News 9 Jan 2018

Fourth for Roczen on return from career-threatening arm injury

A1 podium result a possibility if it weren't for a near crash mid-race.

Image: Supplied.

Fourth place was a strong way for Ken Roczen to return to Monster Energy AMA Supercross at Anaheim’s season-opener on Saturday night, overcoming pre-race nerves to score important points almost one year on from his career-threatening arm injury.

Team Honda HRC’s Roczen was the major question mark heading into A1 following a critical rehabilitation program and he delivered a satisfying result that already has him in contention for this year’s crown.

The German charged from outside of the top 10 on the opening lap and, despite a costly mistake mid-race, he eventually crossed the finish-line in fourth position. Without that error, he’s certain a podium challenge would have been possible.

“Earlier I said if I win, get third or fifth, it doesn’t matter and I’ll be happy, but when I came off the track it did matter to me,” Roczen admitted. “I really wanted to win. I was bummed because halfway through, I had the speed and was catching those guys, but I made a mistake where I scrubbed and dragged my boot on the ground and almost crashed.

“I was riding a little tight and tried to shake it off, but towards the end I tried to just keep it smart – I didn’t want to do anything stupid because there’s a lot of racing left. The more I think about it, fourth place isn’t too bad. We could’ve had a way worse night and I really think without that mistake I would’ve been on the podium.

“There were some nerves on the line just due to lack of experience starting with 20 riders. I kind of messed up both times and just dumped the clutch, so I was pretty far back in the main event, which was a little sketchy. I think if I had gotten a better start, my night would’ve been even better. I’m happy to be here and excited to keep racing.”

Roczen’s result saw him credited with 19 championship points in the new structure, placing him seven points behind opening round winner Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM) ahead of this weekend’s second round in Houston, Texas.