Marking the second stage of the inaugural SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX), which combines both the recently-finished AMA Supercross Championship and 11-round Pro Motocross Championship before the SMX post-season, all four KTM riders will be READY TO RACE when the gate drops on the outdoors.
Two-time premier class Supercross champion and former 250MX champion Webb makes his anticipated return to Pro Motocross riding the KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION at this weekend’s opening round, having sat out the series last year. The 27-year-old was in contention for a third-career 450SX crown when a crash in Nashville ended his indoor campaign prematurely, however, he has been given a clean bill of health by doctors and is excited for the challenge ahead.
Cooper Webb: “I’m extremely excited to be lining up for the Pro Motocross series. I didn’t compete outdoors last year, so this will be my first time racing it since 2021. I’m super grateful for the team and I to be able to do it together and get back behind the gate. After my crash in Nashville, I’ve been able to take some time off and get fully healthy, cleared, and ready to go. Hopefully, I have some great results with the Red Bull KTM team this summer, we’ll see where it puts us and I can’t wait to see the fans again – I’m looking forward to getting back behind the gate!”
Also in the 450MX division, 27-year-old Plessinger has been focused on taking things outdoors in recent weeks and has made significant progress with the KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION during pre-season testing for Pro Motocross. The fan favorite, who is also a former 250 Class champion, finished seventh in the standings last year and has his sights set on challenging for the title from the outset in 2023. He’s coming off a convincing runner-up result at the final round of Supercross, two weeks ago in Salt Lake City.
Aaron Plessinger: “I’m looking forward to outdoors this year. The team and I have been working hard on the bike’s motocross setting and it’s really coming around now – I like the way it’s working and it should be a good summer. I’ve been waiting for outdoors ever since Supercross started and I can’t wait to get on the gate and show these boys what I’ve got! It’s a good opportunity to get out front and try to get a taste of this red plate, so hopefully we do that at Pala and move to Hangtown with the points lead. We’ve gotta get there first and see how we stack up, but I think we can do really good this year and be title contenders – I’m excited to get going!”
After finishing sixth in the 250MX championship one year ago, Vohland is confident that he can make an additional impact this season riding the KTM 250 SX-F. In his third year with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing competing at the professional level, experience is building for the 20-year-old and he is motivated to make this year count outdoors.
Maximus Vohland: “I can’t wait to get the outdoor season started! I really like racing outdoors, especially getting to go race at Hangtown, which is my home track. I have had a reasonably successful first couple of years, going ninth in my rookie season and sixth last year. My bike is working great, so I’m definitely ready to battle up front, be on podiums, and be in the championship hunt this year.”
There will be a lot of interest in French newcomer Vialle when the gate drops at Round 1, the reigning and two-time MX2 World Champion – who lifted the crown in 2020 and 2022 – due to commence his Pro Motocross career in the U.S. At 22, Vialle successfully completed the 250SX East series and enters the outdoors at 100 percent fitness, putting him in an ideal position to showcase his capabilities in a more familiar motocross environment onboard the KTM 250 SX-F.
Tom Vialle: “We just finished Supercross racing and had one weekend off, and now we start 11 rounds of motocross racing, starting with Pala this weekend. I am looking forward to the Pro Motocross series because it’s the kind of racing that I am used to and I raced a lot successfully in Europe. It is pretty different splitting the year up between two different racing series, because in Europe we just focus on one series for a whole year. But I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge and really excited for outdoors, because obviously, that’s the racing I know best.”
It’s a welcome return to a full rider line-up for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing after being affected by injuries in the latter stages of Supercross. The combination of Webb, Plessinger, Vohland, and Vialle is a competitive one, with the team working extensively in transitioning to Pro Motocross for the upcoming summer and motivated to strengthen its position leading into the three SMX events later this year.
Ian Harrison, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager: “I’m really glad everyone is in one piece and healthy, and that the team is able to put forward a full four-rider line-up for the motocross series given we had a turbulent last few rounds in Supercross. We have put in the hours as a team and made a lot of improvements to both our 250 and 450 motocross bike set-up during the off-season and think we are in a really good place to start the season off. The riders have done their work and all four look in good shape, so we should be ready come Pala’s opening round of the season this weekend.”
Source: KTM North America, Inc.