It's been a long wait to even see Cooper Webb get on the podium this year in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, but now that he's done it we get the chance to talk to him in a post-race press conference. There are many topics to cover with Webb, including moving away from Aldon Baker's Baker's Factory training program and changing the frame on his KTM. (AMA production rules claim that you can add materials or bracing to stock frames to make them stronger or stiffer. KTM added a brace to the frames for the race team, we have heard that Webb has asked for the brace to be removed).
Cooper is usually unfiltered with his answers, and he didn't disappoint in the post-race press conference.
Cooper, you mentioned a change in chassis and you joked that you might get murdered by your team for asking for it. Can you elaborate a little bit on that, or is that behind closed doors? What did it do for you today?
Cooper Webb: Obviously, we made a big change this week and did a frame change. It seemed to be a lot better. I’ve been kind of struggling with some setup and this seemed to help me a lot. It wasn’t ideal to have to ask the team for it and hear their responses, but sometimes you’ve just got to trust your gut and know what you feel as a rider. So, it was good. Obviously, the team made it happen and we were able to get a really good result today. I felt a lot more like myself.
Can you talk a little bit about your season and the highs and lows? Especially coming off of a 450 championship in supercross. Does it speak to the depth of the field in motocross, or is it more bike setup and you’re just acclimating from a supercross championship to a motocross series?
This field is extremely stacked, like you said. It’s totally different. Supercross is a whole other animal than motocross. It’s tough. Obviously when you’re in the supercross, you’re all in and you don’t really prepare maybe as much as you should for outdoors and stuff like that. I think it’s just been a combination. I made some changes with my program, trying to do testing and riding while you’re trying to get motos in and just finding that base. I feel like right now being comfortable on your bike is key, as fast as this class is and as fast as everyone’s going. So, I think it’s just a combination of things, but obviously for me it was a lot better today. It’s been getting slowly better and better and better. Today I felt like was a big breakthrough.
I know you’re super competitive. How do you internalize that you’re not on the podium as you have been weekly or more often in supercross?
No, it sucks, to be completely honest. When you go from winning a lot and being on the podium almost every weekend to I think eighth at the first round or whatever. It’s shitty, for sure. It’s been hard. I’ve been trying to keep a positive mindset and keep working hard and get better. Like you said, being a competitive guy, I feel like I know where I can be when things are right, supercross or motocross. Obviously still got some work to do on the motocross side of things, but I feel like being in the top five and being a competitor like I at least was today was nice and gave me some confidence. I’m stoked with how today went and looking to see how it goes from here.
You mentioned making your changes to your program. You’re riding at the 83 Compound, Chad Reed's old place. What do you like about it? What has been the refreshing change for you? What have you been enjoying being over there with the Lawrence brothers, Savatgy, Bogle, all those guys?
I made that change after RedBud national. I think for me, I just was on the edge of being completely burned out and not sure how much longer I really wanted to race, to be honest. So, it’s just been a good change for me, being able to ride with Jett and Hunter. They’re super fast and talented. Just kind of brings some new life, guys that are excited to ride. I feel like we push each other and I can learn from them. Joey is really great during the week and Justin is fun to be around. I think it was mainly just a change of pace. I felt like I had done the same thing for three and a half years and I needed something else. Not sure where it’s all going to lead from here, but so far since I’ve been there I’ve been super happy with things. Slowly improving and getting better with my riding and technique. Still working hard and getting the quality riding and training in. It’s been good. It’s nice when you have results like this to have it pay off a little bit.
"I’ve been kind of struggling with some setup and this seemed to help me a lot. It wasn’t ideal to have to ask the team for it and hear their responses, but sometimes you’ve just got to trust your gut and know what you feel as a rider." -Cooper Webb Align Media Webb battled with Eli Tomac and Dylan Ferrandis at the tenth round. Align Media Webb's third-place in the second moto at Ironman Raceway was his first time on the podium during the 2021 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Align Media " I felt a lot more like myself." -Cooper Webb Align Media
Going back to what you said then, getting burnt out – is that something of getting burnt out with Aldon’s program? We’ve seen so many things with Dungey, Villopoto… That’s pretty much the exact words they used. Was it just you needed a change, or was it the program was starting to tire you? What really were the fatiguing issues behind it?
Obviously, I’ve had great success [riding there]. I don’t have any issues or regrets or anything. It was a great program. I just think for me, like I said, doing the same thing year after year, and it’s obviously rewarding and supercross and stuff I’ve always done really well. It was great while I was there. I just think for me I was at that point in my career where I just needed a change. Like those alluded to, I’m only 25 years old and to be having thoughts of retirement is crazy. Just felt like I needed a change. I’m super competitive and have a great team behind me that are super hard workers and want to win, just like I do. We’re going to get a super good program headed forward. Looking forward to the new challenges ahead.
You talked about changing the bike and the training program and all that. Then I’ve heard some people say, your strength in supercross is cutting low in the corners and going inside, inside, inside, which isn’t something you can really do on outdoor tracks. Is it something about your riding style you’ve had to actually work on as well to turn your strengths from supercross into something that works outdoors?
Yeah, for sure. Obviously, in the 250’s I was able to win an outdoor title. Supercross definitely comes more natural to me and the way I ride and everything, I think it definitely comes easier. That was one of the things, too. I felt like I needed to work on how these guys ride. Really carrying a lot of momentum, a lot more standing. A lot more outsides. So obviously, it’s a learning curve and it takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Hopefully I can continue to improve my outdoor riding. Like I said, I still feel like I’m a good outdoor rider, but supercross definitely comes more natural. But we’ll continue to try to add to our program and try to get better on motocross as well.