Cooksey, Straight To The Point: Teammates Who Despise Each Other
The Houston round of Monster Energy Supercross Triple Crown had its fair share of excitement and drama. In the first race, Ken Roczen finally got a “moto” win. He wasn’t officially credited with a main event win, but crossing the finish line in any type of moto is a moral victory. Roczen got the monkey off his back...or at least now it's a spider monkey instead of a baboon. Unfortunately for Roczen, his win was followed by a huge crash in the first turn of moto two. I’m sure he is sore but should be alright.
Roczen has been fighting personal demons all year, and at times he has looked timid. Early in the season, it was clear Roczen was taking every precaution available to make sure he didn’t get injured again. At Houston, he looked to be charging hard and throwing caution to the wind. His second moto crash had everyone hoping his injuries weren’t serious. While it sucks to crash big, sometimes a crash like his can give a rider confidence. I know it’s strange but when you walk away from a big one without suffering any serious injuries, the crash gives confidence in the body’s durability. Much like when a football player comes back from an injury, everyone holds their breath until the player endures a couple of good hits and doesn’t shatter. Roczen came back and soldiered to an eighth-place finish in the final moto. He had a noticeable limp walking to the starting line before the final race, but this crash might be a blessing in disguise.
Now on to Webb and Musquin, and they're not playing nice anymore! It’s everyone for themselves in the KTM truck. Marvin Musquin is pushing hard and it’s resulting in mistakes. Webb is taking advantage of Musquin’s mistakes and is creeping toward his first 450 Supercross Championship. With 17 points between them, and only four rounds left, it’s doubtful Marvin can catch his teammate. In the first moto, Musquin was using the entire track but still riding clean. He was aggressive, but nothing unnecessary. Webb apparently didn’t share my opinion and went looking to put Musquin into the front row. While Musquin didn’t land in the front, Webb rammed him three times before finally knocking him off the track.
Let’s not forget these guys are more than just teammates, and that they train together at the Baker Factory. There is no way they can train together during the week after this battle. Why on earth would Musquin keep showing Webb how to go fast? Musquin is constantly the bridesmaid and if he doesn’t get it done this year, he probably won’t ever win a 450 Supercross Championship. Webb is younger and will likely have a couple more opportunities. If I was Musquin, I would tell Aldon Baker that Webb can’t ride with me anymore. I would go as far as to tell Aldon and KTM I would break his leg if he rides with me. Musquin needs to be selfish right now, and if the roles were reversed, I have no doubt Webb would kick Musquin out of the program. It’s nothing personal, but being in a position to win a Supercross Championship isn’t an opportunity presented every year.
Cooper Webb is dealing with a serious burn on his leg. In the untimed practice session, he crashed in the whoops and was trapped under his machine. Apparently, it burned through his pants and caused a severe enough burn that some in the KTM camp didn’t think he could continue. Cooper is one of the best at fighting through pain. Remember his last year in the 250 class when he fought through a broken wrist to win the West Coast 250 title? A burn presents an entirely different challenge as they are susceptible to infection. Will it heal enough to allow Cooper to maintain his regular training schedule throughout the last month of the season?
While Webb and Musquin play nice for the cameras their rivalry is authentic. Watching them before the postrace press conference was hilarious, they couldn’t get further apart. They both went to opposite sides of the room, but when the conference started they were very good at pretending not to despise each other. When it ended Webb took extra time to make sure he did not have to walk with Musquin. After the press conference, I asked Musquin’s rider coach David Vuillemin if he would allow him to keep riding with Webb. Vuillemin sounded frustrated while telling me, “Nobody knows what they do in Florida.” I honestly have no idea what he meant. Was he implying they don’t ride together or was he really telling me he doesn’t know what goes on there?
On the way out of the stadium, I ran into Ricky Carmichael and I asked him what he would do if he were in Webb or Musquin’s situation. To nobody’s surprise, Ricky said he would never train with a competitor, also adding that Aldon never allowed him to ride with competitors. It is clear that Webb and Musquin pushing each other has helped the team. Now that they have separated themselves apart from the field, they should put the “training partners” thing to rest until the season ends. We have four weeks of drama, so sit back and enjoy Webb and Musquin battle for the 2019 championship.
Chris Cooksey is life-long motocross enthusiast, racing professionally in arenacross, motocross and supermoto. Chris obtained his degree from Arizona State, majoring in business and communications. After college, Chris immersed himself in the business and social media aspects of the industry. Chris enjoys sharing his opinions. Sit back and enjoy the view from his perspective.