Supercross Preview: Razor thin margins separate title contenders

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The top four riders this week enter Arlington with only two points separating them. A slight bobble by Ken Roczen, Cooper Webb, Eli Tomac or Marvin Musquin could break up this dominance – but since all four of them have swept the top 10 in the first six rounds – don’t expect anyone to make a big mistake this week.

That’s because the hard-packed Northern Texas dirt has a reputation for holding its consistency throughout the event. By the time the Feature lines up, they should all be comfortable with the racing lines. Riders have a chance to find their rhythm and slowly improve as the night progresses.

Zach Osborne could play the role of spoiler. He returns to competition this week after suffering a broken collarbone before the season opener at Anaheim I, which is good news after injuries thinned the field of his teammate Jason Anderson, Justin Hill and Malcolm Stewart.

Dean Wilson continues to stand in for Anderson as Osborne’s teammate. He has almost shown the same level of consistency as the top four with only one result (a 12th in the mud at San Diego) outside the top 10.

Meanwhile in the 250 class, Christian Craig is expected to miss Arlington to allow his thumb to heal after sustaining an injury in December. He climbed aboard his steed at Minneapolis last week, but could only manage a 20th-place finish.

Schedule:

Qualifying: 2 p.m. on NBC Sports, Gold
Race: Live, 6:30 p.m. on NBCSN and NBC Sports, Gold

Last Week:

Cooper Webb won his third event over Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin in the 450 class.
Austin Forkner won the East season opener over Jordon Smith and Justin Cooper in the 250 class.

Last year:

Eli Tomac beat Marvin Musquin and Blake Baggett in the 450 class.
Zach Osborne beat Colt Nichols and James Decotis in the 250 class.

Winners

450s:
[3] Cooper Webb (Anaheim II, Oakland and Minneapolis)
[1] Justin Barcia (Anaheim I)
[1] Blake Baggett (Glendale)
[1] Eli Tomac (San Diego)

250 West:
[3] Adam Cianciarulo (Glendale, Oakland, San Diego)
[1] Colt Nichols (Anaheim I)
[1] Shane McElrath (Anaheim II)

250 East:
[1] Austin Forkner (Minneapolis)

Top-5s

450s:
Ken Roczen (6)
Eli Tomac (5)
Marvin Musquin (5)
Cooper Webb (4)
Dean Wilson (2)
Blake Baggett (2)
Justin Barcia (1)
Jason Anderson (1)
Justin Bogle (1)
Chad Reed (1)
Joey Savatgy (1)
Justin Brayton (1)

250 West:
Shane McElrath (5)
Adam Cianciarulo (5)
Colt Nichols (4)
RJ Hampshire (3)
Dylan Ferrandis (3)
James Decotis (2)
Jacob Hayes (1)
Garrett Marchbanks (1)
Jess Pettis (1)

250 East:
Austin Forkner (1)
Jordon Smith (1)
Justin Cooper (1)
Alex Martin (1)
Chase Sexton (1)

Points Leaders

450s:
Ken Roczen (125)
Cooper Webb (124)
Eli Tomac (123)
Marvin Musquin (123)
Dean Wilson (95)

250 West:
Adam Cianciarulo (114)
Shane McElrath (105)
Colt Nichols (104)
Dylan Ferrandis (102)
RJ Hampshire (75)

250 East:
Austin Forkner (26)
Jordon Smith (23)
Justin Cooper (21)
Alex Martin (19)
Chase Sexton (18)

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Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.