Red Bull KTM Factory Racing commenced the 2023 Pro Motocross Championship in style at Round 1 of the season, with 450MX riders Aaron Plessinger and Cooper Webb opening the outdoors with a pair of top-five finishes, as 250MX teammates Tom Vialle and Maximus Vohland earned P4 and P6 overall.
Plessinger opened his campaign with sixth position in qualifying. A spirited ride in the first moto of the day saw him work his way into fourth, before experiencing a fall while challenging for a podium, which ended in a charge to fifth place by race's end. Moto two saw a battle between teammates, with Plessinger securing fourth this time out ahead of Webb, sealing fourth overall for the day.
Aaron Plessinger: "It was an eventful day here, for sure. I was riding really good, but ended up going down twice in that first moto – I think Coop saw me five times and was probably wondering what I was doing. Went out in moto two and had a big battle with Dylan Ferrandis, probably should have executed a couple things better on my end to make a move, but stoked to come away with fourth and take the battle into Hangtown."
Making a welcome return to competition and Pro Motocross at the KTM Fox Raceway National following his series-ending injury in Supercross, Webb was quickly up to speed, riding to an impressive fourth-place result in the combined 450 Class qualifying sessions.
Webb put in a convincing ride in the opening moto of the season, battling teammate Plessinger for the majority of the 30-minute plus two-lap affair, before powering his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION into an eventual P4 finish. Webb would line up with confidence in the second moto, and landed a fifth-place result, placing him in fifth overall for the day.
Cooper Webb: "This was very, very last minute to race here, obviously with the injury being the main reason. Together with the team we got things done and last week was the first 30-minute moto I’ve done since 2021, so prep hasn’t been ideal, but today was solid for me, and I was really happy with it. We showed some speed, showed some potential and are ready to give it another shake in Hangtown."
In 250MX, dual MX2 World Champion Vialle made his AMA Pro Motocross debut at Pala onboard the KTM 250 SX-F, with the Frenchman posting the 16th fastest time in qualifying at the Southern Californian venue. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing contender would rebound in the opening moto of the day with seventh, before a strong start in the second moto saw him finish in third and claim fourth place overall for the event on debut.
Tom Vialle: "It was a difficult start to the day with 16th in qualifying, though we made some changes to get more comfortable with the conditions. First moto, I made some more improvements, and could manage a seventh place in that moto. Second moto, we made positive changes and I felt way better, so was able to get third place. I'm pretty happy with the day and my first National, we made great progression throughout the day between myself and the team – I was a bit sick coming into this round, so overall I’m happy to start my season like this."
Vohland posted a quick time in qualifying that would see him finish the session in second position, before going on to back that up in the first moto of the season, taking second place. A fall on the first lap of moto two saw him buried in the pack, though the number 34 would charge all moto long, and finish with ninth-place. Combining his scorecard across the day, Vohland delivered a solid P6 overall to begin his season.
Maximus Vohland: "Pretty happy with today. It’s always an achievement to end up on the box, even if it was for a moto, so it’s another stepping stone for me. I was really looking to get on the podium overall today, but qualified well, was fast in the first moto, and second moto I felt really good, just a couple of mistakes cost me. I felt I had everything it took today, just tangling with the rider in moto two really hurt, but I’m stoked to be headed to my home race in Hangtown next week and we’ll fight for a podium."
Next Race: June 3 – Hangtown, California
Results 450MX Class – Fox Raceway National
1. Jett Lawrence (AUS), Honda, 1-1
2. Chase Sexton (USA), Honda, 2-2
3. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA), Yamaha, 3-3
4. Aaron Plessinger (USA), KTM, 5-4
5. Cooper Webb (USA), KTM, 4-5
13. Dante Oliveira (USA), KTM
22. Christopher Prebula (USA), KTM
27. Jeffrey Walker (USA), KTM
35. Gabe Gutierres (USA), KTM
Results 250MX Class – Fox Raceway National
1. Hunter Lawrence (AUS), Honda, 3-1
2. Haiden Deegan (USA), Yamaha, 6-2
3. RJ Hampshire (USA), Husqvarna, 1-11
4. Tom Vialle (FRA), KTM, 7-3
6. Max Vohland (USA), KTM, 2-9
22. Josh Varize (USA)
25. Derek Kelley (USA)
29. Max Miller (USA)
31. Slade Smith (RSA)
32. Marcus Phelps (USA)
34. Tyler Stepek (USA)
Standings 450MX Class 2023 after 1 of 11 rounds
1. Jett Lawrence, 50 points
2. Chase Sexton, 44
3. Dylan Ferrandis, 40
4. Aaron Plessinger, 34
5. Cooper Webb, 34
13. Dante Oliveira, 15
23. Christopher Prebula, 2
Standings 250MX Class 2023 after 1 of 11 rounds
1. Hunter Lawrence, 45 points
2. Haiden Deegan, 37
3. RJ Hampshire, 35
4. Tom Vialle, 34
6. Maximus Vohland, 34