Dramatic round of racing sees Suzuki rider bounce back to snatch victory from Savatgy.
Pipes Motorsports Group Suzuki’s Ken Roczen has successfully defended his World Supercross crown, after a dramatic night of racing at the series’ final round in Melbourne.
Roczen entered the final round five points behind Mobil 1 Rick Ware Racing’s Joey Savatgy, but a 1-1-3 result from the three points-scoring finals saw the Suzuki rider regain control of the championship and again etch his name on the WSX trophy.
A tough second final meant Savatgy finished the round fourth overall, behind Mitchell Oldenburg (MotoConcepts Honda) and Dean Wilson (Fire Power Froth Polyflor Honda Racing).
Having set the fastest qualifying time, Roczen took the opening final win, with a 3.3-second victory over early leader Oldenburg.
It was Oldenburg who scored the holeshot from his MotoConcepts Honda team-mate Vince Friese, but Roczen quickly cleared Friese then charged past Oldenburg to the front of the field with a great inside pass midway through the heat.
A late pass on Friese saw Savatgy take third and ensure the points were tied up heading into the second heat, while Friese finished fourth.
Dean Wilson crossed the line in P5 after working his way from 10th early on.
Positions sixth through 10th were filled by Cedric Soubeyras (Team Bud Racing Kawasaki), Justin Brayton (Fire Power Froth Polyflor Honda Racing), Cade Clason (MDK Motorsports), Kyle Chisholm (Pipes Motorsports Suzuki) and Australian Rhys Budd (FXR Club MX Yamaha).
The WSX championship chips fell Roczen’s way in the second heat as he surged to a 3.4-second victory, while Savatgy was taken down in the first turn and had to claw his way back to 10th.
It was Friese who claimed the holeshot, but Gregory Aranda (Team GSM Yamaha) slid into the lead on the second lap.
Aranda soon had to deal with a hungry Roczen, who’d quickly closed the gap and hit the lead halfway through the race.
Aranda crossed the line in second, with Oldenburg in third.
Wilson and Phil Nicoletti (FXR Club MX Yamaha) finished inside the top five, while Brayton, Soubeyras, Josh Hill (CDR Yamaha Monster Energy), Justin Hill (Team Bud Racing Kawasaki) and Savatgy finished inside the top 10.
A flat rear tyre caused Friese to drop down the order to 12th.
The final race of the night saw a new face light the candles, as Mobil 1 Rick Ware Racing’s Colt Nichols put in a solid performance to take the win.
Oldenburg scored his second holeshot of the evening, with Nichols in second, while Roczen (11th) and Savatgy (ninth) found themselves with plenty of work to do.
Both frontrunners set about dispatching the racers ahead of them, but it was a pivotal two-for-one pass on both Savatgy and Oldenburg halfway through the race that sealed the deal.
Roczen closed the gap on second-placed Wilson, but ran out of time, as Wilson crossed the finishline 2.16s behind Nichols.
Savatgy and Oldenburg finished P4 and P5, while Aranda, Friese, Justin Hill, Chisholm and Soubeyras filled the top 10.
Roczen’s 1-1-3 scorecard from the three points-paying races saw him claim the championship with 193 points to Savatgy’s 176 points, while Wilson’s performance saw him jump onto the series podium, with 167 points.
Detailed results to come.