In the final results of Monster Energy Supercross Round 1, Ken Roczen denied Justin Barcia a fourth consecutive opening night win as the series got back into action in front of a packed house of more than 45,000 fans at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, last Saturday night.
It was Roczen’s fourth opening night win in the series.
After an early challenge by teammate Chase Sexton, Roczen had a substantial lead of more than 13 seconds at one point during the race, but afterward said the lead was less of a help than one might imagine. As the soft track began to deteriorate, it was a matter of hanging on and keeping his feet on the pegs.
At the finish, Roczen handily beat last year’s champion Cooper Webb, who had to overcome a poor start to charge through the field. Webb was content with the result after finishing worse than he would like in recent seasons’ opening rounds.
Webb secured the second-place position with three minutes remaining on the clock. In preseason interviews, Webb has been vocal about his desire to back up this championship with a second consecutive. He won his first title in 2019 before finishing second in 2020.
At the start of the race, Barcia had a record in sight. He was tied with Jeremy McGrath for the most consecutive opening-round wins at three. While he missed the top spot of the podium, he was on the steps nonetheless with his third-place finish.
Barcia was as high as second after taking the spot from an injured Adam Cianciarulo, who was riding with a sore shoulder. Jason Anderson would not let Barcia simply ride away, however, until a battle between the two ended with Anderson on the ground.
— Supercross LIVE! (@SupercrossLIVE) January 9, 2022
Marvin Musquin had to survive a mid-race dustup with Malcolm Stewart, and the two had a heated conversation at the end of the race. It was Musquin’s second straight opening-round top five after finishing third in last year’s opener in Houston.
After earning the holeshot, Sexton rounded out the top five. He was Roczen’s toughest competition early in the race but went down about halfway through as he tried to keep from making a mistake that would send both Hondas to the ground.
As for Cianciarulo: He raced among the top five for the first half of the race until his shoulder lost strength. He will remount at Oakland next week try to go deeper into the race at full strength.
In the 250 West class, Christian Craig fulfilled a lifelong dream of winning Anaheim 1.
From the top of the podium, he pointed into the stands where he sat as a child and showed his son the seats he once occupied. He took a moment to remind fans that childhood dreams can come true as he took an early lead in the points and tries to give Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing a second consecutive title.
He also sent well wishes to last year’s 250 East champion Colt Nichols, who suffered a hard crash in his heat earlier in the event and failed to make the Main.
— Supercross LIVE! (@SupercrossLIVE) January 10, 2022
Craig held off Seth Hammaker in second and Hunter Lawrence in third as those two riders crossed over the finish line inches apart.
On the final lap, Hammaker was embroiled in battle with Garrett Marchbanks, but knew Lawrence was also coming on strong. After dispatching Marchbanks, Hammaker over-jumped in the final set of rhythms and washed out enough to open a door for Lawrence.
The loss of momentum forced Hammaker to limp over the line with Lawrence closing rapidly. Hammaker kept the second position.
Lawrence earned his first Anaheim podium in his first trip to the track. He was a last-minute addition to the field as a replacement to brother Jett Lawrence, who will now ride in the 250 East division after sustaining a minor injury in the offseason.
Marchbanks finished fourth, and rounding out the top five was Vince Friese, who led the first three laps after grabbing the holeshot.
Michael Mosiman and Jo Shimoda finished sixth and seventh respectively to narrowly miss the top five.
— Monster Energy (@MonsterEnergy) January 9, 2022