2018 Anaheim Supercross Press Conference

Kit Palmer | January 5, 2018

2018 Anaheim Supercross Press Conference – The 2018 supercross season is officially here. Angel Stadium of Anaheim today hosted the traditional A1 press conference, which gave many of the major teams a chance to show off their new bikes, graphics, gear and, in some cases, riders.

2018 Anaheim Supercross Press Conference

2018 Anaheim Supercross Press Conference
Chad Reed admitted that he’s not 100 percent going into the new season, but Eli Tomac says he’s ready to go. Photography by Kit Palmer

The room was jammed packed with media and industry people; the racers who were invited to attend included Ken Roczen, Eli Tomac, Jason Anderson, Blake Baggett, Cooper Webb, Marvin Musquin, Westin Peick and Chad Reed. This year’s conference did not have a defending champion on stage now that Ryan Dungey is retired, which he made official right after the 2017 supercross season. Of the group, Reed is the only past supercross champion.

Roczen, of the Honda HRC Team, took most of the questions. And most of them concerned his comeback from his serious arm injury suffered nearly a year ago at Anaheim 2. Roczen, who, once again, wore a suit and tie for the presser, has not raced since his big crash but re-confirmed that the arm is as healed up as it’s ever going to be which he feels is good enough to go racing and shoot for a supercross title with.

“I’m ready to have fun out here…I’m definitely going to be in there [near the front of the pack] because I know the work that I’ve done,” said Roczen who added that he also has experience on his side which will help him get through the opening round and back into top form, but he admitted that he’s never been off the bike for so long.

2018 Anaheim Supercross Press Conference

2018 Anaheim Supercross Press Conference
Today’s press conference was jammed packed.

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac comes into the championship with a bitter taste in his mouth because of the way the 2017 season played out at the end—narrowly missing out on the championship by a few points. Had the new 2018 points scheduled been adopted last year, Tomac would be going into this year’s season as the defending champ.

“This year is about minimizing mistakes,” Tomac said. “That sounds easy but it’s a lot harder to do.” He added that he and the team had a good November and December and is one hundred percent healthy.

Some might feel that Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin is the rider with the target on his back right now after having such a successful off-season, much of which was spent racing—and winning—in Europe and even Stateside. But he also feels that he’s learned a lot from being Dungey’s sidekick for so many years on the Red Bull KTM team. Basically he said that to be successful you not only have to be fast but consistent, as well.

2018 Anaheim Supercross Press Conference

Jason Anderson has won Anaheim 1 before. He’s a good candidate to do it again.

The veteran of the group, of course, is Reed who is basically racing this year on a private Husqvarna but feels confident that he can still be a player in the championship. He said that he likes his new Husqvarna FC 450, saying that it reminds him of his 2012 Honda. Reed, a 16-year veteran of the sport, has a goal of becoming the oldest rider to win a supercross which he will accomplish if he gets to the checkered flag first sometime this year. He also wants to have the most supercross starts. Mike LaRocco currently holds both records.

Reed is coming off a serious ankle injury, though; he recently just started riding again. He’s only been on the bike three or four times since getting the okay from his doctor to ride again and openly admits that he’s coming into the 2018 supercross series “not fit and a little overweight” compared to usual at this time.

Monster Energy/Knich/Factory Yamaha’s Cooper Webb is starting his second year in the 450SX, so he is no longer referred to as the rookie. Webb, who was sidetracked by injuries last year, says he’s fit and ready to go racing again.

“The new 2018 Yamaha YZ450F fits my style a lot better and I feel the best I’ve ever been,” said Webb.

Afterward, the riders suited up and took to the track for a quick warm-up session (but it was mainly a photo op for the press), including some of the teammates that did not appear in the conference, including Justin Barcia, Cole Seely, Broc Tickle and Dean Wilson. CN

2018 Anaheim Supercross Press Conference

2018 Anaheim Supercross Press Conference
Ken Roczen dressed up again for the occasion.
The 2018 season begins with a fresh look.
Chad Reed on his new Husqvarna.
2018 Anaheim Supercross Press Conference
Jeremy Martin will begin the season in the 450SX on a Geico Honda then will focus on the 250SX East Championship.
It looked like old times with Justin Barcia on the factory Yamaha again. He’s filling in for the injured Davi Millsaps.
2018 Anaheim Supercross Press Conference
Cooper Webb is no longer a rookie.
2018 Anaheim Supercross Press Conference
The big question: How will Ken Roczen and his arm survive the first race?

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Kit Palmer | Editor Kit Palmer started his career at Cycle News in 1984 and he’s been testing dirt and streetbikes ever since – plus covering any event that uses some form of a knobby tire. He’s also our resident motorcycle mileage man with a commute of 120 miles a day.