It was another exhilarating night for Team Honda HRC at San Diego’s Petco Park, as Ken Roczen emerged victorious from a thrilling battle and opened the AMA Supercross season with back-to-back wins. Roczen launched to a fourth-place start but rode his CRF450R into second place on the opening lap. The German stayed within striking distance of the leader, making multiple advances before successfully taking over at the 13-minute mark. He was kept honest throughout the remainder of the race but stayed composed, ultimately taking the checkered flag for the win.
Teammate Cole Seely got off the line to a top-10 start and advanced to fourth by lap two. He maintained that position until the halfway point before relinquishing two spots. With three laps remaining, Seely put together one last surge to regain fifth, which is where he finished.
Prior to the gate drop, Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen and Cole Seely, as well as Honda brand ambassador Andrew Short, attended a supercross pit party and autograph session at Motoworld of El Cajon. A sizeable contingent of fans came out too meet their favorite Red Riders.
With rain drenching the Southern California region for much of the week before the race, Team Honda HRC opted to take their training to dryer conditions in Arizona. Seely and Roczen spent two days at Motoland MX Park outside of Phoenix under the watchful eyes of Short and engine technician Lars Lindstrom.
Team Honda HRC was pleased to host Honda Racing Corporation Representative Director Keisuke Inomoto in San Diego. It was Mr. Inomoto’s first time attending a supercross race this season.
As had happened at the opener, precipitation leading up to the race forced officials to change the schedule to a rain format, eliminating the free-practice session. “It’s tough not getting a free practice,” Seely said. “We have a limited amount of time to learn the track already, so without that practice, we’re having to figure out the track while laying down our qualifying times.”
During the daytime qualifying sessions, Roczen was one of only three riders to drop into the 52-second mark, finishing third-fastest with a 52.772. With a mere .647 seconds separating the remainder of the top 10, Seely landed in ninth with a 53.701 second lap.
For the second consecutive week, Roczen and Seely were seeded together in 450SX heat 2. When the gate dropped, Roczen grabbed the holeshot and early lead, riding unchallenged to the checkered flag. Seely got off the line to an eighth-place start and quickly began moving through the field. By the end of the seven-lap race, Seely had moved up to fifth, and he was forced to transfer through the second semi, which he won.
This weekend, the Honda Red Riders head back to Anaheim for Angel Stadium’s second and final stop of the year. On Friday, the riders will take part in a dealer appearance at Huntington Beach Honda from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
Ryan [Dungey] kept me on my toes. The track broke down and it was really rough out there, but that's the fun part. I hope the fans enjoyed it. That's what they want to see—a battle for the win. I’m happy to be up here again—actually happier with this weekend's win than last weekend's. Another day in the books and I'm looking forward to next weekend.
Honda Racing Corporation