It was a tough finish to the 2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross campaign for Ken Roczen, as he faded back to 10th at the end of Saturday night's race in Salt Lake City. Roczen came into the race as the only rider with a mathematical shot at taking the title away from Cooper Webb, although his chances were slim. Nonetheless Roczen tried, as he grabbed the early lead and, instead of pulling away, he looked to engage Webb in a battle. This also allowed Roczen's teammate Chase Sexton to get into the mix, and the Honda HRC men ran 1-2 for a few laps early in the race. Of course, that wouldn't have been enough to deny Webb the title, and eventually Webb settled in and upped the pace. He went after Roczen and even punted him in a corner, and that began a steady drop through the field for Roczen.
With the tenth-place finish Roczen didn't have to participate in television or media obligations after the race, but Honda HRC did release a statement on the race with the following quotes from Roczen:
"Round 17 was a tough one again. I just seemed to struggle with the altitude. After getting the holeshot in the main, the first little bit of the race looked promising, but I really let go and dropped way back. Overall, I’ve had a good season. I’ve never stayed in the game for so long—making it all the way to the last round being in the championship hunt. Last year I was third, this year I was second—at least we’re going in the right direction. We had some really good battles, and I learned a lot about myself this year. I’m looking forward to the outdoor season now, and the supercross season next year."
If these quotes hold true, we'll see Roczen back in action at the end of the month for the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Roczen skipped the 2020 motocross campaign to rest and recover, with hopes his 2021 season would be better. Indeed it was, as Roczen stated he was in the title hunt all the way to the end, but his final stretch of races, dotted with crashes while leading and missed opportunities to score more points, will mar the overall look of his season. Regardless, it's good to hear Roczen, a two-time 450 AMA Motocross Champion, will give it another shot a few weeks from now at Fox Raceway at Pala.