The US Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team launched their 2014 AMA Supercross season with flair on Saturday night in the Angel Stadium with a 1-2 in the opening round of the 450 class competition thanks to rookie Ken Roczen of Germany and American teammate Ryan Dungey.
A win in the 250 class West Coast Championship by Rockstar Energy KTM’s Jason Anderson rwound up a near perfect night for KTM.
But the spotlight was firmly on Roczen in his debut race in the senior class and the German rider did not disappoint. Fresh from off season training in Florida, Roczen was right up with reigning champ Ryan Villopoto when the gate dropped for the main event. Villopoto took the holeshot but Roczen was in a solid second. Roczen was still hanging onto Villopoto five laps into the race while Chad Reed was in third. Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey then moved from fifth to fourth to put himself into podium contention.
The race took a dramatic turn in lap nine when Villopoto crashed out and dropped back to sixth while Roczen steamed into a two-second lead. As the race progressed Stewart looked a strong challenger to Roczen after he had closed down into second place. Behind them Reed and Dungey were duking it out for third place.
Stewart leveled with Roczen in the whoops section then suddenly found himself on the ground leaving Roczen with the win, teammate Dungey in second and Reed picking up the final podium spot.
A stunned Roczen said: “I literally can’t believe it. It was such a good race. I was holding on so tight. I wasn’t even tired. I got a good start and I just stayed focused. I’ve been working very hard during the off-season and I am so glad the hard work has paid off. Congrats to my teammate, Ryan Dungey, it is great to share this moment on the podium with him.”
Second placed Dungey said it was cool to have the KTMs 1-2 in Anaheim, adding that his younger teammate was “definitely going to be a competitor this year.”
Anderson wins 250-class main on the Rockstar Energy KTM
Anderson was fast out of the gates and took the holeshot and held off Cole Seely, Malcolm Swewart and Dean Wilson in the opening lap. Seely managed to get past Anderson in lap four right after the rhythm section and the two riders started to put distance between them and the others. Then with two laps to go, Stewart clipped a downed rider and dropped back to finish in eighth place.
Anderson pulled off a great move near the end of his final, converting what looked like a second place finish into a win when Seely got caught up in traffic with just a couple of corners to go. Anderson was poised to take advantage of Seely being held up and steamed past in the final turn to put the KTM on the top step and give the fans in the Angel stadium a thrilling finish.
“I saw the pass might be available and I just had to push really hard in the last lap,” Anderson said, adding he was pumped to have put his Rockstar Energy KTM on top.
Red bull KTM’s new Australian rider Dean Ferris finished 14th in his debut ride in the 250 class. The fourth member of the KTM factory team, Frenchman Marvin Musquin is currently on the injured list.
Next Event: Phoenix, AZ – January 11, 2013
Round 1 AMA Supercross at Anaheim 1
1, Ken Roczen, German, KTM
2, Ryan Dungey, USA, KTM
3, Chad Reed, Kawasaki
4, Ryan Villopoto, Kawasaki
5, Justin Barcia, Honda
6, Justin Brayton, Yamaha
7, Joshua Grant, Yamaha
8, Broc Tickle, Suzuki
9, Andrew Short, KTM
10, Jacob Weimer, Kawasaki
Championship Points after Round One
1, Roczen, 25
2, Dungey, 22
3, Reed, 20
4, Villopoto, 18
5, Barcia, 16
Results 250s (West Coast)
1, Jason Anderson, USA, KTM
2, Cole Seely, Honda
3, Zach Osborne, Honda
4, Dean Wilson, Kawasaki
5, Cooper Webb, Yamaha
6, Justin Hill, Kawasaki
7, Darryn Durham, Kawasaki
8, Malcolm Stewart, Honda
9, Jessy Nelson, Honda
10, Austin Politelli, Yamaha
14, Dean Ferris, KTM, Australia
Championship Points after Round One
1, Anderson 25
2, Seely, 22
3, Osborne, 20
4, Wilson, 18
5, Hill, 16