Images by Christophe Desmet
Cooper Webb skipped the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship this summer, spending his time getting back to his roots at some local races, and also becoming a father for the first time. His return to the big stage came a few weeks ago at Red Bull Straight Rhythm, and he was also racing at the Paris Supercross over the weekend.
Webb wasn’t at the level of the leaders, Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac, but he did improve a bit from night one to night two. Steve Matthes caught up to the 2019 and 2021 Monster Energy AMA Supercross champion after the race.
Racer X: I thought you were going to be on suicide watch after last night. Afterwards, we talked a little bit, and you were fine. Much better today. Good job today. If you hadn’t jumped off the track, you would have got third overall, which I think you would take. You’d be okay with it?
Cooper Webb: Yeah. I would be stoked with that. That was my goal kind of all weekend. Obviously, you always want to win. I’m not really to the level yet of where I should be. I just started riding supercross again like six weeks ago. I missed all summer not racing. We’ve been testing a lot, and you don’t know. You think that you fixed a lot of things, and I think we saw yesterday quickly that we still had a lot of work to do. But today was much better. We made some big changes on the suspension and that seemed to help me today. Still some room to improve, but like you said, I think I was in the mix. At least speed was pretty good. Still need some fitness, need some race intensity. Every time I got out there, I felt better and better, so I was stoked with that. I was on suicide watch a few times yesterday, but today we backed it up.
I’m guessing you just cross-rutted and went left?
I’m not quite sure what I did. I landed in the same line, and then went left.
I was going to say, the whoops were better for you and Marv today. Combination of suspension changes and they were smaller? Or do you think the suspension changes was really what did it?
I can’t speak for Marv because I don’t really know what he did. For me, I think the suspension improved the whoops. We were on something new every time I was on the track yesterday, which is shitty. But today we made big changes with the suspension. It’s always a gamble, but it paid off. I was able to actually just ride the same suspension all three main events, which is huge. That’s what the goal should be.
Just being in the fight today was probably way cooler for a guy like you. You were just in the mix.
Yeah. I think after yesterday, I knew. JB [Justin Brayton] he was so good. I swear this is the best I’ve seen him ride. I knew he was good in the whoops. I knew I always give up in the whoops, but today I just gave up in the whoops. Yesterday I feel like everywhere I was just shitty. Today at least my cornering, rhythms were back to normal. Whoops were better, but still I got work to do there.
I thought it was a tough track.
Yeah, the track was tough. It broke down. Just racing. I was telling Carlos [Rivera, mechanic], it’s one of those things, Aldon’s we ride with a lot of guys, but we ride with the same motorcycles. So, if we all struggle or we’re all doing something, we don’t know any better. It’s great practice, but I think we could see today the whoops speed that Kenny carried and JB, it’s just so incredible.
JB was hauling ass through those things.
It was good, though. We’re still six, seven weeks from Anaheim. It was a good test. I’m glad I came. I enjoyed Paris. Like I said, for me, I felt we had done a lot of work, but in my mind I feel like I knew we still needed more and this race kind of proved it. I’m happy for that. I would hate to show up to Anaheim and be like, we dropped the ball again.
I think if you’re you, you can say, look at 25, my teammate. Also not crushing the whoops. It’s not in my head. We’ve got some work to do. I think if you are the team, you can watch video and be like, yeah, we do. We have some work to do.
No, it will be good. We’ve got some tests coming up. I’ve never been great in the whoops on this KTM, but my cornering was horrible yesterday. Today I feel like at least I could corner again, and that’s something that is one of my biggest attributes, and when I can’t do that, it’s tough. So, I’m stoked even though the results weren’t… Sure, I want to win every time out there, but I think coming here and racing legit, badass guys was great, even if I did get beat. It is what it is. Anaheim is the big picture.
I got a text from Phil [Nicoletti] yesterday. Basically it was “What the ____ Coop?” In his voice. I got nothing from him today, so I think he was happier.
He harped me yesterday about the whoops. He just basically said how big of a ____ I was and ruined me, basically. He was like, “I’m not harping on you, but you suck and you should carry more entry speed and you should set it on the third [whoop]. I’m not trying to hear any excuses about the bike. Just ___ing hit it.” He says all that and then he says, “But I’m not harping you.”
[Laughs] Yeah and then he didn’t say anything today so he must be happier.
Or he was just hungover or something.