Red Bull KTM Racing announced a three-rider lineup for the 2021 season Tuesday that includes the return of Marvin Musquin and Cooper Webb in the 450 class as well as Max Vohland in 250.
“We are very confident in Marvin and Cooper for the 2021 season,” team manager Ian Harrison said in a release. “Marvin has been with KTM North America for a decade now and has always competed at the highest level. Having missed the 2020 season, he is eager to get back to racing SX and being healthy is a big part of the puzzle.”
“We plan to start testing this week to fine-tune our 2021 machine – we have a few new components to test and work with that should help Marvin improve his bike setup,” Harrison continued. “We are looking forward to what Marvin can do in 2021.”
Webb finished second in the Monster Energy Supercross championship in 2020 behind Eli Tomac.
“Cooper has a lot of experience coming into 2021 and we are very excited to see how things progress now that he has been with us for two years.” Harrison said. “Along with his mechanic, Carlos Rivera, I feel we are all at a point where we understand each other’s strengths and that leads to better bike setup and race day changes.”
Maximus Vohland will join Red Bull KTM as the team brings its 250 program back in-house for the first time since 2015. The 17-year-old rider will make his professional debut in 2021.
“Max has had a long and successful journey as an amateur with KTM and we are happy to be involved in the start of his young career,” said Harrison said. “I met him years ago and have seen his progress through the amateur ranks – he is young but has a lot of potential. Time will tell how he manages the ups and downs of professional racing and we will be here to help support him in every way we can. Our goal is to have Max and KTM up front.”
Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.
There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.
Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.
Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.
By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.
With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.
This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.
Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.
Two privateers have started the season on a high note.
Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.
The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.
Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.
In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.