The 2016 Monster Energy Cup proved to be an exciting night of racing for Team Honda HRC, and although the overall results didn’t turn out as hoped, the squad was pleased with Ken Roczen’s and Cole Seely’s performances and is looking forward to the upcoming 2017 season.

Making his debut ride with the factory Honda squad, Roczen was a force to be reckoned with aboard the all-new 2017 CRF450R. When the gate dropped for the evening’s first of three races, the German scored the holeshot and led unchallenged to the checkered flag for a win. The second race looked as though it would be a repeat performance, but a mistake at the halfway point resulted in Roczen hitting the ground hard. Although unharmed in the crash, he was not able to remount and finish. In the final race of the night, Roczen returned to the line wanting redemption, which is exactly what he got. After taking over the lead, he never looked back and once again rode to a convincing win.

Seely also had a solid showing during his first race back from injury, finishing fourth overall with 6-5-6 results. While speeding down the elevated start straight in race one, Seely got tangled with another rider and was shuffled back to eighth. He worked his way into fifth but relinquished one spot when he took the Joker Lane on the final lap. Seely got a mid-pack start in the second race and ultimately took the checkered flag in fifth. During the last race, the No. 14 machine scored a fourth-place start and ran near the front before falling back to sixth, which is where he finished.

 

NOTES

  • On Friday, Ken Roczen and Cole Seely took part in the pre-race press conference along with other riders. After taking questions from the media, both Red Riders had the opportunity to get some time riding the track before the race.
  • During the daytime program, Roczen set the quickest time in qualifying practice with a 1:04.486 lap, while Seely was 10th at 1:06.663. In the first main event, Roczen’s 1:05.077 was the fastest lap of the race. Although he was unable to finish the second race, he did set the fastest time at 1:03.523. He then had the third-quickest time of 1:03. 852 while riding to a comfortable win in the final race.
  • With both riders debuting the all-new 2017 CRF450R, many Honda Racing Corporation staff were on hand, including Representative Director of Motocross Keisuke Inomoto, MXGP Director Junji Miyazaki and technical support staff Masa Hirashima, Naoki Serizawa and Akira Hosono.
  • For this event, Team Honda HRC sponsor Throttle Jockey created special one-off Las Vegas-themed items including bike-stand graphics, pit boards and limited-edition rally towels that the riders signed and handed out during their autograph session.
  • Andrew Short, who was recently named as an official Honda brand ambassador, was present at the race to provide feedback and support for Team Honda HRC’s effort. “Today was fun for me, and I definitely did a lot more walking than normal,” laughed Short. “I was really here to help the team with whatever they needed and provide support to Cole and Ken. From a rider perspective, I kind of know what they’re looking for in terms of strategy, line choice and how the race is going to develop, so just having an extra set of eyes and ears is always helpful. I also filmed practice, did some interviews down at the podium and attempted to help tear down the truck.”
  • Young Honda Red Riders also had a strong showing at the Monster Energy Cup, with Amsoil Factory Connection Honda rider Carson Mumford finishing second overall in the Supermini class via 3-2 results, while Cameron Mcadoo took the victory in the Amateur All-Star class aboard his Smarttop Motoconcepts Honda CRF250R.
  • Shortly after the final checkered flag fell for Team Honda HRC at the Monster Energy Cup, the green flag fell for fellow HRC squad Repsol Honda at the Motegi MotoGP round in Japan, where Marc Marquez scored the victory and earned his third premier-class World Championship, a feat that was greeted with enthusiasm by everyone on the MX team.
  • While many Team HRC members returned home to Southern California the day after the Monster Energy Cup, Team Honda HRC driver Donnie Keys continued east in one of the squad’s transporters, with Montgomery, Alabama, as his destination. That’s where the media launch of the 2017 CRF450R is set to take place this week, and the truck will provide hospitality. Other team members who will join Keys at the Monster Mountain MX facility include Brandon Wilson, engine technician Lars Lindstrom and support mechanic Jason Thomas.

 

THE FOCUS: Working as a Team

Although the night was a positive one overall for Team Honda HRC, it wasn’t without challenges. When Roczen went down hard in a rhythm section during race two, his bike was bent up enough that a number of technicians needed to work together in order to complete the repairs before the third main. In such situations, it is imperative that everyone work methodically and in a coordinated way, which is exactly what the crew did to get the No. 94 machine back on the track.

“We’re all here for a common goal,” explained team manager Dan Betley. “We had a lot of people here tonight but everyone knows their role and what they should be doing, not only throughout the day but in stressful situations. There’s a lot of experience on this team and everyone works well together so when problems arise, they’re quickly handled. We had a few little problems tonight and everyone came together to get that bike going for Kenny and get him back on the line for the last race. It was good to work with the new bike at a race like this before the season starts, and I can’t say enough about my guys. I’m pumped with our team structure right now, so I can’t wait for 2017.”

