Indianapolis podium sees Red Bull KTM's Cooper Webb take 450SX championship lead

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Cooper Webb mastered one of the most technically challenging tracks of the season to leap into the lead of the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship points, as he and his team-mate, Aaron Plessinger, finished third and fourth respectively at Indianapolis. In the 250SX Eastern Regional Main Event, Tom Vialle fought hard to a P8 result.

After posting the sixth-fastest qualifying time, Webb and his 2023 KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION charged to the front of his 450SX Heat race early on. The ever-motivated 27-year-old led the first two laps, but dropped two positions in the nine-lap outing, before a small error on the final lap saw him finish fourth.

In the Main Event, two-time 450SX champion Webb powered his Red Bull KTM into the top three through the first turn and wasted no time moving into P2. A minor mishap in the tough, deeply-rutted whoops saw him drop a position, but he hung onto the rear wheel of the rider in front of him and finished with an important third-place result, claiming the championship points lead in the process.

Cooper Webb: “To come away from Indy with the red plate is a great accomplishment. It’s still tight, but it was a great night for the points battle. Looking at my actual race, I’m a bit disappointed, as even though I was in the mix, we didn’t execute to race for the win. It’s a long season and tonight was about finding that balance between risk and reward because the track was so brutal. I lost a bit of pace at the end, but we’ll take this result and move on to the next round with the red plate.”

After registering the ninth-fastest qualifying time, Plessinger and his 2023 KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION put in a strong Heat race. He found himself inside the top three off the start, but kept the pressure on, passing for position toward the end of the Heat to finish with a confidence-inspiring runner-up result.

Despite a mid-pack start to the Main Event, Plessinger was one of the biggest movers in the field as he adapted to the technical, constantly evolving track. Plessinger’s relentless riding saw him move from eighth to fourth throughout the final encounter, finishing with another positive haul of points as the season hits the halfway mark. He's currently seventh in the points chase.

Aaron Plessinger: “I love coming to Indianapolis and it was a fun day, all-in-all. I felt good in my Heat and was able to make the pass for second in the whoops, which had me feeling confident going into the Main Event. I got off to a mediocre start in the Main, but I tried to ride smart and pushed my way to fourth, where I stayed for the rest of the race. After last weekend’s disappointing ninth result, I wanted to get back up there this weekend and get that momentum back, and I felt like I did that tonight. On to the next one!”

250SX East tonight saw Vialle post the seventh-fastest qualifying time, then launched his 2023 KTM 250 SX-F to the front of the field in his Heat race. The two-time MX2 World Champion was in second position on the opening lap, however, gave up two positions in the opening laps to finish a comfortable fourth.

It was a frustrating Main Event for Vialle, who found himself fighting in the middle of the pack for most of the race. The French rookie gradually worked his way from outside the top 10 up to seventh, before a mistake as a result of the deteriorating track conditions saw him drop to ninth. Refusing to give up, the 22-year-old clawed himself back into an eighth-place finish as the checkered flag flew.

Tom Vialle: “An eighth-place result isn’t my best result and I could’ve done better, but I had a bad start in the Main Event. I felt like I had a good rhythm and pace over the first few laps as I passed a few guys up to seventh, but then I had a small crash where I lost a lot of time. I’ve never ridden Supercross on dirt like that, and I’m learning a lot about racing different tracks and dirt this year. I need to improve and get more experience, but that will only come with more races. I feel like my speed is there, but I need to put it all together – I feel like it’s only a matter of time before I get a podium result.”

Next Race: March 18 – Detroit, Michigan

Results 450SX Class – Indianapolis
1. Ken Roczen (GER), Suzuki, 27 laps
2. Justin Barcia (USA), GASGAS, +0.739
3. Cooper Webb (USA), KTM, +8.852
4. Aaron Plessinger (USA), KTM, +19.436
9. Justin Hill (USA), KTM
11. Josh Hill (USA), KTM
16. Kevin Moranz (USA), KTM

Standings 450SX Class 2023 after 9 of 17 rounds
1. Cooper Webb, 202 points
2. Eli Tomac, 201
3. Chase Sexton, 189
7. Aaron Plessinger, 154
11. Justin Hill, 87
17. Josh Hill, 54
20. Kevin Moranz, 33
29. Marvin Musquin, 11

Results 250SX East Class – Indianapolis
1. Hunter Lawrence (AUS), Honda, 21 laps
2. Nate Thrasher (USA), Yamaha, +7.970
3. Jordon Smith (USA), Yamaha, +15.288
8. Tom Vialle (FRA), KTM

Standings 250SX East Class 2023 after 5 of 9 rounds
1. Hunter Lawrence, 125 points
2. Max Anstie, 103
3. Nate Thrasher, 93
8. Tom Vialle, 68