With the 2022 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship wrapping up this weekend, lots of rumors and questions are coming to light regarding the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Is Ken Roczen going to race? What about Cooper Webb, Max Anstie, Adam Cianciarulo, and Joey Savatgy? We round up some of the latest news with Pro Motocross about three weeks away from its May 28 start at Fox Raceway at Pala.
Cooper Webb to Sit Out Pro Motocross
Cooper Webb called into Kevin Kelly and David Izer’s DMXS radio show this week to talk about his supercross season. Since joining KTM in 2019, Webb is having his worst season aboard the team amidst several changes. Webb switched to a new trainer in Michael Byrne at the end of 2021 but then went back to Aldon Baker’s program mid-season after his results were subpar. Part of the issue with results has been the KTM Group teams (Red Bull KTM and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) working with an all-new generation 450 models. Webb feels like he had gotten the bike into a better place by mid season, citing his strong ride at Daytona, but then he crashed the next week and broke his hand. Later, he suffered a head injury and missed a race. Acknowledging his struggles on the podcast, Webb stated: “It has not been the greatest year, but it is character building is the way I like to look at it.”
“Yeah, it’s been tough,” he continued. “It’s been an adjustment and as far as not being able to perform to your standard or the past standard and dealing with adversity and how I’ve handled that I’m pretty pumped on myself. It’s something that I feel like it’s been a tough year. Every time we kinda get close to being back, an injury would come and later this year it kinda just kept happening. Whether it was on the bike stuff or off the bike stuff. One thing is for sure, I haven’t stopped that fight and I know what I got and there is plenty of fight left in me.”
The North Carolina native totaled 19 450SX main event wins from 2019 through 2021—and two 450SX Championships in ’19 and ’21—but he has not picked up a win in the first 16 rounds of 2022 as he sits in his longest win-less streak since his maiden win in 2019.
“The big thing for me is just all new,” Webb stated about the new KTM 450 SX-F. “Nothing translated from last year’s bike. I think there’s some areas that were improved a lot but then there were some areas that were maybe playing catchup on or improve that area. It’s tough when you’re unsure of yourself a little bit, you’re unsure of the handling of the bike or what it does. I think it was just a combination of stuff, being everything brand new: different engine, different chassis, different suspension, what works and what doesn’t.”
On top of his lack of comfort with the new machine, Webb has also been banged up physically, most notably from his get together with Chase Sexton at the Detroit Supercross where he suffered a fractured hand. The he had a crash during the week of the St. Louis Supercross where he hit his head and missed the 13th round. The defending champion has yet to land on the main event podium since a nail-biting second place at the ninth round Daytona Supercross. Rumors started in the paddock that Webb would sit out the 2022 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship this summer, and Webb confirmed that rumor with Izer. Here is what Webb had to say about this summer:
“We’re just taking it all for this year. Do this last race at Salt Lake and shoot for the best and try and be back on the podium and kinda just close the chapter on this year and go into next year with a clean slate and get back to 2021.”
“That was something the team and I kind of discussed. The injury I had with my head has been kind of a tough one. It was just something we got together as a group, with Aldon and everyone and just said, ‘Look, let’s regroup and get ready for next year.’ They pay me to win and go win championships and if I’m not able to do that physically or anything like that, we were all kind of on the same page of just looking at the future and taking some time to get the body back right. As of right now, I won’t be participating in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. Who knows, maybe later in the year I might do some races. I’d love to somehow be able to do des Nations, but we’ll see how all that goes.”
Webb confirmed with Izer this decision was made a few weeks ago, and he said the decision also factored in the potential of having Jeffrey Herlings coming to race in the U.S., which at the time a month ago seemed very likely. However, on Tuesday Herlings announced he would not be racing Pro Motocross in 2022—or any races as he will undergo two more surgeries on his feet and looks ahead to 2022 (Note: the Red Bull KTM will field Ryan Dungey and Antonio Cairoli in the 450 Class this summer).
Webb’s sole 450 Class Pro Motocross overall win came at the muddy 2019 Spring Creek National when he pulled off a surprising 1-1 sweep for the overall win. Webb ended the 2021 Pro Motocross season on a streak of three third-place overall finishes before claiming fourth in the 450 Class standings.
The two-time 450SX Champion also commented on his future and said the plan now is to return to KTM in 2023:
“Free agent as of now but we’ll be back on…we’re working everything out, but I’ll be with KTM next year, Red Bull KTM, yeah.”
Ken Roczen is Expected to Pro Motocross
Following a seventh-place finish at the Daytona Supercross, Honda HRC announced Ken Roczen would “withdraw from the series indefinitely,” starting with the tenth round Detroit Supercross in the next few days.
