#2 Cooper Webb (Monster Energy Yamaha):
Would I have thought a 4th place finish for Webb was impressive entering the season? Probably not. Truthfully, this kid had/has a lot of expectations, and his results in the opening two rounds were disappointing. I wanted to be patient with him, given it was his rookie season and all, but my patience was wearing thin.
Well, good news folks, patience is no longer needed! Webb is back! He was within the top 3 fastest in practice, and was just a few seconds away from a podium finish at Anaheim 2. What makes his ride the Most Impressive in my opinion is how much he rebounded and improved from the following two weeks. I had lost a lot of hope for Webb, but he proved to all of us that he still has the speed to race near the front.
Webb got a great start in Anaheim, but appeared to fade a bit in the opening laps. However, he definitely regrouped and finished a very strong ride to grab 4th. Not only that, but he held off pressure from a train of fast riders behind him (Peick, Grant, and Reed), and was even catching up to Seely in front of him by the end of the race. The mental ability to regroup after disappointing races the prior weekend, and to ride calmly and comfortably near the front of the field in Anaheim, is very impressive indeed.
I expect Webb to continue improving form here on out, and definitely to be on the podium at least once by the end of the season.
Cover photo from Racer X Online