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2021 Monster Energy Supercross Preview: How motivated Is Cooper Webb?

Drivers and analysts intricately involved in the Supercross scene reflect on 2020 and provide an in-depth preview of the 2021 season, as riders prepare to navigate and conquer a grueling 17-round schedule.

The start of the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross Season is less than a week away, and it is time to start asking questions.

There are many about the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross season.

Can the series seamlessly pick up where they left off in the midst of an ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic?

Having finally won his first, will Eli Tomac win another Supercross championship?

Can Marvin Musquin and Joey Savatgy restart in 2021 after losing 2020 to injury?

But the biggest question of all might be: Is Cooper Webb more dangerous as a rider who wants to regain the No. 1 plate than he was as the defending 2019 champion?

SUPERCROSS ON TV: Full NBC Sports schedule for 2021

“I’ve spoken to Cooper a couple of times in the offseason and you can’t even get into a conversation with the guy without him expressing his frustration and pretty much his disgust at losing that No. 1 plate,” racing analyst Daniel Blair said in an NBC Sports preview of the season (video above).

Webb’s 2020 season was forestalled by illness and injury. After starting the first few rounds with health concerns, he clawed back into contention as the series headed to Arlington for Round 8. Webb earned his first victory of the season at San Diego in Round 6. He finished second in Rounds 5 and 7 to trail the leader by just 11 points.

But his season almost ended there.

Riding a dragon’s back in the closing laps of the second A-Main of the Triple Crown Race, Webb was launched from his bike and thrown off course. He landed hard on his back and needed to be helped off the track by medical staff.

“That crash was probably the worst crash I’ve ever had,” Webb said in the Supercross preview. “I couldn’t feel my legs for a little bit, so that’s always a little scary.”

Soon after the crash, it was unknown if Webb would race again in 2020. He not only raced but stood gingerly on the podium the following week in Atlanta with a third-place finish.

“I thought it was over,” Blair said. “But a week goes by and he shows up. We go to Atlanta, and Cooper Webb pulls a Cooper Webb.”

He finished third again one week later on a physically demanding outdoor course in the frontstretch infield of the Daytona International Speedway.

The COVID break from early March until late May allowed Webb to heal completely. When the series returned to complete its season with seven races in Salt Lake City starting on May 31, he finished second. In Salt Lake City, Webb recorded three victories and three second-place finishes.

“Of all the guys I’ve raced as a former Monster Energy Supercross racer, Cooper Webb was one of the most intense and one of the most scary guys to race against,” said Josh Mosiman, associate editor of Motocross Action Magazine. “You can see by looking at his eyes that you don’t want to mess with this guy.”