Roczen, Sexton and the Lawrence brothers on Red Bud

For the fourth time in the four AMA Pro Motocross races held thus far this season, Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence posted a podium overall finish in the 250MX class, this time during Saturday’s round at the iconic RedBud National in Buchanan, Michigan. The popular young Australian rode his CRF250R to the victory in moto 1 and overcame moto 2 crashes to tally third overall on the day, retaining the red plate that signifies leadership in the title chase. Brother and teammate Hunter Lawrence was fourth overall in the same class, while 450MX teammates Ken Roczen and Chase Sexton were fourth and sixth overall, respectively.

In the 250MX class, the first moto at the Michigan venue saw both Jett and Hunter start well and finish strong, in first and third, respectively. In moto 2, the brothers both suffered poor starts and completed lap 1 outside of the top 10. Jett made a mistake and crashed on the second lap, placing him outside of the top 30, but both he and Hunter made their way through the pack to finish fourth and sixth, respectively, earning Jett third overall and Hunter fourth.

In 450MX racing, Roczen enjoyed a decent start in the first moto and led nine of the 16 laps, eventually securing a strong second place, less than three seconds behind Dylan Ferrandis. Unfortunately, the German was penalized two points for mistakenly jumping on a red-cross flag. Moto 2 saw Roczen suffer a hard crash on lap 7 while running third, but he quickly remounted and finished in sixth place, for fourth overall. Sexton suffered a first-turn moto 1 crash, forcing the Illinois native to charge through the pack for an eighth-place moto result. In the day’s final race, Sexton completed lap 1 in sixth and eventually finished fourth to earn sixth overall.

Ken Roczen: “I was excited coming into RedBud for Fourth of July; it’s always a special race and the fans always go wild. We had a pretty decent couple of qualifying sessions. I ended up going fifth to the gate, which was totally fine; I felt pretty good on the track and was ready for the moto. In the first moto, I think I was third after the start and just kind of worked my way up there into second right away and made a move on [Aaron] Plessinger and was leading most of the race until about two laps to go. I kind of lost my rhythm a little bit. The track is really hard-packed underneath and soft on top, so it was really tricky to ride. It just wasn’t really my best performance, but at the same time I was okay with the second place. I got passed there with a couple of laps to go and tried to hang on behind [Dylan] Ferrandis and tried to make a pass back, but it just wasn’t enough. I was looking forward to the second moto. Moto 2 was kind of like when everything came undone. I was battling really hard to get to the front. I was in third and [Eli] Tomac was leading and Plessinger was second. I made my way past Ferrandis and just sat in third for a while trying to see what the race gave me. I had a bad case on [LaRocco’s] Leap, as Plessinger’s roost slowed me down so much. I hurt my wrist a little bit, but then a couple laps later I fell right after the leap. I tucked the front end, had a pretty big get-off, and my bars were a little bent. I’m glad I was able to finish at least in sixth and minimize the points damage. We’re healthy leaving RedBud and I’m just looking forward to prepping for next weekend’s race.”

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Chase Sexton: “I started off pretty good–qualified third and felt pretty good on the track. Moto 1 I went down in the first corner but ended up coming from 40th to eighth. I felt good; I had good speed and good lines. Second moto I got an okay start, around 10th, made some good passes and stayed in fourth. It was kind of a mediocre moto for me; I just didn’t feel comfortable on the track and made a few mistakes. We’ll be back in Southwick. We’re going to go home, work on the bike and myself, and come out better for the next round.”

Jett Lawrence: “The bike setting in the first moto wasn’t good. I had RJ [Hampshire] charging, and if he got me, I didn’t really have any ammo to fight back. Between motos, my team did a great job making some adjustments that made the bike work better for me, but I just didn’t give myself a very good chance for winning or even getting myself into a good position. I came from 37th to sixth, so I think that’s pretty good. I definitely made a lot of passes, maybe the most passes of the day. I think if you look at the result it sucks because I lost three points, but you have to look at the positives; it was a strong ride, and I felt like there’s not many other people in this class that could do that.”

Hunter Lawrence: “My weekend wasn’t bad; it wasn’t great, but we’ll take it. We went 3-4 moto scores for fourth overall. I missed out on the box by two points. That second moto I was in a ‘do or die’ position to catch J-Mart [Jeremy Martin] and make that pass. I was pushing to make up a lot of ground on him, coming from a pretty bad start, so I was ‘damned if I did, damned if I didn’t’; I had to risk it and push. I ended up laying it down and got back up, managing to finish in a position where I was chasing down fourth. All in all, I’m really happy with how the team worked together to make changes on the bike for the second moto, which benefited us a lot. It maybe wasn’t a moto-score result, but as far as my feeling on the bike, and everything else, we left better than what we started in the first moto, so I’m happy with that. RedBud was awesome. That was my first proper Fourth of July RedBud experience, so it was pretty cool. I also checked something else off my bucket list; I really wanted to scream ‘RedBuuuuud’ into the microphone. I hadn’t been able to do that until today, so that was cool.”

Erik Kehoe: “Jett and Hunter both had a strong first moto, finishing first and third. Unfortunately, the second-moto start didn’t go as well, as they both came around lap 1 outside of the top 10. Jett then crashed on lap 2, which placed him outside the top 30 at that point. Both brothers worked hard all the way back into the top six by the finish, giving Jett a third-place overall finish for the event, while big brother Hunter was fourth overall. Ken had a good start in moto 1 and led nine laps in the middle of the race before finishing a strong second. Unfortunately, he was penalized two championship points for making a mistake and jumping a tabletop jump after a safety flag was displayed to protect a downed rider on the track. In moto 2, Ken had a hard crash on lap 7, putting him back to sixth place, where he settled in at the finish, earning him fourth overall for the day. Chase’s first moto didn’t start off well, as he crashed in the first turn, but he was able to charge all the way back to eighth place by the finish. His second-moto start was better as he was able to pass into fifth place by lap 2. Finishing a strong fourth in moto 2 helped Chase earn sixth overall for the day.”

Words and images: Honda