A fourth-place finish in the 450SX Main Event at round 13 of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship was a measured result for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb, as premier class teammate Aaron Plessinger charged to sixth position at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
After qualifying in fourth this morning, Webb was exceptional in winning Heat 1 of the day, but was affected by his start in the Main Event. The two-time champion completed lap one in P5, but lost crucial time to the leaders in the early stages and fourth was as high as he managed to climb by the race’s end.
Still, it was an important result that saw Webb marginally close the gap in the 450SX point standings, still positioned in second and now only six points in arrears with four rounds remaining aboard his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION.
Cooper Webb: “Atlanta Motor Speedway was an up-and-down day. Qualifying went really well for me, which was fourth, and then I won my heat race with a good start – I felt great! In the Main Event, I just didn’t get a start, had to make some passes, and was a bit far from the lead group, so I didn’t ride my best. I was a bit disappointed with that performance. At the of the day, we’ll go back this week, get better, aim to get back on the podium, and try to win in these coming races.”
Meanwhile, fellow KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION rider Plessinger qualified in ninth place, but endured difficulties in Heat 2 and was forced to go to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), which he won comfortably. With an outside gate-pick for the Main Event, he ended lap one in 11th and progressively moved forward from there, eventually finishing in a hard-fought P6. Plessinger remains seventh in the championship order.
Aaron Plessinger: “Atlanta started out pretty good. We got the bike dialed in practice, but there was something off with the feeling of my clutch in the heat – I ended up crashing and not making it directly into the Main Event. I went to the LCQ, won that and had some fun with the extra laps, but that led to me having the outside gate for the start. I had a decent start anyway, charged forward, and pushed hard, so it was a good end to a not-so-great day!”
It was a tougher day for dual MX2 World Champion Tom Vialle in the return of the 250SX East division, crashing out of the Main Event on lap one. His day started convincingly by qualifying in eighth and then scoring second in his Heat race riding the KTM 250 SX-F, before his afternoon unfortunately ended prematurely. The French rookie currently sits eighth in the standings.
Tom Vialle: “Today started well for me in finishing second in the Heat, which was a good result, but unfortunately I fell on the first lap of the Main Event and I wasn’t able to continue. It was disappointing to have the afternoon end like that, so we will will regroup and look forward to the Showdown next weekend.”