Austin Forkner is out for the remainder of the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross season after suffering an injury in a crash at Angel Stadium in the first round of the 2023 SuperMotocross World Championship.
Forkner was involved in the accident at the start of the race immediately after the gate dropped. He collided with two other riders as the line narrowed to take the first turn.
Forkner was pitched from his bike and landed hard, suffering an injury to his right knee: a full thickness ACL tear, lateral meniscus tear and a fracture to the top of his tibia and fibula, among other knee-related injuries.
Forkner also broke a bone in his hand during the crash.
After evaluation, Forkner and the Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Kawasaki team decided to end his 2023 title bid to allow time to heal.
On Saturday night, Forkner was one of three factory riders, along with Malcolm Stewart on a Husqvarna and Pierce Brown on a GasGas, who crashed heavily during the event, which was plagued by deep ruts caused by wet conditions throughout the week.
“Hey guys, I thought I’d give you an update,” Forkner said on his Instagram page. “I didn’t feel like typing anything, so I figured I’d just make a video. First off, I want to say thank you to everybody who has reached out, sent prayers and everything.
“I haven’t been responding to very many people, even like friends and family. I just don’t really know what to say. I’m still in shock and still so upset. It’s still so fresh and I just got news yesterday of what the actual damage is. It’s just one of those things.
“I felt great going into this year and was ready to challenge for the championship,” Forkner said in a press release. “I think my qualifying and heat race speed proved that the preparation from the whole team was on par to win races. Unfortunately, I was involved in a racing incident during the start of the Main Event and injured my knee. This is definitely a frustrating situation, but I’m extremely motivated to focus on my recovery and I will get back to work with the team.”
Forkner has been plagued with injury throughout his pro career. He missed most of the 2022 Supercross season due to a hard crash at Arlington as he raced Jett Lawrence for the lead. In that incident, he reinjured a broken clavicle from an earlier accident.
In 2019, an accident at East Rutherford, New Jersey put an end to that season also.
When he returned to action after the 2022 Arlington crash, he told NBC Sports that “injury isn’t the hardest part of an accident.”
“As we’ve seen from Austin throughout his career, he has the speed and mindset to compete at the highest level,” said Monster Energy / Pro Circuit Team Owner, Mitch Payton. “Austin came into the season with the ultimate goal of winning a championship and we feel he had done the right work to make that a reality. This injury will delay that goal until Austin is healed up and ready to return to competition, but he has our continued support through this time and we look forward to going racing with him in the future.”
When healthy, Forkner finished fourth in the 2018 250 East division, was third in 2019 in that same division and third again in 2020 in the 250 West division.