Honda Riders Dominate Both Classes at Opening Round of 50th Anniversary Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Fox Raceway
Chase Sexton Goes 1-1 in 450 Class, as Jett Lawrence Does the Same in 250 Class
PALA, Calif. (May 28, 2022) – After weeks of anticipation, the 50th Anniversary of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, officially kicked off with the Honda Fox Raceway I National, presented by Fox Racing, from Southern California’s Fox Raceway. Mostly cloudy skies and cool temperatures made for near-perfect race conditions, which resulted in a stellar afternoon of racing that saw the four-rider lineup for Team Honda HRC dominate all four motos across the 450 and 250 Classes. In the premier division, Chase Sexton posted the first 1-1 performance of his career, out-dueling teammate Ken Roczen, while Jett Lawrence kicked off his 250 Class title defense with a sweep of the motos, followed by his brother Hunter Lawrence in second.450 Class
The first 450 Class moto of the afternoon began with Roczen at the front of the field for the MotoSport.com Holeshot, followed by Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Shane McElrath and Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Eli Tomac. Roczen and Tomac quickly asserted themselves up front and established a multi-second lead, while McElrath lost third place to Sexton.
Roczen separated himself from Tomac through the first 10 minutes of the moto, while Sexton closed in on the Yamaha rider to initiate a battle for second. Sexton made quick work of Tomac and set his sights on the lead. The Honda teammates were separated by less than a second at the halfway point of the moto as a spirited battle for the top spot unfolded. A persistent Sexton eventually made the pass stick to seize control of the moto. Behind them, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Ryan Dungey, in his first start since retiring in 2017, made the pass on Tomac for third. A couple laps later, the position changed hands again as Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Christian Craig took the position from Dungey.
Sexton closed out the moto in strong fashion to capture the first moto win of the season, while Roczen helped secure a Honda 1-2, 15.8 seconds back. The battle for third intensified in the closing laps, but Craig held off a hard-charging Jason Anderson and his Monster Energy Kawasaki for third, while Dungey completed the top five.
The field stormed out the gate for the final moto of the day with Sexton back out front for the MotoSport.com Holeshot, followed closely by Roczen and Dungey, while Anderson went down fighting for a spot near the front and dropped well back in the field. A determined Roczen put the hammer down on the opening lap and went on the attack with his teammate, storming past Sexton for the lead as Dungey settled into third ahead of Craig.
Roczen sat firmly in control of the first half of the moto, but as the 15-minute mark passed Sexton started to erase the deficit and soon enough moved to within a few bike lengths of his teammate. Much like the first moto, the battle for the lead spanned multiple laps, as Roczen fended off the pressure. As the fight out front unfolded, Dungey lost positions to the Yamaha duo of Craig and Tomac, who moved into third and fourth, respectively.
Back out front, Sexton was able to make a pass stick on Roczen and grabbed the lead with just under 10 minutes to go. Roczen didn’t let up and responded to the pass by keeping the pressure on Sexton as they navigated through lapped riders. However, Sexton was simply too consistent over the final stages of the moto and carried on to complete the sweep of the motos by 4.5 seconds over Roczen, while Craig withstood a persistent challenge from Tomac to claim third.
The first 1-1 performance of Sexton’s career resulted in his third premier class victory at the same track in which he captured his maiden triumph at the final round of the 2020 season. Roczen finished in the runner-up spot with 2-2 finishes, while Craig captured the first overall podium result of his career in third (3-3).
Sexton now leads the point standings for the first time in his career and has established a six-point lead over Roczen, while Craig sits 10 points back in third.
Chase Sexton, Team Honda HRC
“It was a dream day for me. I think it’s one of the hardest things to go 1-1 but I felt great all day. I feel like I’m riding my best right now. I’m just stoked, this is a big day for me and I’m excited to get the points lead and start the summer like this.”
Ken Roczen, Team Honda HRC
“I fought hard. That was my game plan. I had some good lines and just hung in there all day. He (Sexton) is riding really well right now. The track was really tricky and really difficult, so we had to ride smart. I’m on a good roll right now and I just want to build momentum and keep it going.”
Christian Craig, Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing
“I’ve been robbed so many times for the overall (podium), so to finally get that one is incredible. It was even better to battle my teammate (Tomac) for it as well. To get my first podium at my home race is something special.”
