When Germany's Ken Roczen joined the Red Bull / KTM team to contest in the AMA Supercross Lites Class, he became the youngest rider on the Orange squad at 16-years old.
And now that the Western Regional Supercross Lites class will break for this weekend's Supercross race at Reliant Stadium, Texas, before heading to the East Coast, the young Roczen has a chance to compete in the premier class aboard the KTM 350 SX-F.
The former MX2 rider had ridden the 350 SX-F while practicing with teammates Andrew Short and Mike Alessi, and KTM wants Roczen's feedback on the premier-class machine after Texas SX.
Roczen, who took a podium at Anaheim II last Saturday, is also managed under reigning champion Ryan Dungey's previous TM, Roger DeCoster.
Ken Roczen (KTM Supercross) says: "I feel comfortable on the 350 SX-F and am excited to ride the bike and continue my training and racing when the series heads to the east coast. I didn't want to stop racing just because the Lites series took a break and this is a way for me to continue to race and keep in shape."
Roger DeCoster (KTM Factory Supercross Team Manager) says: "This is our first year racing the 350 SX-F in Supercross and we are eager to get feedback from all racers. We know Ken (Roczen) very well and value his feedback on the models and know that his feedback along with Short and Alessi's will help to improve this model to be at the top step of the podium."
"KTM is making aggressive moves into the motocross market and the more we can race the machines, the sooner we can see results."
On Jan. 1, KTM Racing welcomed Roczen to the SX team. The teen made an indelible impression on the MX2 World Championship in 2010 after he finished in second place behind his now KTM teammate Marvin Musquin.
After warming up in the AMA SX competition, Ken will return to Europe to race alongside teammate Jeffrey Herlings as the Red Bull Teka KTM Factory Team fields two of the best young riders in the World Championship MX2 competition.
Roczen, who burst onto the senior scene for several races in 2009 as soon as he passed the age limit, is expected to set the track on fire this year. In his first full season in the 2010 competition he sent out plenty of signals that he will be a force to be reckoned with.