Roczen won the first main event of the season but finished 13-7-13-5-11-8-13-7 in the following eight rounds. Despite his strong ride at the opener, things unraveled quickly. It was expected Roczen would sit out the remainder of supercross, which has become the case. However, in a Honda press release after the Atlanta Supercross, the team confirmed the German native is “planning to return to action for the AMA Pro Motocross series.”
Here is what the team said:
“Ken Roczen made the drive from Florida with his family to cheer on Team Honda HRC. The German, who has been focusing on his health since the Daytona round, is planning to return to action for the AMA Pro Motocross series.”
Roczen posted clips of himself riding on April 19—the first videos of him on a bike since the Daytona Supercross in early March.
And he posted several days ago the team had put in five straight days of testing.
Remember, 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 a run at both supercross and motocross titles in 2021. Roczen finished third in the 450 Class standings last summer after a crash in the final moto of the year bumped Eli Tomac to P2. So, while Pro Motocross loses Webb this summer, it will gain Roczen back behind the gates.
As for Roczen’s future in the sport, his contract with Honda HRC is expiring at the end of this year and there is no new news to report on at that at the moment.
Others: Ferrandis, Cianciarulo, Anstie, Savatgy, and More
The 2021 Pro Motocross Champion had a rough start to supercross after a 16th at the opener, but he scored sixth, third, and fourth at the following three rounds. However, Ferrandis was one of the four factory riders injured at the Detroit Supercross as he tweaked his wrist. The French native and his team decided it was best for him to sit out the rest of supercross after only competing in the first ten rounds, so he could fully heal as he looks to defend his #1 plate in Pro Motocross. Ferrandis and his wife took time to visit home for the first time since COVID-19, but the Yamaha rider got back to riding in April and has been putting in work for the Fox Raceway 1 National opener.
After the Oakland Supercross, Savatgy announced he raced the second round with a torn ACL, which he suffered during the week. The #17 took to Instagram to announce he would undergo surgery and be out the remainder of supercross. However, rumors are Savatgy is aiming to be full healthy for Pro Motocross.
What about the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS team? When Savatgy was sidelined, lots of changes happened to the team…
The #12 was left without a ride when the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS team ran into issues with sponsorship and personnel following the Seattle Supercross. The team’s title sponsor, Rocky Mountain ATV/MC, pulled out of the team citing a breech of its sponsorship agreement. Reports became public that team owner Forrest Butler and his business partner Mark McKenzie, who owns the 83 Compound where the team and others such as Jett and Hunter Lawrence train, split ways. Butler was expected to continue racing under the original team name Butler Brothers MX, but although the riders and team members were on hand at the St. Louis Supercross, no one rode for the team that weekend and the team has not returned to the paddock since.
McElrath posted he was out for the St. Louis weekend as he still recovered from a concussion, and he has not lined up since. The North Carolina native announced on Instagram last week he was released from his contract “effective immediately,” so maybe we will see the #12 on the gates for Pro Motocross after all, but on a different team.
“I have officially been released from my contract effective immediately and I hope to see you guys at the races soon ❤️”
In a similar situation with McElrath, Anstie was without a ride when his team closed its doors. Hopefully the #34 can find a ride this summer and put in some solid results.
What are we hearing? Both Anstie and Savatgy have been rumored to possibly filling in for Monster Energy Kawasaki to fill the spot of Adam Cianciarulo for the 450 class in Pro Motocross.
Cianciarulo came into supercross with a shoulder injury that had him not at 100 percent health, but he pushed through to finish 11th and 12th at the first two rounds. He then dabbed his knee upon a wild exit in the whoops in practice at round three, and suffered a torn ACL in his right knee. Cianciarulo has told us he wants to take the proper time with this ACL injury, so he likely wouldn’t be back on the bike until July, which makes a return for Pro Motocross not likely. While Kawasaki didn’t fill in Cianciarulo’s spot in Monster Energy Supercross, we have heard Anstie or Savatgy could get that spot for the summer. Remember, Savatgy raced his 450 debut season with Monster Energy Kawasaki in 2019. With Anstie reporting today that “a few good options for outdoors never came together” we think the rumor mill is favoring that Savatgy will get this spot.
Rumors are that it's now Savatgy who will ride alongside Anderson in Kawi truck. Someone close to Kawi told me that they didn't think Joey would be up to speed from ACL so they thought Max was the pick. Either way, good to see another BBMX rider land a home https://t.co/7GZOMy7DmX— Steve Matthes (@pulpmx) May 5, 2022
Watch Jason Weigandt’s podcast with Cianciarulo from April:
For a few weeks, we had heard Red Bull KTM might add a second 250 rider alongside Max Vohland, who recently broke his thumb. Anstie, though, added that he did not turn down a 250 KTM ride. Not sure if that spot will be filled. We’re also hearing some other 250 teams might be adding to their ranks to fill spots for injured riders or just to bolster the lineup, such as Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha. Expect some news to drop in the next week as Monster Energy AMA Supercross comes to an end.