Cole Seely 14

Tonight was okay for me, although there were no real sparks of brilliance. It had nothing to do with the team or the bike, but more just me. Since I was released to ride after my injury, I’ve been hitting it really hard at the track, gym and on the bicycle, which has been going very well. I feel like I’ve been continuing to climb the past eight weeks, getting faster and faster until last week when I just hit a flat spot. I know it comes with training but it’s definitely a bummer on the timing. I spent this week trying to regroup and recover, which helped a little but I wasn’t 100% myself tonight.

Ken Roczen 94

Since we have a new bike and a new team, I thought it would be a good idea to come race here and get a feel for everything. The bike is great, so it’s been very easy to set everything up the way I like it, and the good thing is we haven’t really done all our big testing yet. We ended up having a good day overall. I grabbed the holeshot and pretty much checked out, which was absolutely amazing. We went into the second race and didn’t get a great jump out of the gate but snuck around the inside and I was able to get into the lead pretty quick. I was riding good but made a big error and got ejected from the bike. I’m glad that everything is okay and I have no injuries. I DNF that one but wanted to get out there to win the last race but do it safely. I made the pass on [Mike] Alessi a few laps in and just tried not to crash; the track was really sketchy and the wind made for bad conditions. Overall it was a great debut with the new team and the new bike, so we’re ready to do work now and come out swinging at Anaheim.

Keisuke Inomoto

Representative Director: Team Honda/ HRC Motocross

All in all it was a good night for us, with Ken Roczen winning two out of three main events. It was unfortunate that he made a mistake that cost him the win in the second race, but he rode great all night. It was also a good night for Cole Seely, as this was his first race back after his injury during motocross. The bike also performed very well and we were able to identify the areas that we need to work on so we will be ready for A1!

Dan Betley

Team Manager

As a team we came into this weekend wanting to see where we stood with our new platform in terms of the new bike, riders and overall team dynamic, and I have to say that we’re leaving pretty happy overall. Kenny won two of three races and was up front in all three starts, which is great, so he definitely could’ve won tonight. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, but thankfully he’s not injured. Cole has been working extremely hard since getting back on the bike, and tonight he was just a little flat. It’s a bummer, but I’d much rather see him going to bed tired every night from working hard and be burnt at this race than the beginning of the season. I know he’s better than what he showed tonight and I’m not worried at all because he looks awesome at the test track and has what it takes to win. We have solid settings to work off of and although we still need to do more work to make things better, considering it's a brand new bike we’re in a pretty great spot. I’m really pleased with the crew, and I’m excited. I think our future as a team looks extremely bright.

Rich Simmons

Mechanic (Cole Seely)

Tonight wasn’t good or bad, just average. It was Cole’s first race back since June so it was good for him to get a few gate drops in before heading to Sugo, Japan, next week. He never does great here for whatever reason, so I think it was more of a learning experience than anything.

Oscar Wirdeman

Mechanic (Ken Roczen)

Things started off great tonight. Ken won the first race, basically dominating with a margin of just under 10 seconds. He got another great start in the second race but unfortunately at the halfway point made a mistake in the rhythm section and had a pretty big get-off. I’m really happy he’s in one piece because that means the most. He was able to regroup and get a good start in the last race despite a bad gate pick, to pull off another win. We wanted to win the overall but fell a little short. Other than that everything was great today with this being our first race on a new team. We all worked great together and I think it’s going to be a good year.

Monster Energy Cup 2016
Race Round 1   Las Vegas

Main Event 1 Results

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Roczen Ken 94 GER 25 Team Honda HRC Honda
2 Tomac Eli 3 USA 22 Monster Energy Kawasaki Kawasaki
3 Dungey Ryan 5 USA 20 Red Bull KTM KTM
4 Musquin Marvin 25 FRA 18 Red Bull KTM KTM
5 Baggett Blake 4 USA 16 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS KTM
6 Seely Cole 14 USA 15 Team Honda HRC Honda
7 Reed Chad 22 AUS 14 Monster Energy/360fly/Chaparral/Yamaha Factory Racing Kawasaki
8 Alessi Mike 800 USA 13 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing Honda
9 Blose Benny 934 USA 12 Bloss Racing Yamaha
10 Schmidt Nicholas USA 11 TPJ.com/Fly Racing Suzuki
11 Friese Vince 45 USA 10 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing Honda
12 McElrath Shane 40 USA 9 Troy Lee Designs KTM
13 Smith Jordan 44 USA 8 Troy Lee Designs KTM
14 Albertson Jimmy 77 USA 7 Jimmy Albertson Racing KTM
15 Steinke Gared 726 USA 6 Motosport Hillsboro/Fly Racing Kawasaki
16 Chisholm Kyle 11 USA 5 Chisholm Racing Kawasaki
17 Raper  Deven USA 4 RJC Racing Kawasaki
18 Pipes  Dustin USA 3 TPJ.com/Fly Racing Suzuki
19 Tapia Tevin 211 USA 2 Team 3BR Suzuki
20 Gilmore Cody 374 USA 1 Yankton Motorsports Kawasaki
21 Scharer Brandon 154 USA 1 Yamaha/Yoshimura/Race Tech Yamaha
22 Alessi Jeff 801 USA 1 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing Suzuki
Monster Energy Cup 2016
Race Round 1   Las Vegas

