Ken Roczen Takes the Win at A1

Roczen dominates at the Anaheim season opener

Ken Roczen dominates the first round of the 2017 Supercross with first place finish
Ken Roczen started off the Supercross season strong with a first-place finish in Anaheim.Photo Courtesy of HRC

The first round of AMA Supercross, at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, saw Ken Roczen turn in an exciting dream performance aboard his CRF450R, giving Team Honda HRC the opportunity to celebrate an early points lead in the series. The German native was unstoppable all evening, taking the holeshot in both his heat race and the 20-minute-plus-one-lap main and never relinquishing his lead in either. Along the way, Roczen clicked off unmatched lap times, ultimately taking the checkered flag with nearly 16 seconds to spare.

Despite having to shake off some pre-race nerves, teammate Cole Seely put together a solid performance to finish sixth on the night. The Californian got off the line to a top-10 start and quickly made his way through the field, moving into fifth on lap five. He maintained that position until the halfway mark before relinquishing one spot to finish in sixth.

Ken Roczen commented on his success saying: “Tonight couldn’t have gone better. I’m happy to come away from tonight with the win but I’m staying really calm and taking this season week by week, which I don’t think I did in previous years. It’s important to take this race and enjoy tonight and tomorrow but to continue to look ahead, focus on the next race and not get caught up. At the moment I’m just having a lot of fun. The team is great, they’re working hard and all the details that make me super happy are in place right now.”

Cole Seely finishes sixth at A1 2017
Cole Seely finished in sixth place for a strong first round of the 2017 season.Photo Courtesy of HRC

Cole Seely stated: “I’m okay with how tonight went. It was good to get the first one out of the way, shake the nerves off and still come away with a pretty good finish. If you were to ask me where I put myself against everyone, I’d say that us top six tonight are in another league and going really fast, so it’s going to be a constant battle with those guys this year. I was really loose in practice and able to lay down some good laps to come out third, which is really rare for me because I don’t always qualify the best. I was happy to transfer directly into the main event from my heat race and not have to deal with a semi at the first round. I don’t really know what it was, but I was really nervous before the main. Other than Monster Energy Cup, I haven’t really raced these guys since June. I rode tight but loosened up a little bit in the middle after [Jason] Anderson got around me. Toward the end I was catching [Eli] Tomac but I just didn’t have enough time.”

Shuhei Nakamoto, HRC Executive Vice President, stated “I’m really happy to see the new CRF450R win the first race of the year! I would like to thank everyone on the development team as well as the race team for getting the machine ready in such a short time, as we were feeling the effect of the earthquake right when this machine was being developed. I was also incredibly impressed by how Roczen rode the whole race. He was completely in control and he looked like he had more to give if needed. Seely also rode tenaciously and did not give up. I’m convinced his results will continue to improve as the season progresses. I’m very pleased to see us win this very important race but we should not be too content. HRC promises to give more support to the team and I hope the team keeps giving their best for the championship!”

Dan Betley stated “I’m really happy. Ken rode extremely well all day and completely dominated the main event, so it was a great way to set the tone and start the season on the right foot. I’m kind of bummed for Cole though. He was a little nervous for the evening and I think that may have gotten the best of him a little, but all in all our guys both showed speed all day and our starts were good. We learned a few things throughout the day but overall we’re in a good place and only made a few small clicker changes for each rider. The environment around our team is really great right now. Everyone is very relaxed and having fun, so I can’t speak highly enough about them and all their hard work. I’m really happy with where we are right now and looking forward to the rest of the season.”

Ken Roczen's mechanic, Oscar Wirdeman, reflects on Saturday's race saying “This is going to be fun year. Today was almost too good to be true. It was smooth sailing throughout the whole day with the team, bike, practice and obviously race. Ken is really happy with his setup and totally crushed it tonight, but obviously we have a long way to go with 16 races left so we need to stay focused. I just wanted him to leave here healthy and in the top three, and he won by 15 seconds so that’s pretty good.”

Cole Seely's mechanic, Rich Simmons, commented on the race stating “Tonight was good. Obviously, if you didn’t win you always want to finish better because that realistically is the ultimate goal, but for Cole tonight, I was hoping for a top-three finish. I think the top six were all running pretty close though, so to come away with that at the first round is still pretty good. I think the nerves just got the best of him because he wasn’t himself all day and was just over-riding the bike and track. We’ll work out the kinks and continue to improve each weekend.”

450SX Main Event Results
Position/Rider: Points
1. Ken Roczen 25
2. Ryan Dungey 22
3. Marvin Musquin 20
4. Jason Anderson 18
5. Eli Tomac 16
6. Cole Seely 15
7. David Millsaps 13
8. Weston Peick 13
9. Joshua Grant 12
10. Cooper Webb 11