Photos: Align Media
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (1-1)
- Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (2-2)
- Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha (3-3)
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (7-4)
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (5-5)
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki (4-8)
- Antonio Cairoli, Italy, KTM (10-6)
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (6-10)
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS (8-9)
- Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Husqvarna (11-7)
450 Class Championship Standings (Round 1 of 12)
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 50
- Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 44
- Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha – 40
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 32
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM – 32
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki – 31
- Antonio Cairoli, Italy, KTM – 26
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 26
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS – 25
- Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Husqvarna – 24
The opening moto of the afternoon saw Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper emerge with the MotoSport.com Holeshot ahead of Jett Lawrence and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawaski’s Seth Hammaker. Cooper paced the field for the first 10 minutes until Lawrence applied the pressure and made the pass for the lead.
Once out front, Lawrence easily opened a big lead over the field that he maintained through the rest of the moto. Behind him, teammate and brother, Hunter Lawrence, was making moves forward after starting fourth. He made the pass on Hammaker for third and then took over second from Cooper just past the halfway point.
The battle for third tightened up considerably in the final 10 minutes of the moto as Cooper was forced to deal with a collection of riders. He lost hold of third to Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s RJ Hampshire and continued to lose positions after that. That left the fight for third to be decided between Hampshire and a hard-charging Jo Shimoda aboard his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki machine.
The Lawrence brothers made an assertive opening statement with a 1-2 finish, as Jett took the moto win 6.6 seconds ahead of Hunter. Hampshire successfully fended off heavy pressure from Shimoda for third, while Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Levi Kitchen rounded out the top five.
The second and deciding moto began with a new face at the front of the field as Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Nick Romano earned the MotoSport.com Holeshot in his pro debut, with Jett Lawrence and Hammaker in tow. Lawrence was patient for the opening laps but then pulled the trigger and made the pass on the rookie, while Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing’s Michael Mosiman slotted into the top three with a pass on Hammaker.
Lawrence sprinted out to a multi-second lead and put the pressure on his rivals, with Mosiman responding by making a pass on Romano for second. Behind them, several riders jockeyed for position in the battle for third, including Shimoda and Hunter Lawrence, who soon made their way around both Hammaker and Romano.
With the race in hand, Jett Lawrence managed a double-digit lead over the second half of the moto and left the fight for the remaining spots on the podium to be decided amongst three riders. A crash by Mosiman caused him to drop from second to fourth and allowed Shimoda to move into second, with Hunter Lawrence into third.
Jett Lawrence was dominant en route to a sweep of the motos and took the checkered flag 5.3 seconds ahead of his brother, who used lapped riders to his advantage to make a last-lap pass on Shimoda for second.
Jett Lawrence’s title defense couldn’t have started better with a 1-1 effort and a fourth straight victory at Fox Raceway to keep his undefeated record in Southern California intact. Hunter Lawrence’s 2-2 performance helped solidify Honda’s dominance on the afternoon and clinched the siblings’ first ever 1-2 performance. Shimoda’s consistent 4-3 effort landed him third overall for his fourth career podium result.
Jett Lawrence has established a six-point lead over his brother in the initial 250 Class standings, while Shimoda sits 12 points back in third.
Jett Lawrence, Team Honda HRC
“That HRC Honda bike is hooking up out of the gate and making it easy. Four wins here (at Fox Raceway) and undefeated, even though it’s not my favorite track. Really happy for Hunter (Lawrence) as well, I was looking to see where he was the whole time. Great day for Honda with a 1-2 here.”
Hunter Lawrence, Team Honda HRC
“It was a tough track to pass on, but it was a lot of fun battling with Jo (Shimoda). I’m happy (with the result), it’s a great way to start the season. I’m looking forward to the summer.”
Jo Shimoda, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
“I’ve been working hard for this. I feel like we’re headed in the right direction. Hopefully we can get another one (podium) next week and have a fun summer.”
