With the 2019 race season quickly approaching, it’s time to bring you up to speed on how the paddock will look come Anaheim One. Over the next few weeks, we will share updates and background on the top racers and teams, including the staff members, gear deals, equipment, and other important information.
For 2019 the Red Bull KTM team will field two riders, Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin, aboard the latest generation of 450 SX-F motorcycles with support from WP, Akrapovic, Renthal, DeCal Works, Acerbis, Dunlop, D.I.D., Motorex, Twin Air, Neken, Hinson Racing, Brembo, MotoMaster, Pankl, and Nihilo. Due to Roger DeCoster’s recent promotion that now puts him over all of KTM/Husqvarna/WP competition in North American, Ian Harrison has now been assigned as Team Manager.
2. Cooper Webb
Mechanic | Carlos Rivera
Following the fulfillment of a contract with Yamaha that introduced him to the 450 class, Cooper Webb has inked a two-year deal with Red Bull KTM. This is a project that was a long time in the making, as it was widely known that KTM pursued Webb when he was transitioning out of the 250 class at the end of 2016. With this new deal, Webb will work under the Aldon Baker program and has relocated to Florida to ride and train at the Clermont compound.
Webb’s 2018 season was marred by injuries even before it began, as he came into the Monster Energy Supercross season with a damaged ankle from a late December practice crash. Even with the issues, he hovered around the top-ten through the first five rounds (10-12-10-8-7) and then scored 19th after a run-in with Ken Roczen in San Diego. After the poor finish of San Diego, Webb strung together solid results that included a podium finish at Daytona (6-4-6-3), only to be forced out of Saint Louis following a mid-week practice dislocated his shoulder and then a broken lower leg in a crash in Minneapolis. The recovery for the tibia and fibula kept Webb off the track through the first five rounds of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, but he was able to finish in the top-ten through thirteen of the fourteen remaining motos (issues in the mud during Moto One at Unadilla resulted in a sixteenth place finish). With all of the issues and results, Webb finished ninth overall in both the SX and MX championship standings.
Webb made his debut with the Red Bull KTM team at the 2018 Monster Energy Cup. He was sixth fastest overall in the timed qualifying results and finished sixth in Race One, nineteenth in Race Two (crashed with Tyler Bowers), and ninth in Race Three for twelfth overall.
Webb’s look will remain the same for 2019 with Bell helmets, 100% goggles, Thor MX gear, and Alpinestars boots.
25. Marvin Musquin
Mechanic | Frank Latham
Marvin Musquin enters the final year of his current contract with Red Bull KTM (signed in 2017 and runs through 2019), but like Tomac and Roczen who are also in the same position, we expect a contract extension with KTM to be announced at some point in the year.
Musquin came into 2018 as the top rider at KTM and a title favorite for both the Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Things started off well with the Main Event win at Anaheim One but the first setback came at round two when a crash in the Houston whoops injured Musquin’s shoulder and forced him out of the Main Event. Anaheim Two was a point-salvaging night and thirteenth place finish, but Musquin was back to form by round four and never finished outside of the top-five for the rest of the season. Eleven total podium finishes that included three wins in the closing rounds allowed Musquin to shrink the points margin between himself and Jason Anderson, a rider that he once worked alongside at the Baker’s Factory until tension between the two resulted in a change for Anderson. Musquin’s season was highlighted by the aggressive last-lap pass in Foxborough on Tomac that saw many turn against the French rider. Undeterred by the criticism, he stayed in the hunt until the final flag at Las Vegas and finished second in the championship to Anderson by nine points.
Musquin was a model of consistency through the Nationals, as he was the only rider of the entire field to finish within the top-five in all twenty-four motos, even with an upper-body injury that was kept under wraps at Glen Helen at Thunder Valley. Unfortunately for Musquin, his steady points scoring motos did not include a high number of wins and his five race victories compared to Tomac’s fifteen was the deciding factor in the championship. For the third year of his career, Musquin went into the final round at Ironman with a shot at the title yet again came up just short, this time down sixteen to Tomac.
After winning the million dollar prize in 2017, Musquin lined up at the 2018 Monster Energy Cup as a favorite but faced issues through the second and third motos that resulted in eleventh overall (2-9-21). Musquin was slated to race the 2018 Paris Supercross and 2018 Geneva Supercross offseason events until a knee injury forced him to withdraw. No surgery was deemed necessary for the injury, but Musquin had to take time off of the motorcycle at a key point in the offseason training period. It’s said that this should not create an issue for the start of the 2019 season.
Musquin again stays with longtime sponsors Airoh helmets, 100% goggles, Leatt neck braces, Thor MX gear, and Alpinestars boots for 2019.