpar in the 450SX main event completing the first lap in eighth place. He then bounced back on the next laps where he improved his positions. He maintained third place throughout the race since lap four and passed the chequered flag with a podium win. Roczen maintains second place in the series title standings.
Roczen’s teammate Justin Brayton, who had suffered a broken left hand at the previous round, enjoyed a better start aboard his CRF450R and ran in second place early on, but lap nine saw him lose three positions as he suffered from arm pump. Issues at the race’s midway point resulted in Brayton slipping back to eighth, and lap 21 saw him drop to ninth, where he remained to the finish.
The remainder of the series will happen on an accelerated timeline and entirely in Salt Lake City, with round 12 taking place on Wednesday and five more rounds following in quick succession.
Ken Roczen- As It Happened
“I felt pretty good. I had a decent start, but got bumped around a little bit and lost some positions, so we had to fight our way up there and were kind of just riding in a train; it was hard to make up time. I lost a couple of tenths and gained a couple of tenths here and there and then I kind of stayed the same. Obviously, Eli [Tomac] was super strong and Cooper [Webb] right in front of me, and I couldn’t really make a move.”
“I had a moment with about a lap to go where I almost crashed really, really bad, and then the last lap I really just rolled everything pretty much just to kind of bring it home. A podium is okay. Obviously we need to put ourselves in front of Tomac, but there’s a lot of racing left and a lot of crashes out there, and with all the lappers, a lot of things can happen. Really, we just have to regroup and try again on Wednesday,” says Roczen as quoted from Honda Racing Corporation.
Justin Brayton- As It Happened
“It was a pretty good day. It felt so good to be back with the guys and the crew at the races and to get behind the gate again. Overall, I’m fairly happy with the day. The heat race was good; I got third there. I had a solid first half in the main and ran second for a long time. To be quite honest, I just pumped up about halfway in and kind of went backwards. Then I had a really big moment where I almost went down and that allowed a guy to get by me and some other guys to close the gap. I’m happy I didn’t hit the ground on that one, that’s for sure, and happy with a solid top-10 result. We’ve just got to keep this ball rolling, especially with the good starts that we got all day.”
Eric Kehoe (Team Manager)- As It Happened
“It’s obviously great to get back racing, and with everyone well. JB is feeling 100% healthy and his hand is healed up. I think he had a solid return, with good starts and just getting back in the groove. It was a solid start for him. He had some arm pump and got tired in the main event. All in all, we got out there okay with Justin. For Ken and everybody, the dry track conditions were tough with the limited traction. During the main event he had a couple of bobbles and was still there on the podium. It’s a weird time right now. Everybody’s dealing with this situation and trying to come out on top. We got a podium and are still on the hunt and feeling solid.”
Jordan Troxell (Mechanic)- As It Happened
“The first round here in Salt Lake City was really weird with the COVID-19 crisis; it’s definitely a different atmosphere. We’re typically used to an empty stadium for practice, but the day race always has a unique feel. With all the restrictions and the guidelines, it just made a little bit more work for some and less for others. As for how the day and Kenny went, he was really happy with the bike.”
” We had a really good practice session and a really good heat race. He kind of got shuffled around in the first corner of the main. He came through and kind of battled with Eli and Cooper there for the first half and then just kind of settled into third for the remaining half of the race. We still have six more races. There’s still a lot of points and a lot of laps, so we’re not going to get discouraged and will just keep going.”
Brent Duffe (Mechanic)- As It Happened
“Today was a really good day. The results didn’t really show it, but the top-10 is positive. For somebody just getting back to the races, JB’s starts were good. The bike looks great. He seems to be fit for the altitude and I think once we get used to riding the tracks and getting a little more comfortable, everything’s going to start falling into place. His speed was there all day, so we can settle into a routine and enjoy the next three weeks of racing.