Ken Roczen wins Indianapolis Supercross; Cooper Webb takes points lead
Ken Roczen kept his composure after losing 3 seconds in heavy traffic near the end of Round 9 in Indianapolis, holding off a determined charge by Justin Barcia to win his first Monster Energy Supercross since taking the checkers first in the opening round of 2022 in Anaheim. Riders lined up to congratulate Roczen as he bowed to his bike.
“This is the OG, punk rock style from back in the day,” Roczen told NBC Sports’ Will Christien while he held up the kickstarter from his Suzuki, which is the only bike in the field that does not use an electric starter. “This was such an amazing race. I can’t even talk right now. I had to grit it out to the end. The track was brutal and Justin was coming.
“I got screwed a little bit by lappers, but I just kept saying ‘one more lap, one more lap’ and we got it done.”
In a dramatic turn of events, the points lead changed hands with Eli Tomac struggling most of the night and Chase Sexton crashing as he attempted to pass Roczen for the lead. Cooper Webb was the only top three challenger to finish on the podium, but even with his strong run, the position was in question until the end. It took a last lap pass by Christian Craig on Tomac to make the difference.
After getting a terrible start, Tomac was mired in the pack for most of the race, exiting Turn 1 in 14th. He climbed as high as seventh until he got hung up behind a fallen Dean Wilson with time off the clock. That bobble cost him the championship point that now has him second in the standings. This is the first time in 2023 that the red plate has changed hands.
“I’ve got to look at the big picture; Chase made a mistake right in front of me,” Webb said from the podium. “I rode super tight. I was nervous. I Haven’t been like that in a long time, but this track was super brutal and it was risk versus reward. I knew I was in front of the guys I needed to be.”
Barcia caught Roczen in heavy traffic that included an improbable Sexton, who had the most podium finishes entering this race. Midway through the Indianapolis race, Sexton crashed as he challenged Roczen for the lead. On a deeply rutted course, Sexton’s foot pegs dug in and kept him from launching out of a jump. He fell from second to 12th, allowing Tomac to pass his way up to seventh at the time.
Once Barcia was clear of traffic, he made a charge on Roczen, but could not quite get the advantage.
“Whoa, that was a race,” Barcia told Daniel Blair. “Kenny rode awesome. I charged through the pack. The track was brutal and it kept me on my toes. My tank is empty right now.”
Aaron Plessinger in fourth and Jason Anderson rounded out the top five.
Adam Cianciarulo returned to racing after missing two races. He finished third in his heat behind winner Justin Barcia wins; Cooper Webb fell at the end.
The track was already deteriorating badly in the 250 Main. Hunter Lawrence lapped his way up to eighth and beat second-place by seven and a half seconds. This is Lawrence’s fourth win of the season. His other 2023 result was a third-place finish, which means he has been almost perfect on the season.
Lawrence was perfect for the night with a heat win of 1.4 seconds over Nate Thrasher after posting the fastest qualification lap and earning the holeshot in the main.
“We work so hard for these days,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Daniel Blair. “I want to dedicate this to a young Australian rider that lost their life recently, Brayden Erbacher. This one is for you, buddy.”
Finishing second, Thrasher was on a mission. One week after being sent to the ground with contact from Lawrence on Lap 1 at Daytona, he had a chip on his shoulder. It took a few laps to get up to second in his heat, but a red flag and subsequent restart closed the gap. Thrasher kept Lawrence honest for a time, but he progressively lost ground during the heat.
“I got off to a not-so-good start,” Thrasher told Will Christien. “Hunter was just a little bit better tonight. He was riding awesome; I’ve just got to be a little bit better.”
Thrasher climbed to third in the points with his runner-up finish and trails Max Anstie by 10.
Jordon Smith rounded out the podium, which is his third of the season.
“We work to win and when we get out there on that gate, nothing matters, especially on nights when we feel good and this was one of those nights,” Smith said. “I felt good all day and felt like I had the speed to win.”
Haiden Deegan crashed out of fifth with time running off the clock when he was caught up by a cross rut. He fell to seventh at the checkers one week after scoring his first podium.
The Heat 2 red flagged was for a crash involving Larry Reyes. He was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
2023 Race Recaps
Daytona: Eli Tomac extends Daytona record with seventh win
Arlington: Cooper Webb wins for second time, closes to two of Tomac
Oakland: Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael with 48 wins
Tampa: Webb gets first 2023 win
Houston: Tomac bounces back from A2 crash to win third race of 2023
Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Tomac wins opener for the first time
More Supercross coverage
How to Watch Indianapolis Supercross
Power Rankings after Daytona
Adam Cianciarulo returns at Indy
Jordan Jarvis blazes new trails in Supercross
Haiden Deegan’s podium, a family affair
Title 24 podcast premieres
Max Anstie: You can’t skip steps
Results and Points after Daytona
Eli Tomac extends record with seventh Daytona win
Last year’s Indy: Eli Tomac wins, widens points’ lead