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Ken Roczen wins AMA SX season opener

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McElrath Breaks Through for First Career 250SX Class Win

The 2017 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM World Championship, opened to a sold out crowd of 45,050 fans on Saturday night inside Angel Stadium. Following the most high profile move of the offseason, Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen earned a dominant victory in his championship debut with the team, leading the entirety of the 450SX Class Main Event for his 10th career win.

2017 AMA Supercross - Round 1 Anaheim - Hoppenworld Image - Ken Roczen
2017 AMA Supercross – Round 1 Anaheim – Hoppenworld Image – Ken Roczen

In the Western Regional 250SX Class Main Event, Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM’s Shane McElrath captured his first career win, also leading the entire race.

2017 AMA Supercross - Round 1 Anaheim - Shane McElrath - 250SX
2017 AMA Supercross – Round 1 Anaheim – Shane McElrath – 250SX

The 450SX Class Main Event started with Team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Marvin Musquin narrowly edging out Roczen for the SupercrossLive.com Holeshot Award, but it was Roczen who emerged from the fray with the lead.

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac also pushed to the front and got alongside Musquin, but eventually settled into third. Defending Monster Energy Supercross Champion Ryan Dungey found himself as far back as eighth, but eventually put his Team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine into fifth.

Roczen was able to pull away early, and soon a battle for second ensued between Musquin and Tomac, with the Kawasaki rider assuming the position two minutes into the race. Just a short time later, Dungey, who moved up to fourth, closed in on the rear fender of his teammate, eventually moving into podium position.

The lead group stabilized for several minutes until Dungey erased his deficit to Tomac and made the pass for second. Tomac would continue to lose positions and eventually dropped off the podium, with Musquin reclaiming control of third.

Roczen took the checkered flag more than 16 seconds ahead of Dungey, for this third Anaheim opener win in four years. It ties him with Chad Reed and James Stewart for the most Anaheim opener wins of all time. He also becomes the first rider in history to win the Anaheim opener aboard three different brands of motorcycles.

Ken Roczen

“It’s like I’ve been saying [all[all week]m just bringing that much more focus [int[into the season] I’m super fit. I had a lot of fun out there. The track got rough, and since they tamed it down it helped out a lot once it got rough. We’ve got to keep our head on our shoulders, bottom line.”

2017 AMA Supercross - Round 1 Anaheim - Hoppenworld Image - Ken Roczen
2017 AMA Supercross – Round 1 Anaheim – Hoppenworld Image – Ken Roczen

Dungey’s runner-up effort equals his result from a season ago at the Anaheim opener, from which he mounted a run that carried him to a second consecutive title.

Ryan Dungey

“It was my first time back on the gate in a while but no excuses, I feel like we’re off to a pretty decent start. I’m happy with the ride and I’m excited to move forward this season. The track was rough and tough tonight, it would reach out and bite you if you weren’t careful. Kenny was riding really well tonight, I didn’t have anything for him. The start was key and you had to get out there and go right off the bat.”

2017 AMA Supercross - Round 1 Anaheim - Hoppenworld Image - Ryan Dungey
2017 AMA Supercross – Round 1 Anaheim – Hoppenworld Image – Ryan Dungey

Roczen will carry the red number plate into the next round as the points leader, holding a three-point lead over Dungey. Musquin meanwhile rounded out the podium in third, giving KTM two of three spots on the podium.

Marvin Musquin

“It feels really good to be on the podium tonight, especially at Anaheim I, it was big. I knew I was capable and it’s just really awesome to see the work that we put in while in Florida pay off. It was a tough track tonight so I’m really happy to be on the podium and I’m looking forward to making some more adjustments with the bike and continuing the momentum.”

2017 AMA Supercross - Round 1 Anaheim - Hoppenworld Image - Marvin Musquin
2017 AMA Supercross – Round 1 Anaheim – Hoppenworld Image – Marvin Musquin

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2017 Monster Energy Supercross – Round One – Angel Stadium – Anaheim, California – January 7, 2017
450SX Class Results
  1. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda
  2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM
  3. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM
  4. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna
  5. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki
  6. Cole Seely, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Honda
  7. Davi Millsaps, Cairo, Ga., KTM
  8. Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Suzuki
  9. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki
  10. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha
450SX Class Championship Standings
  1. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda – 25
  2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM – 22
  3. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM – 20
  4. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna – 18
  5. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 16
  6. Cole Seely, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Honda – 15
  7. Davi Millsaps, Cairo, Ga., KTM – 14
  8. Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Suzuki – 13
  9. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki – 12
  10. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha – 11
250

The Western Regional 250SX Class Main Event began with McElrath edging out Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Martin Davalos for the SupercrossLive.com Holeshot Award.

2017 AMA Supercross - Round 1 Anaheim - Hoppenworld Image - Shane McElrath - 250SX Winner
2017 AMA Supercross – Round 1 Anaheim – Hoppenworld Image – Shane McElrath – 250SX Winner

Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Dan Reardon followed the lead pair, but soon gave up the position to 51Fifty Energy Drink Yamaha’s Hayden Mellross, until Mellross was forced to pull off the track and out of the race. That allowed Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger to take over third.

The early pace by McElrath allowed him to open a gap over Davalos and the rest of the field, which he ultimately maintained through the remainder of the race. Davalos held on to second for the majority of the race, but Plessinger continued to close the gap until he ultimately made the pass with about six minutes remaining.

McElrath crossed the finish line just over two seconds ahead of Plessinger, who made a late charge. The KTM rider becomes the 103rd different winner in the history of the 250SX Class.

Shane McElrath

“That’s what we do during the week – practice with our teammates and try to race hard with people behind you pressuring you. It was tough to be consistent lap after lap – the track was pretty tough but when you make a mistake you just kind of shake it off and try not to let the nerves get to you. We definitely put in the work, we didn’t have high expectations but we knew what we had to do.”

2017 AMA Supercross - Round 1 Anaheim - Shane McElrath - 250SX
2017 AMA Supercross – Round 1 Anaheim – Shane McElrath – 250SX

McElrath became the 103rd different 250SX Class winner in history. Davalos followed McElrath and Plessinger in third.

For the first time in his career, McElrath will carry the red number plate as the championship leader next weekend. He holds a three-point lead over Plessinger.

[youtube[youtube id=”TM2EX36ZMZI” width=”560" height=”315"]The 2017 Monster Energy Supercross season continues next Saturday, January 14, with the second round from San Diego’s Petco Park.

2017 Monster Energy Supercross – Round One – Angel Stadium – Anaheim, California – January 7, 2017
Western Regional 250SX Class Results
  1. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM
  2. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha
  3. Martin Davalos, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna
  4. Mitchell Oldenburg, Alvord, Texas, KTM
  5. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki
  6. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda
  7. Dan Reardon, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha
  8. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki
  9. Jimmy Decotis, Peabody, Mass., Honda
  10. Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Honda
Western Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
  1. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM – 25
  2. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 22
  3. Martin Davalos, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna – 20
  4. Mitchell Oldenburg, Alvord, Texas, KTM – 18
  5. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki – 16
  6. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda – 15
  7. Dan Reardon, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha – 14
  8. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki – 13
  9. Jimmy Decotis, Peabody, Mass., Honda – 12
  10. Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Honda – 11

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