The Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha rider and the HEP Motorsport Suzuki won their respective heats at the season opener in Anaheim. Both riders showed glimpses of speed, but things went backward as crashes spoiled the Main Event to both riders.
COOPER WEBB | 6TH
Webb hit the ground running at Angel Stadium and was third in the combined times. From there, he got a great start and kept cool under pressure to win his first heat race at the revered venue. In the main event, he got another good start in third and was on the heels of the runner-up rider, and kept trying to make his way forward on a track that was difficult to make passes on. Unfortunately, Webb crashed in the final laps but quickly rejoined in sixth, where he would finish to score some valuable points in the championship.
Qualifying went really well. I was second and third, which was awesome for me, and then I won my heat race. I’ve never won a heat race at A1, so that was really cool. In the main event, I got off to a decent start. I was in third place and trying to get around Jason (Anderson) the whole race. It was kind of us three the whole time – me, him, and Jett (Lawrence). I was trying to make passes, but I just couldn’t make anything stick. Then I had a big crash there at the end. I don’t really know what I did, maybe hit a kicker or something, but all I know is the front went over, and I took a big hit. I’m lucky to be feeling alright. I’m just a little beat up, but nothing crazy, and I still salvaged some decent points. Overall, I’m really happy with my riding. I felt like I was one of the best guys tonight, so I’m super stoked about that and ready for 16 more rounds.”
KEN ROCZEN | 10TH:
Ken Roczen was fast from the first practice, landing inside the top five in both qualifying sessions and in the overall qualifying order. Roczen dominated his heat race and showed his speed to challenge for another season-opening win at Anaheim, just as he did for Suzuki in 2015. In the main, two riders came together in the first rhythm section and Roczen got tangled up in their crash. Working forward from 22nd position, Roczen fought back to a top-ten finish.
“My night was going great! A heat race win and a good start going into the first turn, but I couldn’t turn and was midfield, and then my front tire got ripped away from me by another rider. My bike was bent, and my bar mounts were twisted. I gave everything I had but as the track got chewed up and rutty I had a hard time. I made it back to tenth and salvaged what we could. The only way I wasn’t going to finish this race was if my handlebar was ripped off. Other than that we were moving forward! Thank you to my team we will keep it cool and be ready for next weekend.”