Photos: Align Media
250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish)
- Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (1-1)
- Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (2-2)
- Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (4-3)
- RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (3-9)
- Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., GASGAS (9-4)
- Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki (6-6)
- Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Pa., Kawasaki (8-5)
- Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha (5-8)
- Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS (7-7)
- Stilez Robertson, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna (10-11)
250 Class Championship Standings (Round 1 of 12)
- Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 50
- Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 44
- Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki – 38
- RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 32
- Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., GASGAS – 30
- Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki – 30
- Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Pa., Kawasaki – 29
- Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha – 29
- Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GASGAS – 28
- Stilez Robertson, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna – 21
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will continue next weekend with the oldest event in American motocross, the Carson City Motorsports Hangtown Motocross Classic, for the second round of the 50th anniversary season on Saturday, June 4. Live broadcast coverage of all four motos will air on MAVTV Motorsports Network, beginning at 1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET. The action from Hangtown will also stream live all day long on MAVTV Pluc, beginning with exclusive qualifying coverage at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET, followed by four consecutive hours of moto coverage beginning at 1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET.
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The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, features the world’s fastest outdoor motocross racers, competing aboard homologated bikes from one of seven competing manufacturers on a collection of the roughest, toughest tracks on the planet. Racing takes place each Saturday afternoon, with competition divided into two classes: one for 250cc machines, and one for 450cc machines. MX Sports Pro Racing, the industry leader in off-road powersports event production, manages the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. The title sponsor is Lucas Oil, a leading producer of premium oils, greases, and problem-solving additives, all made in America. Broadcast coverage will be showcased live all season long on MAVTV Motorsports Network and the MAVTV Plus streaming service, with three rounds broadcast live on NBC Network. More information can be found at www.ProMotocross.com.
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DUNGEY DELIVERS TOP-FIVE RESULT IN HIS RETURN TO AMA PRO MOTOCROSSIN AMERICAN MX DEBUT, CAIROLI EDGES OUT PLESSINGER TO FINISH JUST OUTSIDE TOP-FIVE AT ROUND 1
Round 1 – AMA Pro Motocross Championship
PALA, Calif. – It was a sight to be had under the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rig at Saturday’s opening round of the 50th Anniversary of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship as racing icons Ryan Dungey and Antonio Cairoli suited up to join teammates Aaron Plessinger and Max Vohland for the first gate drop of the 2022 series in Pala, California. After six years away from the outdoors, Dungey led Red Bull KTM’s charge at the Fox Raceway National with an impressive top-five result in the 450MX class, while teammates Cairoli and Plessinger swapped 6-10 finishes for seventh overall and eighth overall, respectively.
The three-time 450MX Champion stepped back into racing form right away as he positioned his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION inside the top-five battle off the start of Moto 1. Overtaking a podium position midway through the race, Dungey showed no signs of slowing down as he fought down to the wire to secure a top-five finish in his first race back since retiring in 2017. The Minnesota native came back even stronger in race two, just narrowly missing the holeshot with a quick jump off the line. He raced assertively in third for the first half of the 30 minutes plus two-lap race, matching the pace of his full-time competitors early on. Settling into fifth midway through, Dungey remained in top form all the way through, sealing a top-five result at the season opener.
Ryan Dungey:“I’m excited to be here racing and super thankful it worked out. Going into the first moto, it was important to just let it come to me – don’t rush, don’t override, hit your marks and find good lines as the race goes on. I was able to make some passes and I was actually pretty happy with fifth. I got a really good start in the second moto and that was nice because I got to run up there with Chase and Ken and get a feel of that pace that I need to work towards. I’m actually really happy with the day and the bike, too. We made some changes going into the second moto and that really helped. For me, it’s the best outdoor bike I’ve ever ridden at KTM, so that’s really pleasing. The cool part is I see the areas I need to work on and that’s the challenge and the motivation moving forward.”
Making his much-anticipated American motocross debut, nine-time world champion Antonio Cairoli put on a great display for fans in southern California and all over the world. With an eighth-place start in the opening moto, the Italian rider battled inside a dense field of riders up front early on. He was working his way toward the top-five but a late-race crash set him back to ultimately finish 10th in race one. With a much smoother start in the second moto, Cairoli charged into the top-five on the opening lap. Battling against Eli Tomac early on for the fifth spot, Cairoli ended up moving into sixth and he executed a strong performance for the remainder of the race to secure seventh overall in his AMA Pro Motocross debut.
