Sexton, Roczen and Lawrence at Glendale

The first AMA Supercross Triple Crown event of the season saw Team Honda HRC rider Chase Sexton finish third overall in Glendale, Arizona, helped by a first-place result in the last of three 450SX races, while teammate Roczen finished fifth overall. In the 250SX West class, Hunter Lawrence took his first win of the season with consistent 2-1-2 finishes.

Roczen ran in second early in the first 450SX race, but he slipped two positions before the finish. Meanwhile, Sexton suffered a couple of tip-overs and turned in an 11th-place result. Sexton and Roczen had their CRF450R race machines in the top five for the majority of the 12-minute-plus-one-lap second race. Sexton made smart passes for a third-place finish, while Roczen was sixth at the finish. Sexton secured the holeshot in the final race and built a four-second lead before eventually reaching the checkered flag with a 2.5-second margin. Roczen suffered a poor start and climbed to seventh by the finish.

Lawrence Honda

Lawrence was impressive all day in the 250SX West class, topping daytime qualifying aboard his CRF250R and charging hard in the night program. The young Australian battled over second in the first race, eventually securing the position. In the second race he avoided a dramatic incident involving Vince Friese and points-leader Christian Craig to take the win. The final race saw Lawrence complete lap one in third and then race to a runner-up finish, which was enough for the overall victory.

Ken Roczen: The Glendale Triple Crown was another rough one on my end. My starts were mediocre at best, and with those types of races, it’s tough to make something happen. I feel like I wasn’t riding like myself, and in general I wasn’t feeling comfortable out on the track. I’m still working to try and get everything together, but Glendale was definitely not it. I got fifth overall, so it was actually nice to make it through the mains without going down. We definitely need some work. I’m trying to get consistent during the week and gain some confidence, but we’re still figuring out the bike a little bit. We went back to my setup from last year; it’s good in some areas but also creates problems in others, and my starts with it weren’t that great. I’m still working on myself and with the team to bring it on the weekend. We haven’t really had the greatest test days during the week, so then going into the weekend and trying to be super-confident and trusting in my abilities is really tough to do. We simply have to be better, and we’re working on it. We’re going to go into another week of training, figure some stuff out and head on to Anaheim.”

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Chase Sexton: “The first race was definitely not pretty. I actually did the exact same thing when I was a rookie in the 250 class, in my first Triple Crown — got a good start and I think I crashed like three times. I was hoping not to replicate that, but I was having a hard time with the track and all day I was pretty much off. The second race I felt like I had a little bit more of a flow, and then the third race I pulled the holeshot and tried to sprint away. I was actually having fun again; it was nice being out front, able to control it. Obviously Eli didn’t have to win, so I knew that going in, but I just wanted to go out there and put my best foot forward, and I feel like that’s what I did. Any time you cross the finish line first, it gives you a bit of confidence. I felt like tonight I proved to myself that I can rebound and get back in it. It gave me a little boost of confidence, and now going into next week, it just makes everything easier.”

Hunter Lawrence: ”Great weekend here in Arizona! I had no idea what to expect going into it because it was my first Triple Crown. It was exciting with the three races, but at the same time I thought it was going to be tougher on the endurance side of things – it was really just three sprints. We worked on starting our day better, and we did so, going P1 in both qualifying sessions, and then winning the overall was awesome. It’s weird when you go 2-1-2; right off I didn’t feel like I actually won it because of the moto scores, but it was a crazy night. We ended up staying out of trouble for all three races, which rewarded us well! Massive thanks to the team! I’m looking forward to next weekend. Obviously I want to do it on a proper night as well – and I want to get a holeshot!”

Lars Lindstrom: “We came into this weekend with quite a few changes on all our guys’ bikes. We don’t want to stop improving or get complacent with where we’re at, even though we’ve had some success already. Hunter got some upgrades to his engine package and put it to good use by qualifying first overall, which is a huge accomplishment in my opinion, with having to race against Christian Craig and Michael Mosiman right now, who are both super-quick. The 450 class is stacked with talent right now, so qualifying fourth and fifth for Chase and Kenny put them in a good position for this Triple Crown format. Hunter put himself in a good position in every single race tonight and capitalized on some carnage in front of him to take his first win of the season, which was awesome for him and the team. I was very impressed that Chase was able to regroup after that bad first race and take the win in race three, for third overall. I think Kenny will be getting stronger in the next couple races and get back to where he should be, on the podium. We’ll keep working to do whatever we can to help him get there. This next week will be important for the team to prepare for everything we’ll need for the East Coast swing, which begins after the next race.”

Words and images: Honda