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450 Title Caps Successful Weekend for Team Honda HRC at Unadilla MX

Team HRC MX Unadilla 2023 Jett Lawrence

  • Jett Lawrence takes championship and continues perfect season
  • Strong ride leads to second overall for Chase Sexton
  • Hunter Lawrence takes 250 overall win, extends points lead

Continuing what has been a historic start to his 450 career, Jett Lawrence clinched the AMA Pro Motocross 450 Championship two rounds early with another dominant showing, this time at Upstate New York’s Unadilla MX. The Australian (who had just turned 20 five days earlier) also maintains a flawless rookie 450 season that has seen him top every moto so far. Chase Sexton challenged his Team Honda HRC colleague in the first moto and took a commendable second overall, while Hunter Lawrence not only earned the 250 class overall win, but greatly extended his points lead, from 3 to 22.

Team HRC MX Unadilla 2023 Chase Sexton

The first 450 moto featured more perfection by Jett Lawrence, who scored the holeshot aboard his CRF450RWE and led every lap. That said, Sexton put up a fight after moving into second place on lap 2. He closed to his teammate’s rear fender and made a pass attempt, but he avoided what could have been major contact and lost some ground. The Illinois native recovered what he had lost, but with three laps remaining, he went down and was passed by Dylan Ferrandis. Jett won, and Sexton held on to finish third. Moto 2 saw Jett score another holeshot and establish a cushion, and while Sexton rode smoothly in second, Jett raced to his first title in the 450 class.

Team HRC MX Unadilla 2023 Hunter Lawrence

Hunter Lawrence’s first 250 moto of the day was a masterclass in race craft, as he balanced aggression and calculation while recovering from a ninth-place start. He was up to fourth place by the one-third mark and was in second place at the two-thirds point, having navigated lapped traffic while making his way through a list of top riders. In the end, he finished three seconds down on moto winner Levi Kitchen, but ahead of his main title rivals. Following a restart, the second moto saw Hunter cross the holeshot line in 10th place, but he advanced quickly and secured second place just five laps in. At the finish, he was two seconds behind moto winner Justin Cooper, but he earned the overall win and is in a much better place in the title chase than he was just a few hours earlier.

NOTES

  • All three active Team Honda HRC riders–Jett Lawrence, Chase Sexton and Hunter Lawrence–took part in media activities on Friday, conducting interviews and getting in some track time.
  • Honda was the title sponsor of the Unadilla National, and several managers were on hand from the Power Sports and Products headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia.
  • Outdoor Motor Sports (a dealership in Amsterdam, New York) set up a pop-up activation booth in the Team Honda HRC pits, where they displayed five CRF models and engaged with fans and customers.
  • Motocross pioneer Gunnar Lindstrom served as the official grand marshal for the Unadilla round. Gunnar is the father of Team Honda HRC manager Lars Lindstrom and is himself a former manager of the team.
  • As has been the case for much of the series, Jett Lawrence and Chase Sexton were the fastest riders in the 450 class during timed practice. In addition, Hunter Lawrence notched the best time in the 250 ranks.
  • Unadilla is known for its rocky soil, and both Lawrence brothers elected to run Cycra handguards on their race bikes for the motos.
  • Team Honda HRC ruled the 450 class lap times in the motos, with Jett and Chase going 1-2 on both motos’ time sheets. In addition, Hunter had the fastest lap in the first 250 moto.
  • With Jett’s 2023 success, Honda extended its lead atop Unadilla’s 450 moto-wins list (formerly 250 two-stroke), with 22 to Kawasaki’s 17. Honda also closes the margin to 450 overall-win-leader Kawasaki, 10-9.
  • Jett joins other Red Riders to have earned the overall win in the 450 class at Unadilla, including Mike LaRocco, Ricky Carmichael (twice), Kevin Windham (twice), Ken Roczen (twice) and Chase Sexton last year. Meanwhile, Hunter joins other Red Riders to have taken Unadilla’s overall win in the 250 class (formerly 125 two-stroke), including Steve Lamson, Trey Canard, Eli Tomac, Jeremy Martin and Jett Lawrence.
  • Jett’s 450 career remains literally perfect, as he has won all 18 AMA Pro Motocross motos that he has entered (as well as the Open class at the 2022 Motocross of Nations). Hunter’s 250 overall win was the 13th of his career.
  • All three active Team Honda HRC riders participated in the post-race press conference.
  • Next up for Team Honda HRC is AMA Pro Motocross round 10 next weekend at Budds Creek, Maryland, followed a week later by the finale at Indiana’s Ironman Raceway.
Team Honda HRC 2023 Jett Lawrence 18

Jett Lawrence 18

“I thought the track last year was fast, and I was amazed they were able to make it even faster this year. I appreciate them ripping it so deep and making it a normal Unadilla. Chase and Dylan [Ferrandis] were able to keep me on my toes all day, and I never felt like I was able to pull away. When I raced 250s, it was usually pretty easy to put a few good laps in and create a gap. Now, I have to work for it all moto. Overall, I had set a goal for myself to win the title in my rookie season, and I’m happy to get it done here.”

Team Honda HRC 2023 Chase Sexton 23

Chase Sexton 23

“I felt like I had a great couple weeks of testing over the break, and I think it showed in the first moto. I was super comfortable all day and felt like I could seriously make a challenge. Obviously, I didn’t get the result I wanted, but it's great to see us continue to make progress so late in the season. I’m excited to get back out there and compete again.”

Team Honda HRC 2023 Hunter Lawrence 96

Hunter Lawrence 96

“First of all, I want to congratulate my brother Jett on his championship. I’m super proud of him, and I can’t wait to see what he does in the future! Obviously, we had some good days off to let me heal and get ready for this final push. I know people will critique us for not emphasizing training during a break, but we just did what we know and trust. Sometimes it’s better to recharge than keep pushing the hammer down. I think it’s shown so far that we made the right decisions, so we’ll just have to go out there and prove it the rest of the season.”

Team Honda HRC 2023 Lars Lindstrom

Lars Lindstrom - Team Manager

“I can’t begin to explain how unbelievable this season has been so far. It has truly been a dream come true, and I feel extremely lucky to be in the position I’m in right now. We have the best riders combined with a team that’s doing everything it takes to win. Congratulations to Jett on winning his first 450 title in his first try; he has been on another planet it seems like, and it has been incredible to see someone as young as he is dominate and ride like a veteran. He has made it look so easy that it has been hard to realize how special it is, and after the season is over, we’ll have a proper celebration. I also want to send a shout-out to the 250 crew; they worked their butts off these last weeks to bring upgrades to the race, which they were able to do, and it helped get us back into the title position that we deserve to be in. Hunter rode great, and we’re excited for the final races.”

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