Antonio Cairoli:“Here at Pala, it’s a very nice debut for me. Of course, it could be a little better without the crash in the first moto but I was close to the top-five in both races. I’m really happy about how it went considering my fitness, I only started doing some race training two or three weeks ago. Before, I was just testing for the team and for R&D at KTM so I didn’t really have the plan until one month ago that I would race here. It was feeling a little bit like your mind wants to do it more but you’re careful because this track was very sketchy and demanding so you need to just take whatever comes and we build up a little bit race after race.”
Aaron Plessinger also made an anticipated return back to racing but unlike his teammates, Plessinger’s time off the bike was due to an injury sustained earlier this year in supercross. With a strong entry, the Ohio native collected a great start aboard his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION and he set charge to catch Dungey within the first few laps. The KTM duo pushed each other to climb into the top-five battle and despite a tip-over later in the race, Plessinger was able to finish strong in sixth. In the second moto, he battled through some fatigue in his previously injured arm but he held it together for a top-10 finish. With combined scores of 6-10 mirrored those of his teammate, Plessinger finished one position back for eighth overall.
Aaron Plessinger:“This was my first race back since Minneapolis and I had a pretty good day overall. The first moto, I actually surprised myself. I didn’t really know I was going to be that fast, catching up to Ryan and actually riding with him a little bit in the top-five. I had a little tip-over that brought me back to sixth but I felt good. Going into the second one, I knew my arm was a little bit tired so I wanted to get a good start and that didn’t really happen but I pushed through. It was a grind the second moto and I’m just happy I made it through. I’m also happy to be back at the races and looking forward to improving from here.”
Team rider Max Vohland had a steady start to the season, finishing just outside the top-10 overall in the 250MX class. After missing most of the supercross season due to injury, Vohland came into the opening round ready to race. In Moto 1, he struggled to break through a mid-pack start as he rounded the opening lap in 20th place. Working through the field as best he could, Vohland ultimately finished 12th. In Moto 2, he grabbed a ninth-place start and set himself up for a more competitive drive this time around. With a hard-fought effort, the Northern California native secured 10th in the second moto and 11th overall for the day.
Max Vohland:“Today went pretty good. I came out with more points than I did last year, so that’s a plus. My starts are what really hurt me today. I rode strong and hard, and I feel like I’m in better shape by far than last year, I just need to get off that gate and get a good start. We’ll definitely work some starts this week and I’m looking forward to my hometown race at Hangtown next weekend.”
The 2022 AMA Pro Motocross Championship heads north to Rancho Cordova, California next Saturday, June 4, for the Round 2 Hangtown Motocross Classic.
Results 450MX Class – Fox Raceway I National
1. Chase Sexton (USA), Honda, 1-1
2. Ken Roczen (GER), Honda, 2-2
3. Christian Craig (USA), Yamaha, 3-3
5. Ryan Dungey (USA), KTM, 5-5
7. Antonio Cairoli (ITA), KTM, 10-6
8. Aaron Plessinger (USA), KTM, 6-10
12. Fredrik Noren (SWE), KTM
15. Benny Bloss (USA), KTM
27. Tyler Stepek (USA), KTM
32. Tristan Lane (USA), KTM
36. Devin Harriman (USA), KTM
39. Trevor Schmidt (USA), KTM
Results 250MX Class – Fox Raceway I National
1. Jett Lawrence (AUS), Honda, 1-1
2. Hunter Lawrence (AUS), Honda, 2-2
3. Jo Shimoda (JAP), Kawasaki, 4-3
11. Max Vohland (USA), KTM, 12-10
16. Derek Kelley (USA), KTM
23. Jack Chambers (USA), KTM
26. Tyson Johnson (USA), KTM
28. Max Miller (USA), KTM
34. Christopher Prebula (USA), KTM
37. Ty Masterpool (USA), KTM
Standings 450MX Class 2022 after 1 of 12 rounds
1. Chase Sexton, 50 points
2. Ken Roczen, 44
3. Christian Craig, 40
5. Ryan Dungey, 32
7. Antonio Cairoli, 26
8. Aaron Plessinger, 26
12. Fredrik Noren, 17
15. Benny Bloss, 14
Standings 250MX Class 2022 after 1 of 12 rounds
1. Jett Lawrence, 50 points
2. Hunter Lawrence, 44
3. Jo Shimoda, 38
11. Max Vohland, 20
16. Derek Kelley, 9