INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Red Bull/KTM Factory rider Ken Roczen had the best and worst night of his season after leading the AMA Supercross Lites main event at Lucas Oil Stadium through the first half of the race before a big crash cost him the win.
Roczen had a great qualifying time in the morning practice sessions to earn first gate pick for heat number one. He got off to a 5th place start and quickly went to work cutting through the field into the front of the pack. By the start of the second lap he was 3rd and a few turns later he had moved into 2nd behind Darryn Durham. Roczen quickly reeled Durham in and the two swapped the lead on the final lap with Durham just edging out Roczen for the win.
In the main event, Roczen finally received the start he needed as he pulled the holeshot around the first corner. He battled with Blake Baggett for the first two laps before making the pass for the lead stick. He quickly stretched out his lead and had a 1.3 second gap over Baggett by the fifth lap. Unfortunately, it was on the fifth lap that the AMA officials put out the red flag instructing all riders to return to the start line.
The official AMA rulebook states that if the race is red flagged after 3 laps then the riders will start in a staggered fashion based on the running order they crossed the finish line in on the lap prior to the red flag. Since Roczen was in the lead at the time, he was able to start in the front of the staggered line. Although the AMA rule for the staggered start has been in place for quite some time it is the first time in professional racing history that they have used it.
At the wave of the green flag, Roczen launched off the line and quickly pulled out front to gain back the lead he had. Two laps into the restart, Roczen made a small mistake coming around a corner and crashed. His bike was damaged in the crash and he had to return to the mechanics area for a quick fix before returning to the track. He reentered the race over a lap down and despite turning fast lap times throughout the duration of the race he finished 19th.
After the race Roczen commented, “I’m not sure what to say about tonight. It was a crazy night. I haven’t crashed in a main event all season and I am really bummed that my only main event crash came while I was leading. I know I am riding well right now so I will just regroup and hope to get my first season win in Toronto.”
Next Race: Toronto, ON – March 24, 2012
Results Supercross Lites East Indianapolis
1. Blake Wharton (USA), Suzuki, 28:22.830 min (15 laps)
2. Darryn Durham (USA), Kawasaki, +3.900 sec
3. Justin Barcia (USA), Honda, +4.200
4. Blake Baggett (USA), Kawasaki, +14.239
5. Jake Canada (USA), Honda, +18.427
9. Les Smith (USA), KTM, +35.873
13. Shane Sewell (USA), KTM, +45.758
14. PJ Larsen (USA), KTM, +46.735
16. Ken Roczen (USA), KTM, 14 laps
18. Kelly Smith (USA), KTM, 14 laps, +5.635
Standings Supercross Lites East after 5 of 8 rounds
1. Barcia, 120 points
2. Durham, 98
3. Wharton, 97
4. Baggett, 80
5. Roczen, 80
9. Malcolm Stewart (USA), KTM, 42
10. Larsen, 38
13. Smith, 34
16. Sewell, 28
18. Lance Vincent (USA), KTM, 21
26. AJ Catanzaro (USA), KTM, 7
27. Shane Starling (USA), 6
32. Sean Hackley (USA), KTM, 3
Ken Roczen (D, 18 years)
Roczen on the KTM 250 SX-F
K-Roc only 16th at Indy after first crash of the season in the main event