Cooper Webb wins Supercross Round 11 at Arlington, Hunter Lawrence gets first 250 win


The Monster Energy Supercross Round 11 is in the books and Cooper Webb is establishing himself as a frontrunner after winning back to back in the first two rounds of the Arlington residency.

Out of the gates, it became immediately apparent that the top three in points where there for a reason. Webb grabbed the holeshot with Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen in hot pursuit. At the one-third mark, the margin between the three riders appeared to stabilize with one second separating them, but 20 minutes is a long time for the slightest bobbles to occur.

With an unaccustomed strong start and great sessions in practice, qualification and his heat, Tomac closely stalked Webb.

Three-fourths of the way through the race, Tomac decided it was time to pounce. He rode hard into the bowl turn leading into the whoops and over-rotated at the center. That cost him two seconds and a chance at the win.

Nothing ventured. Nothing gained. And Tomac cannot afford to be timid if he wants to defend his championship.

The loss of momentum cost him another two and half seconds at the checkers.

POINTS, RESULTS: All the postrace statistics from Round 11 in Supercross

The further back one goes in the pack, the more difficult it is to navigate traffic.

Once Roczen lost contact with the two leaders it became more difficult to get through lapped riders. Roczen finished three seconds behind Tomac and nearly eight behind Webb.

“It’s not often that we are all three up there,” Webb said in the post-race conference. “Getting the holeshot was definitely key to that. Even though we were all there, the holeshot was super important tonight. To be able to race up there and get the win was incredible – super motivating. And for the fans to see us up there in the mix was cool for everyone.”

Webb’s win was his sixth consecutive result of first or second in as many races.

To kick off this streak, Webb finished second in the third race of the Indianapolis residency. He swept Orlando and finished second on the hybrid track on Daytona’s frontstretch before earning back to back wins at Arlington. He has more momentum than anyone in the field and left Arlington 2 with a 12-point advantage over Roczen.

“I haven’t been on the podium recently, but I’ve been trying a few new bike settings that haven’t been working out as well,” Roczen said. “But I went back to the old faithful here in the Main event and that felt a lot better.”

Roczen finished third in the event.

Tomac was second as he tries to stay relevant in the championship chase.

“I was just excited tonight to have a better run in the stadium environment ,” Tomac said.

Justin Barcia in fourth and Chase Sexton rounded out the top five.

Jason Anderson fell early in Round 11 at Arlington, but he rebounded to finish in the top 10. (Feld Entertainment, Inc.)

The battle for sixth was decided after the checkers waved.

Jason Anderson crossed under the checkers in that position, but was later docked a spot for an on-track incident.

When Vince Friese went down in a the turn leading into the whoops, Anderson ran up on the crash sight and stopped. Instead of blitzing the whoops, he sped alongside the course and avoided all of those slow bumps. Anderson was back in the pack after falling in the first corner of the first lap.

Aaron Plessinger, who won his heat race, finished a position behind but was elevated one spot after Anderson’s penalty.

Dylan Ferrandis in eighth, Martin Davalos in ninth and Dean Wilson rounded out the top 10.

Wilson qualified for the Main after advancing through the Last Chance qualifier when his rear tire seized in his heat.

The 250 class has been egalitarian.

In four races this season, there have been four different winners and each have had a story to tell.

Hunter Lawrence thought about quitting after being involved in several accidents that forestalled the beginning of his career. The older brother of Jett Lawrence, the rivalry between the two is fierce. Jett Lawrence won his first 250 race in his eighth start. Hunter’s first win came in his sixth.

Lawrence’s win comes immediately on the heels of his career-best, second-place finish last week.

His pass for the lead was decisive. Lawrence got a run down the straight, zipped past the two leaders and then yarded the field.

Jalek Swoll held onto finished second to score his first career podium. Swoll’s previous best was a fourth-place finish in the 250 West opener at Orlando.

Kyle Peters took the final spot on the podium. This was not his first top-three finish, but it has been a while since he last stood on the steps. Peters’ last podium was earned in the 250 East series at Foxborough in 2018.

Garrett Marchbanks finished fourth.

The big story of the race involved the points battle, however. Justin Cooper fell on Lap 1, but was able to remount and rounded out the top five.

After getting the holeshot, Mitchell Harrison faded to sixth at the checkers.

It seemed like Cameron Mcadoo would be able to make up a lot of points over Cooper, but he proved to be fallible as well.

McAdoo fell on Lap 7. He then shorted the track by a wide margin as he attempted to reenter the competition. The points as they ran at the checkers gave Mcadoo a one-point margin but he was penalized and dropped to 10th for his short cut.

As a result, Lawrence took the points lead by one over Mcadoo.

When Lawrence was informed that he was the new leader during the post-race conference call he said, “Are we on the whole call, or are we on a personal call and are you [expletive} with me?”

Jordon Smith in eighth, Chris Blose in ninth and Nate Thrasher rounded out the top 10.

