In only his third race back from injury, Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen continued his amazing progression, battling hard for the lead in both motos at the Thunder Valley National to score his first overall podium of the season, landing second with 2-2 results at round three of the AMA Pro Motocross series.

When the gate dropped for the first moto, the German got off to a seventh-place start, but he moved up to fifth by the green flag. He had advanced to third before the race was red-flagged and everyone was forced to return to the starting line. On the restart, Roczen rocketed his CRF450R to the holeshot and, after briefly surrendering the front spot, regained it later in the opening lap and maintained it for over half the race. Coming under severe pressure from Eli Tomac, Roczen was able to evade the subsequent advances for several laps before relinquishing the lead on lap 10. He fought hard to make a counterattack but was eventually forced to settle for second.

In moto two, Roczen got off to a fourth-place start but blitzed the downhill to quickly move into second. He closed in on the leader, and a three-way battle for the top position ensued, with Roczen falling to third in the battle. The top two riders tangled on the next lap, which gave Roczen the opportunity to take the lead. He stayed smooth and consistent up front before once again coming under fire, and after fighting tooth and nail for several laps, he slipped to second with 10 minutes remaining.

NOTES

  • For the third consecutive week, recovering Team Honda HRC rider Cole Seely was with his team at the National. On Friday, he joined Ken Roczen and the GEICO Honda riders for an autograph session at the local Honda Powerhouse dealership, Peak Honda World in Littleton. While at the race, Seely signed autographs for fans before heading to the Pro Motocross TV compound to commentate alongside Jason Weigandt and Grant Langston during the pre-race qualifying show. “It’s been awesome coming to the first few rounds to hang out with my team,” Seely said later. “I hadn’t been to a race since Tampa, so to get out and be around everyone was great for me. My recovery is going well and I actually did my first little workout last week. I was so sore after [laughs]! I’m supposed to be able to start riding September 1 so I still have some time, but I’m excited to keep building my strength in the meantime.”
  • The day started on a positive note, as Roczen secured the second-fastest time during the morning’s second qualifying session, with a solid 2’06.697″ lap.
  • At 5,500 ft. elevation, the Thunder Valley track poses its challenges for not only the riders, but mechanics as well. “Obviously at elevation the bike is going to run a little slower,” explained Roczen’s mechanic Oscar Wirdeman. “Luckily, our bike is really fast already and we normally slow it down for Ken anyways, so we had a lot of extra power we were able to add here, with ignition and mapping stuff. Even this morning the bike was still too fast for him so we had to tune it down, which is good because the elevation doesn’t affect us as much as it could. You also want to check all the fluids at elevation. We obviously blead the brakes when we build the bikes, but we check it and do it again up here.”
  • On race day, Team Honda HRC was pleased to have two-time U.S. Olympic Gold Medal skier Mikaela Shiffrin stop by their pits for a meet-and-greet with fellow Red Bull athlete Ken Roczen. Although the two had never met previously, there is a connection as Shiffrin’s father is an anesthesiologist at the Steadman Clinic in Vail and worked with Roczen on a few of his surgeries. Additionally, Roczen watched the Winter Olympics on television while in Vail and became a big fan of Shiffrin as she competed in PyeongChang“It was awesome having Mikaela at the race today,” Roczen said. “I love any Olympic sports. She was really cool and a big fan, so it was nice to exchange some stories.”
  • Roczen’s Colorado performance moved him up two positions in the championship standings, to fifth, with 97 points.
  • It was a stellar day for GEICO Honda’s Jeremy Martin, who powered his CRF250R to his first overall win of the season with 2-1 moto finishes, moving into the championship points lead, which means the No. 6 machine will be adorned with the red plate at the next round. Teammate Chase Sexton secured seventh overall with 10-6 marks, while RJ Hampshire rounded out the top 10 with 13-7 scores.
  • Team Honda HRC will take a one-week hiatus before returning to action on June 16 for round four at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania.

Media contact:

Mandie Fonteyn // Jonnum Media  // mandie@jonnummedia.com// +1 (951) 537-0454

Ken Roczen  94

“Being in the battle up front and being in the mix today is awesome. Hangtown was honestly kind of miserable just because I didn’t know what to expect, didn’t have a lot of time on the bike, and everything just felt so foreign. Here, I basically rode the same bike that I rode at Glen Helen, and though it wasn’t totally ideal, I knew what the bike was going to do and how it would react to things. We got good starts and rode up front. It’s great to have the racing butterflies again and to be doing good. It’s just amazing and the greatest feeling ever and so much better than sitting on the couch. I could have one day or six months of preparation and I’m still going to want to go out there and do what I did today. I want to be up front, I want to battle, and if I don’t win, that’s fine. I can’t expect myself to go out there right away and go 1-1, but to be up front, go 2-2, and be on the podium is beyond amazing. I’m having a blast right now.”

Ken Roczen

Erik Kehoe

Team Manager

“Today definitely feels great. This is right according to plan, if not ahead of schedule. Ken’s plan has been to build and get stronger each week, get good starts, and continue to learn, which is exactly what he did today. I don’t know if anyone, including Ken, expected him to be back on the podium at this point in the season, but he’s incredibly tough mentally and knows in his mind that he’s capable of doing what he did. He really showed how strong he already is, and this just continues to build his confidence so I think soon he’s going to be ready to battle even more.”