Main Event 2 Results

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Tomac Eli 3 USA 25 Monster Energy Kawasaki Kawasaki
2 Dungey Ryan 5 USA 22 Red Bull KTM KTM
3 Musquin Marvin 25 FRA 20 Red Bull KTM KTM
4 Reed Chad 22 AUS 18 Monster Energy/360fly/Chaparral/Yamaha Factory Racing Kawasaki
5 Seely Cole 14 USA 16 Team Honda HRC Honda
6 Alessi Mike 800 USA 15 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing Honda
7 Baggett Blake 4 USA 14 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS KTM
8 Blose Benny 934 USA 13 Bloss Racing Yamaha
9 Smith Jordan 44 USA 12 Troy Lee Designs KTM
10 McElrath Shane 40 USA 11 Troy Lee Designs KTM
11 Schmidt Nicholas USA 10 TPJ.com/Fly Racing Suzuki
12 Friese Vince 45 USA 9 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing Honda
13 Albertson Jimmy 77 USA 8 Jimmy Albertson Racing KTM
14 Chisholm Kyle 11 USA 7 Chisholm Racing Kawasaki
15 Steinke Gared 726 USA 6 Motosport Hillsboro/Fly Racing Kawasaki
16 Scharer Brandon 154 USA 5 Yamaha/Yoshimura/Race Tech Yamaha
17 Gilmore Cody 374 USA 4 Yankton Motorsports Kawasaki
18 Tapia Tevin 211 USA 3 Team 3BR Suzuki
19 Raper  Deven USA 2 RJC Racing Kawasaki
20 Pipes  Dustin USA 1 TPJ.com/Fly Racing Suzuki
21 Roczen Ken 94 GER 1 Team Honda HRC Honda
22 Alessi Jeff 801 USA 1 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing Suzuki
Monster Energy Cup 2016
Race Round 1   Las Vegas

Main Event 3 Results

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Roczen Ken 94 GER 25 Team Honda HRC Honda
2 Musquin Marvin 25 FRA 22 Red Bull KTM KTM
3 Dungey Ryan 5 USA 20 Red Bull KTM KTM
4 Tomac Eli 3 USA 18 Monster Energy Kawasaki Kawasaki
5 Alessi Mike 800 USA 16 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing Honda
6 Seely Cole 14 USA 15 Team Honda HRC Honda
7 Blose Benny 934 USA 14 Bloss Racing Yamaha
8 Friese Vince 45 USA 13 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing Honda
9 Baggett Blake 4 USA 12 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS KTM
10 McElrath Shane 40 USA 11 Troy Lee Designs KTM
11 Smith Jordan 44 USA 10 Troy Lee Designs KTM
12 Reed Chad 22 AUS 9 Monster Energy/360fly/Chaparral/Yamaha Factory Racing Kawasaki
13 Albertson Jimmy 77 USA 8 Jimmy Albertson Racing KTM
14 Chisholm Kyle 11 USA 7 Chisholm Racing Kawasaki
15 Schmidt Nicholas USA 6 TPJ.com/Fly Racing Suzuki
16 Gilmore Cody 374 USA 5 Yankton Motorsports Kawasaki
17 Steinke Gared 726 USA 4 Motosport Hillsboro/Fly Racing Kawasaki
18 Scharer Brandon 154 USA 3 Yamaha/Yoshimura/Race Tech Yamaha
19 Raper  Deven USA 2 RJC Racing Kawasaki
20 Tapia Tevin 211 USA 1 Team 3BR Suzuki
21 Pipes  Dustin USA 1 TPJ.com/Fly Racing Suzuki
22 Alessi Jeff 801 USA 1 Smartop MotoConcepts Racing Suzuki
Location Information

Sam Boyd Stadium, East Russell Road, Las Vegas, NV, United States - View in Google Maps