ROUND 1, HOUSTON: Justin Barcia wins opener for third consecutive time

ROUND 2, HOUSTON: Eli Tomac rebounds, wins after Round 1 disappointment

ROUND 3, HOUSTON: Cooper Webb wins, Ken Roczen denied revenge

ROUND 4, INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen makes it four winners in four races

ROUND 5, INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen goes back to back for first time since 2017 injury

ROUND 6, INDIANAPOLIS: Ken Roczen is perfect in Indy for third straight win

ROUND 7, ORLANDO: Cooper Webb trims Ken Roczen lead

ROUND 8, ORLANDO: Cooper Webb sweeps Orlando to put pressure on Ken Roczen

ROUND 9, DAYTONA: Eli Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael at Daytona; Ken Roczen, Copper Webb war 

ROUND 10, ARLINGTON: Cooper Webb takes the points lead with five straight top-two finishes

SuperMotocross: Ken Roczen urgently needed change

Roczen change
Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Change can be frightening, but it is often exhilarating and Ken Roczen, a rider in his ninth season on a 450 bike, it was urgently needed.

Roczen ended the 2022 Supercross season with his worst performance in five years. After finishing outside of the top five in seven of his last eight rounds in the stadium series, well down the points’ standings in ninth, he decided to put that season on hold.

How it ended was in stark contrast to how it began. Roczen’s 2022 season got off to the best possible start. He won the Supercross opener at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California by more than seven seconds over the 2021 champion Cooper Webb.

That would be his last podium and he scored only one more top-five in the Glendale, Arizona Triple Crown.

MORE: Ken Roczen sweeps top five in Anaheim 2 Triple Crown

Before 2022, Roczen was a regular challenger for the championship despite being plagued by major accidents that required surgery in 2017 and 2018. On his return, he was diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus, which presents with symptoms of heavy fatigue, muscle weakness and loss of appetite and last year he tested positive for COVID-19.

Against those odds, he finished second in the outdoor season in 2019 and third in 2020. In the Supercross series, he finished third in 2020 and second in 2021.

But the abbreviated season of 2022 signaled a need for change for Roczen.

“I needed the change urgently,” Roczen said in last week’s post-race press conference at Angel Stadium. “I did a pretty big change in general.”

Those comments came three races into the 2023 with him sitting among the top three finishers for the first time in 10 Supercross rounds. It was the 57th podium of his career, only six behind 10th-place Ryan Villopoto. It was also the first for Suzuki since 2019 when Chad Reed gave them one in Detroit 63 rounds ago.

Taking time off at the end of the Supercross season had the needed effect. He rejoined SuperMotocross in the outdoor season and immediately stood on the podium at Fox Raceway in Pala, California. Two rounds later, he won at Thunder Valley in Lakewood, Colorado. The relief was short lived and he would not stand on the podium again until this year.

Roczen Motocross Round 3
Ken Roczen won Round 3 of the outdoor season in 2022 at Thunder Valley after finished second in Moto 1 and first in Moto 2. Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

Winds of Change

Roczen’s offseason was dramatic. Citing differences over his announcement to compete in the World Supercross Championship, he split with Honda HRC and declared himself a free agent. It wasn’t a difficult decision; Roczen was signed only for the Supercross season.

That change had the desired effect. Roczen won the WSX championship in their two-race, pilot season. More importantly, he proved to himself that he could compete for wins.

Late in the offseason, Roczen announced he would also change manufacturers with a move to HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki. He won the 2016 Pro Motocross title for Suzuki with nine wins in 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second. He easily outran the competition with an advantage of 86 points over second-place Eli Tomac.

“I just think change overall made it happen – and these overseas races – it’s really just a snowball,” Roczen said. “You start somewhere and you feel like something works out and I got better and had more fun doing it. Working with the team as well and working on the motorcycle to get better and actually see it paying off. It’s just, it’s just a big boost in general.”

The return to Suzuki at this stage of his career, after nearly a decade of competing on 450 motorcycles, recharged Roczen. He is one of three riders, (along with Cooper Webb and his former Honda teammate Chase Sexton), with a sweep of the top five in the first three rounds of the 2023 Supercross season.

But last week’s podium really drove home how strong he’s been.

“I think we’re all trying to take it all in,” Roczen said. “I wouldn’t say it came out of nowhere really, but before the season starts you think about – or I thought of how my whole last season went – and it’s been a long time since I’ve been on the podium.”

Roczen’s most recent podium prior to Anaheim 2 came at Budds Creek Motocross Park in Mechanicsville, Maryland last August in Round 10 of the outdoor season. His last podium in Supercross was the 2022 season opener that raised expectations so high.

Supercross Round 1 results
Ken Roczen raised expectations with his season opening win at Anaheim but did not stand on the box again in the Supercross series. Feld Motor Sports/MX Sports Pro Racing/Align Media

The change Roczen needed was not just a different team and bike. More importantly, he needed the freedom to set his own schedule and control his training schedule.

“It’s long days, but I’m really into it at the moment,” Roczen said. “Overall, I felt [that] throughout this off season and now my health has been really well, really good, so that helps. It’s needed to get to the top. I’m pretty confident that we’re, we’re doing the right thing – that I’m doing the right thing.

“I’m doing all my training on my own and I’m planning out my entire week. And I feel like I have a really good system going right now with recovery and putting in some hard days. Right now, I don’t really have anybody telling me what to do. I’m the best judge of that.

“It’s really hard to talk about how much work we’ve put in, but we’ve been doing some big changes and riding a lot throughout the week, some really, really late days. And they’re paying off right now; we’re heading in the right direction. We’re all pulling on the same string, and that helps me out big time.”