Erik Kehoe

Oscar Wirdeman

Mechanic (Ken Roczen)

“I think today was awesome–Ken’s way ahead of schedule for sure. After how he rode last weekend I think we kind of expected today to happen, or knew he was capable of this. We hadn’t expected last weekend though, so it’s still a little bit of a shock. He’s just going to continue getting better from here, so the rest of the season should be exciting. We’re going to do a lot of testing during the off weekend and come into High Point strong.”

Oscar Wirdeman

450MX Moto 1 Results

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team Time/Gap
1 TOMAC Eli 3 USA 25 Monster Energy Kawasaki
2 ROCZEN Ken 94 GER 22 Team Honda HRC
3 BAGGETT Blake 4 USA 20 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS
4 MUSQUIN Marvin 25 FRA 18 Red Bull KTM
5 BARCIA Justin 51 USA 16 Monster Energy/ Knick/ Factory Yamaha Team
6 BLOSE Benny 934 USA 15 Bloss Racing
7 PEICK Weston 23 USA 14 Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing
8 NICOLETTI Phillip 46 USA 13 Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing
9 MERRIAM Dylan 559 USA 12 None
10 LOCURCIO Lorenzo 44 VEN 11 None
11 MASTERPOOL Jake 146 USA 10 None
12 RAY Alex USA 9 Cycle Trader Rock River Yamaha
13 AUTENRIETH Cade 330 USA 8 Mountain Motorsports/Factory Connection/Hinson
14 SCHARER Brandon 154 USA 7 STR Yamaha
15 LAMAY Ben 907 USA 6 TPJ.com/Fly Racing
16 LEITH Brandon 388 USA 5 Team Leith
17 COOPER Cody 121 NZL 4 Crownkiwi Enterprise
18 ANDERSON Derek 191 USA 3 None
19 MILLER Henry 81 USA 2 Trigger Racing
20 DEMARTILE Dare 207 USA 1 None

450MX Moto 2 Results

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team Time/Gap
1 TOMAC Eli 3 USA 25 Monster Energy Kawasaki
2 ROCZEN Ken 94 GER 22 Team Honda HRC
3 BAGGETT Blake 4 USA 20 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS
4 MUSQUIN Marvin 25 FRA 18 Red Bull KTM
5 BLOSE Benny 934 USA 16 Bloss Racing
6 BARCIA Justin 51 USA 15 Monster Energy/ Knick/ Factory Yamaha Team
7 PEICK Weston 23 USA 14 Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing
8 NICOLETTI Phillip 46 USA 13 Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing
9 SCHARER Brandon 154 USA 12 STR Yamaha
10 MERRIAM Dylan 559 USA 11 None
11 COOPER Cody 121 NZL 10 Crownkiwi Enterprise
12 AUTENRIETH Cade 330 USA 9 Mountain Motorsports/Factory Connection/Hinson
13 MASTERPOOL Jake 146 USA 8 None
14 LOCURCIO Lorenzo 44 VEN 7 None
15 TOMITA Toshiki 718 JPN 6 Team Honda HRC
16 MILLER Henry 81 USA 5 Trigger Racing
17 LOPEZ Felix 577 MEX 4 None
18 LEITH Brandon 388 USA 3 Team Leith
19 MARQUIER Chase 81 USA 2 None
20 LIONNET Bradley 321 USA 1 None

Rider Standings

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team
1 TOMAC Eli 3 USA 150 Monster Energy Kawasaki
2 MUSQUIN Marvin 25 FRA 122 Red Bull KTM
3 BARCIA Justin 51 USA 104 Monster Energy/ Knick/ Factory Yamaha Team
4 BAGGETT Blake 4 USA 100 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS
5 ROCZEN Ken 94 GER 97 Team Honda HRC
6 PEICK Weston 23 USA 88 Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing
7 NICOLETTI Phillip 46 USA 75 Autotrader/ JGR/ Yoshimura/ Suzuki Factory Racing
8 ANDERSON Jason 21 USA 73 Rockstar Husqvarna
9 BLOSE Benny 934 USA 73 Bloss Racing
10 MERRIAM Dylan 559 USA 49 None
11 COOPER Cody 121 NZL 45 Crownkiwi Enterprise
12 CHISHOLM Kyle 11 USA 39 Chisholm Racing
13 SCHARER Brandon 154 USA 37 STR Yamaha
14 TAFT Bradley 53 USA 33 Cycle Trader Rock River Yamaha
15 MASTERPOOL Jake 146 USA 32 None
16 AUTENRIETH Cade 330 USA 27 Mountain Motorsports/Factory Connection/Hinson
17 CRAIG Christian 32 USA 26 Team Honda HRC
18 LAMAY Ben 907 USA 26 TPJ.com/Fly Racing
19 TOMITA Toshiki 718 JPN 22 Team Honda HRC
20 CUNNINGHAM Kyle 39 USA 21 H.E.P Motorsports
21 RAY Alex USA 20 Cycle Trader Rock River Yamaha
22 LOCURCIO Lorenzo 44 VEN 18 None
23 LEITH Brandon 388 USA 13 Team Leith
24 DEMARTILE Dare 207 USA 9 None
25 MILLER Henry 81 USA 7 Trigger Racing
26 LOPEZ Felix 577 MEX 6 None
27 LIONNET Bradley 321 USA 5 None
28 ANDERSON Derek 191 USA 3 None
29 ALLDREDGE Christopher 876 USA 3 None
30 MARQUIER Chase 81 USA 2 None