A Strong Finish for the Suzuki Teams Brings New Vibrance for Next Season
Brea, CA, September 25, 2023 – The inaugural SuperMotocross World Championship Final delivered great racing inside the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to wrap up the sport's first combined supercross-motocross series. The hybrid track stretched across the football field and looped out of the stadium through the venue's famous peristyle.
- Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki
- 450 Class
- Ken Roczen battled for the lead in both 450 motos. He earned the runner-up spot in the SuperMotocross World Championship and the series' $500,000 prize.
- 450 Class
- Twisted Tea Suzuki presented by Progressive Insurance
- 450 Class
- Freddie Noren delivered another top-ten result and moved up three positions in the World Championship's final standings for a $50,000 purse
- Kyle Chisholm had great speed and used the season Final to move up in the standings.
- 450 Class
- Toyota of Redlands BarX Suzuki
- 250 Class
- Dilan Schwartz had top-ten qualifying speed in both Saturday qualifying sessions and moved up in the season's final standings after the dust had settled on the final US race of 2023.
- 250 Class
Ken Roczen (94) wrapped up an incredible year with Suzuki. Roczen said in the post-race press conference that he's enjoying racing again and feeling great on his motorcycle.
Ken Roczen didn't let a red-flag restart slow his progress to the front of Moto 1; he ran to the front and led laps on the supercross-oriented hybrid track aboard his Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen delivered a second-place result and stood in good position to take the World Championship. In Moto 2 he charged forward from a sixth-place start to record another second-place finish to earn the runner-up spot in the inaugural SuperMotocross World Championship.
"We were pushing every inch of the track. It had some tacky areas but it was super pebbly and slick in others so you just had to be so careful, but you can't rest too much in the turns because you lose time," said Roczen at the press conference immediately following the race. "Overall I'm super stoked just to be able to be in the mix, be in the battle, and ride how I'm riding at the moment… A win would have been so nice, but I'm also, at the same time, still building… We still have a few races to go before Anaheim and for me, I'm just building every single weekend that I'm racing."
Freddie Noren (47) returned to the Suzuki team just before the motocross season and finished the year with a strong, top-ten ride.
Freddie Noren put his technical skills to good use on the slick and slippery Los Angeles track. He carded a top ten Moto 2 result and earned enough points for a top ten overall at the Final. The points that Noren earned moved his Suzuki RM-Z450 up three positions in the SuperMotocross World Championship’s final standings.
"I'm actually super pumped on the night," reported Noren. "I had a strong start in Moto 1 and rode really well. In the second moto, I started off the gate really well and came out through the corner in about the top ten. I'm really happy with my performance in Moto 2 and ended up eighth on the night and 11th overall in the Championship, which is great as well. I can't thank the team enough. They’ve really done an awesome job providing for me and trying to help me be the best racer I can be. I'm really thankful for that and stoked to finish the year out well."
Dilan Schwartz (85) was fast and consistent on his Suzuki RM-Z250 in the aggressive 250 class.
Dilan Schwartz showed top-ten speed in both of Saturday's qualifying sessions. In a turbulent end to a fiercely contested 250-class series, Schwartz kept steady and consistent and advanced one position in the final World Championship standings.
"The final round was fun!" said Schwartz. "I went 12-11 on the night for 12th overall so improved from last weekend, and that’s the goal. Overall it was a good season for me. I was injury-free all year and ended up with decent finishes in the overall points."
Kyle Chisholm (11) steadily improved from timed qualifying until the final moto of the season.
"I'm happy to end the season healthy and with a better performance. It's been tough not being able to ride and train like normal [with my knee issue]," said Chisholm. "Tonight was an improvement. I rode more like myself and ended up tied for 16th in points. That was good, but not exactly where I wanted to be. But all in all, despite dealing with my knee [issue], it's good."
"It was a really good race. The tracks that they've built for the SuperMotocross series have turned out to make competitive racing and I think the fans have surely enjoyed it," said Twisted Tea/H.E.P. Motorsports/Suzuki presented by Progressive Insurance Team Manager Larry Brooks, who was the first 250 class (125 class at the time) supercross winner at the venue back in 1985. Brooks went on to say, "Ken Roczen on the Progressive Suzuki finished second on the night, finishing second in every event of the SuperMotocross series, and finishing up second in the series. He rode really well, it was a good night, it was a good series, it was a good season. We came from a long way off at the beginning of the season to be one of the top competitors of every series. Every time he went on the track he was in contention to win. It was pretty impressive. The whole team, Ken himself, everyone worked really hard and it seemed to work out really well. On the Twisted Tea team, Freddie Noren finished eighth at the Coliseum and eleventh overall in the series, which was really good. Kyle Chisholm, who struggled with a knee issue all through the post-season, finished fourteenth on the night and finished seventeenth – tied for sixteenth – in the series. I think he should be proud of that. I think all our riders should be proud. I know that I'm proud of my team and my riders and we did a pretty good job putting Suzuki back up where we feel like they should be."
"Dilan has been getting better at each round," said Toyota of Redlands BarX Suzuki Team Manager Buddy Antunez, who also holds a 250 (125) class win inside Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum from 1990, aboard a Suzuki RM125. Antunez continued, "In Moto 1 he got a decent jump off the line and came out eighth. From there he didn’t show the speed he had in qualifying and fell back to 12th. In between motos, we made some adjustments to the bike I did my best to coach him on what needed to happen for moto two. When the gate dropped Dilan got a great start. He had his elbows up through turns one and two and came across the line in sixth. This was the start we had been waiting for. Dilan was pushing forward and making passes. On lap two he was trying to make a pass and got squeezed down a bit lower than he wanted and he slid out. He got back going in thirteenth, kept his head down, and pushed his way up to eventually finish 11th. He made good points at all three rounds and moved up one position to get 13th in the series. It was a very positive and exciting final three races of the series."
During 450 Moto 1 racing, with Ken Roczen just 1.8 seconds off the lead, broadcast announcer Leigh Diffey observed fans, "Think about the year that Ken Roczen has had. Remember the last off-season he was testing all kinds of bikes, and then decided to go with the HEP Progressive Insurance Suzuki."
The Suzuki teams enjoyed a successful season with a breakthrough win and strong showings at each Monster Energy AMA Supercross event, each AMA Pro Motocross event, and at the SuperMotocross World Championship Playoffs and Final. Most of the US team members now take a breath and a short break, then get back to work preparing for the 2024 race series. Ken Roczen's year isn't done. He'll compete as a member of Germany's Motocross of Nations team and will also continue his defense of his World Supercross title, where Roczen sits at the top of the standings after one round.
Suzuki Motor USA thanks the riders, race teams, its dedicated employees, and the RM Army race fans for a hugely successful 2023. The year showed great progress and Suzuki’s 2024 race season details, including rider rosters, will be announced soon.
For more team news please visit SuzukiCycles.com/Racing/Motocross and HEPMotorsports.com.
Photos by BrownDogWilson Photography