One of the bigger storylines in Monster Energy Supercross this year has been the performance of Ken Roczen. After winning Anaheim 1 in early January, the German Honda HRC rider has fallen off the proverbial cliff. Since that win, his best finish is a fifth, with a trio of runs outside of the top 10s along with. Furthermore, Roczen simply hasn’t looked like the same rider on the eye test from a year ago. Now, on Saturday afternoon, Honda HRC announced that the former two-time Motocross Champion will be out for the foreseeable future to get his health in order.
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Honda HRC Press Release
The big reveal in this release was that it was revealed that Roczen caught COIVD-19 after San Diego Supercross. Which can definitely explain the dip in performance recently. This section of the release dives into this a bit more.
Roczen has dealt with the effects of the Epstein-Barr virus since recovering from serious injuries in 2017 and ’18, although he has made progress at different times – including after sitting out the entire 2020 AMA Pro Motocross series. He was stricken by an unrelated illness at the end of calendar-year 2021 but was nonetheless able to take a surprise win at the first event. Unfortunately, he hasn’t felt like himself since then, a situation that was compounded by a bout with Covid-19 just after the January 22 San Diego round.
Roczen hasn’t been able to put the issues behind him, and rather than risk a downward spiral in health and morale, he and his team have made the difficult decision for him to withdraw. During his hiatus, Roczen will seek professional treatment from specialists he has worked with in the past, including some in Europe. His exact return date will depend on how that process goes.
Roczen, although briefly, was there to give a few words as well.
“The continued support of Honda is just second to none. I couldn’t be more appreciative of how we work together as partners and make these decisions together, even when they’re really difficult. I owe them a championship, and that’s my focus going forward.”
When Could Roczen Be Back?
As for when the No. 94 could be back on the gate, unless his recovery goes better than expected, that may not be until 2023. Most likely, Roczen won’t be back for Supercross at this point, and there were rumblings before the season began he may be Supercross only like in 2020. In any event, Chase Sexton is now a One Man Show under the HRC rig for the time being.
Will We Ever see Roczen on a Honda Again?
Despite Roczen saying he feels indebted to give Honda a Championship, he is slated to be a free agent at this time. With Steve Matthes continuing to speculate that he is unhappy with the current CRF model last week. Putting that together with his contract situation and expected free-agent class, there is a chance that Daytona was Roczen’s final outing with Honda. While him re-signing with Honda isn’t out of the question, keep an eye on Red Bull KTM. He won the 450 Motocross title in his lone premier class season there back in 2014 for what that is worth.
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Main Image via Honda HRC