AMA SX: Full Speed Ahead; Roczen Looking to Grab Second Straight Win in Oakland

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AURORA, Ill. – official series release – AMA Supercross photo –

Three races into the 17-race Monster Energy AMA Supercross and RCH Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John’s Factory Suzuki’s Ken Roczen has made a big statement towards determining the 2015 series champion.

The sophomore German 450SX Class competitor has earned a pair of wins in three races, including an undefeated record at Angel Stadium, and brings a double-digit points lead into this weekend’s first of two visits to California’s Bay Area at Oakland’s O.co Coliseum.

For the first time in 2015, Roczen did not lead the opening lap of the 450SX Class Main Event, but he took over the top spot by lap two and checked out on the field to lead the final 19 laps of the 20-lap race. Through three races Roczen has led 52 of 60 laps (87 percent) and carries a 12-point lead into this weekend’s visit to the bay, which will present the most unique track conditions of the season thus far.

“I feel great about this weekend,” said Roczen. “I’m going to keep doing what I’ve been doing and work on getting my body better. I’m still not 100 percent but it felt great to get another win last week at Anaheim and I’m going to fight hard again when we get to Oakland.”

Roczen’s RCH Racing teammate Broc Tickle capped off arguably the strongest effort in team history in Anaheim by earning a season-best fifth-place finish. Tickle capitalized on a strong start to put himself in front portion of the field early and maintained a consistent pace to put two Suzukis inside the top-five.

“I’m really looking forward to racing in Oakland this weekend,” said Tickle. “I got the second win of my career in Oakland and I love the dirt there. That’s one reason why I like it. The year I won, it rained a little bit so it was wet and sloppy. I’m just really looking forward to it. I’m coming off a good weekend at Anaheim so I’m going to keep on focusing on my starts and keep doing the things I’ve been doing. The goal this weekend is to back up Anaheim.”

Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey also grabbed his best result of 2015 with a runner-up effort behind Roczen. Dungey faced a multi-second deficit to the points leader and was closing in until the pair hit lappers. While he was hopeful to put the KTM on top of the podium, Dungey asserted himself into second in the 450SX Class standings with the result and is feeling confident coming into Oakland.

“I know I still have some work to do, but I was a lot happier with this result,” stated Dungey. “I was happy to be on the podium and one step closer to that top spot.”

Continuing the trend of season-best efforts, Red Bull KTM rookie Dean Wilson overcame his slow start to the season by breaking through with a solid top-10 effort in Anaheim. The Scotsman fought hard with a large group of riders throughout the Main Event, and in the end he brought home an eighth-place finish to get his momentum headed in the right direction. Wilson finished second in the 250SX Class a year ago in Oakland, nearly coming away with a victory.

The impressive start to his 450SX Class career continued for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jason Anderson. While it wasn’t the result Anderson was ultimately hoping for in seventh, considering he was forced to overcome getting caught up in a crash on the opening lap it was the kind of resilient effort to be proud of for a rookie. Anderson sits third in the 450SX Class standings and took the win in Oakland last season in the 250SX Class.

“My night in Anaheim was not too good but it was alright,” said Anderson. “Practice was just normal but when it came to game time I felt like I was up there and then I just had some unfortunate luck. I’m just going to try and keep moving forward and doing what I’m doing.”

GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac continued his climb from a 20th-place start to the season by securing his second straight podium result in Anaheim, just one week after earning the first 450SX Class win of his career. Tomac started deep inside the top-10 but found a way to move forward, ultimately settling into third behind Dungey and moving up another three spots in the points standings to fourth.

“I want to work on putting myself in a better position early on,” Tomac said. “I’ve learned that the Heat Race finish is super important to how the Main Event goes. Knowing that, I need to be more aggressive if I am further back in the pack in those heats. I think the Oakland race will be a good challenge for everyone. It could be a game-changer for the season as well. I’ve had success there before and I’m hoping for similar results again. At this point, podium finishes and wins are almost a necessity.”

Team Honda’s Trey Canard had a difficult night in Anaheim that was marred by a pair of incidents with Chad Reed. While battling for fourth, Canard made contact with Reed off a jump and took both riders down. After remounting, Reed made contact with Canard again, forcing the Honda rider to the ground for a second time. With his bike banged up, Canard charged through to the finish and salvaged an 11th-place result. He now sits fifth in the 450SX Class standings.

All together, Anaheim was a frustrating night,” said Canard. “Once again, I didn’t get the start I was hoping for, but I was riding well. I made some good passes and was working my way forward. I was behind Chad Reed, and when he went outside in that one corner, I figured he’d go outside again. I carried too much momentum and landed on him, going down really hard. I got back up and was adjusting my goggles when out of nowhere I got hit and crashed again. I tried to get it together at the end, but it was too late to do much. It was a frustrating night, but I feel like I’m riding good and am healthy, so I’m thankful for that.”

Canard’s rookie Team Honda teammate left Anaheim as the highest finishing rider for the squad. Seely’s season has gotten off to a sluggish start, but he was a fixture inside the top-10 in Anaheim, ultimately finishing sixth. It was Seely’s best result of 2015 and he closed in on the top-10 in points.

“It was good to finally get a result that I earned. Even with the crash, I came back from tenth to sixth, so I feel I dealt with the nerves better and rode really well overall,” said Seely. “I hit all my marks each lap, and my fitness was there until late in the race. I did get into an incident with another rider, and I feel like there are better things to do out there than take each other out. I was pretty furious when I got off the ground, but I kept riding well. I feel like I have a really good base to build off of now. It’s a stacked field out there, and we’re all going really fast. It’s a lot to think about, but I handled it a lot better this weekend.”

Autotrader.com/Toyota/Yamaha’s Justin Barcia was in need of a strong run in Anaheim and he appeared to be the rider to beat after topping the charts in practice. In the Main Event the third-year rider got shuffled to deep inside the top-10 but he put on a charge and climbed his way into the top-five, narrowly missing out on the podium in fourth. It was Barcia’s best finish of the season and moved him into sixth in points.

Fellow Autotrader.com/Toyota/Yamaha rider Weston Peick was hoping a broken foot wouldn’t keep him from building off a career-best finish the week prior. However, after attempting to ride through the pain in practice Peick was unable to continue and will be sidelined for the time being. Phil Nicoletti is set to replace Peick.

BTO Sports KTM’s Andrew Short got another strong start in Anaheim, but he crashed hard on the opening lap. While Short was able to walk away, he did record a DNF and now sits ninth in the 450SX Class standings. He’ll look to bounce back on Saturday.

“It’s not the way you want to end a night,” said Short. “I hit the deck hard but I am at least healthy. The team is working hard and will come back to fight another day.”

Short’s BTO teammate Justin Brayton also endured misfortune, and it will cause him to miss races. Brayton crashed hard in the whoops early in the night and suffered a multitude of fractures, keeping him on the sidelines for the time being.

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Davi Millsaps put himself up front early in the Anaheim Main Event, leading the first lap, but after a few laps the veteran began to lose positions. Millsaps fought hard throughout all 20-laps and was able to bring home a top-10 result in ninth.

“I’m ready to get to Oakland,” said Millsaps. “I had a tough night in Anaheim and am looking forward to a football stadium. We keep makes moves in the right direction. We’re here to win.”

Discount Tire Racing/TwoTwo Motorsports’ Reed was given a black flag in Anaheim following his second incident with Canard. As a result, Reed was disqualified from the race and received no points, dropping to 15th in the points. Reed finished third in Oakland a year ago and will look to bounce back from Anaheim in a big way.

CREDIT: AMA Supercross

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