Honda: Ken Roczen “Has Decided to Take a Break” From 2022 AMA Supercross
In a statement just released by the team, Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen has “decided to take a break from the 2022 AMA Supercross series.” Roczen won the Anaheim 1 Supercross 450SX main event but has finished 13-7-13-5-11-8-13-7 in the following eight rounds. Following an 11th at the Anaheim 3 Supercross (round six), Roczen had three main event finishes outside the top ten for the first time in the same 450SX season. Last year, Roczen had five total finishes outside the top five and through the first nine rounds of 2022, he recorded seven finishes outside the top five. The #94 has not looked like himself and many are wondering why that is.
At the Daytona Supercross, Roczen crossed the finish line in ninth but received a two-spot bump due to Malcolm Stewart (seventh at the finish) and Jason Anderson (eighth at the finish) both receiving a one-position penalty, bumping Roczen from ninth to seventh. Following the ninth round, Roczen (133 points) sits 70 points down to P1 Eli Tomac (203 points).
Now, the German native will “withdraw from the series indefinitely,” starting with this weekend’s tenth round in Detroit, Michigan.
Note, Roczen has dealt with several health-related issues in recent years and even sat out the 2020 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship in an attempt to recover fully for the 2021 season of supercross and motocross. The release also states Roczen suffered from COVID-19 following the San Diego Supercross in late January.
The Honda HRC team will field Chase Sexton as its sole 450SX rider this weekend, along with 250SX East Region points leader Jett Lawrence.
The following press release is from Honda:
Roczen to Pause 2022 AMA Supercross Campaign
On-track performance has suffered as Roczen dealt with health issues
The German will take time off to see specialists and work on recovery
TORRANCE, California—Along with his team and family, Team Honda HRC rider Ken Roczen has decided to take a break from the 2022 AMA Supercross series. Roczen won the January 8 Anaheim 1 season opener in convincing fashion, but his results since then have suffered as he struggles with health issues. With the strains of the hectic racing schedule complicating progress, Roczen will withdraw from the series indefinitely, beginning with this weekend’s Detroit round.
Roczen has dealt with the effects of the Epstein-Barr virus since recovering from serious injuries in 2017 and ’18, although he has made progress at different times – including after sitting out the entire 2020 AMA Pro Motocross series. He was stricken by an unrelated illness at the end of calendar-year 2021 but was nonetheless able to take a surprise win at the first event. Unfortunately, he hasn’t felt like himself since then, a situation that was compounded by a bout with COVID-19 just after the January 22 San Diego round. Roczen hasn’t been able to put the issues behind him, and rather than risk a downward spiral in health and morale, he and his team have made the difficult decision for him to withdraw. During his hiatus, Roczen will seek professional treatment from specialists he has worked with in the past, including some in Europe. His exact return date will depend on how that process goes.
“The continued support of Honda is just second to none,” Roczen said. “I couldn’t be more appreciative of how we work together as partners and make these decisions together, even when they’re really difficult. I owe them a championship, and that’s my focus going forward.”
“I’m sorry to see Ken in this situation,” said Brandon Wilson, Manager of Sports & Experiential at American Honda. “He proved at Anaheim 1 that he still has the speed to run with anyone, but the strains of this sport are such that expecting to compete at a disadvantage isn’t realistic. Ken has so much heart and wants to be out there, but that’s not in the best interests of anyone involved with things as they are. Health comes first, and we know that time off has helped him in the past. Ken is a part of the Honda family, and I’m happy he is taking steps to improve his situation. Everyone here is behind him as he works to return to the level where we all know he deserves to be.”