Cooper Webb and Red Bull KTM keep 450SX pressure on with second at Daytona

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb has maintained pressure in the 2023 AMA Supercross Championship 450SX title race, scoring his fourth-consecutive podium finish with second place at Daytona, as team-mate Aaron Plessinger rode to ninth. In 250SX East, Tom Vialle was in podium contention but ultimately ended his night with a crash in the Main Event.

Posting the seventh fastest time in qualifying, Webb was inside the top three during the opening lap of Heat 2. Swiftly making his way up to second, the two-time premier class champion narrowly missed out on victory at the conclusion of the outing onboard his 2023 KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION.

A strong start in the 450SX Main Event saw Webb charge to the early lead, setting the pace throughout much of the opening half of the race. Despite being regulated to second soon after, he kept his head down and rode to a commendable runner-up result, taking the checkered flag just 1.791s from the win. That finish sees him maintain second in the standings, just five points from the red plate.

Cooper Webb: “Daytona has always been good to me, I’ve been on the podium here every time I have raced and been close [to the win] twice now. It’s been good competition for sure, we [Webb, Eli Tomac, and Chase Sexton] each have our strengths and I think we are elevating Supercross at the moment. I am sure we will all look back in 10 years and relish it, but right now, it’s every man for themselves. Moving forward, I really like Indy, Detroit, Seattle, and Salt Lake, so a lot of good rounds coming up.”

A 10th-fastest qualifying lap provided Plessinger with a decent platform to launch into Heat 1 and showing solid pace throughout the race he worked his way up to fourth. The 2023 KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION rider was seventh after lap one of the Main Event, eventually finishing the race in ninth position.

Aaron Plessinger: “Daytona was looking to be fun and I enjoyed the track. I qualified 10th and it actually went pretty well – I felt good throughout the day. In the Heat race, I got an alright start and worked my way into fourth. In the Main Event, I got an okay start and was trying to move forward, but I lost my flow and kind of struggled throughout the rest of the main. We will go back, do some homework, figure out what I did wrong, and come out swinging for Indianapolis.”

Daytona marked the fourth round of the 250SX Eastern Regional series, with Vialle sixth fastest at the conclusion of qualifying, in his first visit to Daytona International Speedway. Grabbing the early lead in Heat 1, the French rookie onboard his 2023 KTM 250 SX-F went on to secure a solid P2 finish to commence the night show.

After a great start to the Main Event, Vialle’s maiden appearance at Daytona was unfortunately brought to a premature end when a heavy fall while running in second position ruled him out of contention. The double MX2 World Champion was unable to complete the race.

Tom Vialle: “First time for me in Daytona was pretty good, I felt great in the practice and qualified sixth. I had a great start, I was first in the Heat on the start and I finished second, felt good. I had another great start in the Main Event and when Hunter Lawrence passed me, I was sitting well in second position, but on lap three I tipped over on a triple – I landed a little bit short and just tipped over. For sure, that was frustrating because I feel like we could have delivered a strong result, but that is how it is and we are going to do a great week with training and be ready for next weekend.”

Next Race: March 11 – Indianapolis, Indiana

Results 450SX Class – Daytona
1. Eli Tomac (USA), Yamaha, 17 laps
2. Cooper Webb (USA), KTM, +1.791s
3. Chase Sexton (USA), Honda, +12.046s
9. Aaron Plessinger (USA), KTM
12. Justin Hill (USA), KTM
15. Josh Hill (USA), KTM

Standings 450SX Class 2023 after 8 of 17 rounds
1. Eli Tomac, 186 points
2. Cooper Webb, 181
3. Chase Sexton, 176
6. Aaron Plessinger, 135
14. Justin Hill, 73
17. Josh Hill, 42

Results 250SX East Class – Daytona
1. Hunter Lawrence (AUS), Honda, 13 laps
2. Max Anstie (UK), Honda, +9.127s
3. Haiden Deegan (USA), Yamaha, +24.514s
17. Jack Chambers (USA), KTM
22. Tom Vialle (FRA), KTM

Standings 250SX East Class 2023 after 4 of 9 rounds
1. Hunter Lawrence, 99 points
2. Max Anstie, 85
3. Haiden Deegan, 74
8. Tom Vialle, 53
26. Jack Chambers, 17