- Roczen leads 450SX main event but finishes 13th after a crash
- Fourth-straight 250SX West podium finish for Hunter Lawrence
Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton backed up last week’s career-first 450SX class win with a podium finish during the 2022 AMA Supercross season’s second visit to Anaheim, California, on Saturday night for round 4, while teammate Hunter Lawrence earned his fourth podium result of the year in the 250SX West Region. Ken Roczen led the premier-class main event after securing the holeshot, but finished 13th following a collision.
Team Honda HRC was strong early on, with Sexton and Roczen finishing 1-2 in 450SX heat 2. When the main-event gate dropped, the German nailed the holeshot and led the field for four laps, after which Jason Anderson made an aggressive pass in the sand section, sending Roczen off the track and to the ground. The 22-year-old Sexton wasn’t far behind and trailed Anderson and eventual winner Eli Tomac to an eventual third-place finish in the 20-minute-plus-one-lap race. Meanwhile, Roczen remounted and salvaged a 13th-place result.
Team Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence sat in sixth one lap into the 15-minute-plus-one-lap 250SX main event, and he advanced to fourth by lap three. After a frightening crash by fellow Red Rider Vince Friese, Lawrence took over third, and he remained there to finish.
- This race marked the fourth time in AMA Supercross history that the first four 450SX main events were won by four different riders. In this case, two of them were Team Honda HRC racers, as Ken Roczen won the opener.
- The fourth Media Day riding session took place at the stadium on Friday, with Team Honda HRC riders Ken Roczen, Chase Sexton and Hunter Lawrence all participating.
- The morning prior to media day, Sexton participated in several media opportunities, including a phone interview with the Southern California News Group, which ran across six Southern California newspapers, as well as a live interview with SpeedFreaks Radio on Sirius XM. As the 450SX round 3 winner, Sexton also participated in a Saturday Race Day Live interview between free practice and qualifying.
- Several members of Team Honda HRC showed up at Anaheim 2 wearing “frosted tips” in their hair, paying off a bet in which they had promised Sexton they would mimic his hairdo after he won his first premier-class main event.
- The Anaheim 2 event kicked off the returning partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The long-running partnership allows AMA Supercross teams and fans to help the children of St. Jude through supercrosslive.com/stjude or by texting “Super” to 785833. The Roczen family (Ken, wife Courtney and 1-year-old son Griffin) all wore their St. Jude shirts on Saturday to show their support.
- Sexton and Roczen both participated in the opening ceremonies, the latter joined by son Griffin.
- Once again, Honda celebrated its success in last November’s Baja 1000, with a pit display of the winning entries from Pro Moto Unlimited (SLR Honda’s CRF450X) and Pro UTV NA (Proctor Racing’s Talon 1000R). Jett Lawrence’s 2021 250MX Pro Motocross Championship bike was also on display.
- Lawrence and Australian Formula 1 driver Daniel Ricciardo did another custom Alpinestars gear collab for this round.
- Free practice saw Sexton and Roczen finish fourth and fifth, respectively, while Hunter finished with the sixth-fastest lap time in the 250SX West class.
- In the 450SX class, Sexton topped daytime qualifying with a 1’03.046” lap after posting the second-best time in the first timed session, while Roczen was seventh at 1’03.886”. SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MCR Honda riders Justin Brayton and Mitchell Oldenburg were 10th and 15th, and SGB Unlimited riders Cade Clason and Alex Ray were 19th and 31st, respectively.
- During 250SX West qualifying, Lawrence’s 1’05.018” lap was good for the fifth-best time, while SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MCR Honda’s Vince Friese was sixth-quickest at 1’05.317”.
- Sexton carried his qualifying speed into the 450SX night program, as he took his third heat-race win of the season. Heat 2 also saw Roczen finish second, with Clason and Oldenburg ninth and 10th. Heat 1 had seen Brayton finish fourth. Lawrence was third in 250SX heat race 2, while Friese was second in the first heat race.
- Friese was also impressive at Anaheim 2, grabbing the 250SX West main-event holeshot and running in the top three until a scary crash just two laps from the end.
- As the 450SX winner and 250SX runner-up, Sexton and Lawrence participated in the post-race press conference, live from the stadium press-conference room on Saturday evening.
- Sexton remains in second in the 450SX title chase, six points behind leader Eli Tomac, while Roczen is in ninth. Lawrence remains second in the 250SX West standings, 11 points behind leader Christian Craig.
- The series now heads to round 5 this Saturday in Glendale, Arizona, the first of the season’s three Triple Crown events. These races feature a three-main-event format for each class, leading to intense racing action, with the overall tally paying title points.
Ken Roczen 94““Our weekend was a nightmare. I've been struggling lately with my bike setup, just not really getting comfortable. It was a tough one for us but we did decent; when nighttime comes, it seems like we always get our stuff together. I got second in the heat race, and we got the holeshot in the main event. Things were going pretty decent. I struggled with the whoops so that was definitely not my strong point; I almost went down there once, and the same lap I got taken down by [Jason] Anderson – unfortunately left the door open. Probably not the right turn for him to put on a pass, but obviously it got me and I crashed pretty hard right there. I had to make a stop after that to get all the sand out of my goggles, and our night was pretty much over after that; I could only salvage 13th place, but we never gave up. We’re quite a few points down. It’s a bummer, but I’m looking forward to next weekend to get some consistency in and do some training and riding; I couldn't really do that last week. Hopefully we’ll head to Phoenix with a bit more confidence and more riding time under my belt.”
Chase Sexton 23“I felt really good tonight. This weekend the whoops section of the track was unpredictable and had a lot of edges, but I feel like I managed them well. The track was good though. I had fun all day. It was a pretty technical track especially with a long set of whoops and a long rhythm section that was pretty tough. It was nice to have a long lap time and not so many laps in the main event though. My bike felt good all day but it’s an ongoing process; I just have to be better. I stalled my bike once but only lost a second or so. Eli [Tomac] and Jason [Anderson] were riding really good, but I expect to be in the mix with the frontrunners this year. Last year I learned a lot so I’m trying not to make those mistakes I made last year. I want to be on the podium every weekend and racing with these guys. I just have to get better for next weekend.”
Jett Lawrence 18Did Not Attend Race
Hunter Lawrence 96“We had a tough day at Anaheim 2, as we just didn't have the pace. We were kind of struggling from the get-go – a little behind the eightball from the start; we had our work cut out for us. The track was tough during the main event, and everyone was similar in regards to pace. It wasn't a track that people got fatigued on at all; it felt like the distance was easy on the track tonight, but the track was rough. It was a tough one, but we're looking to rebound, come back strong and kick Phoenix off with a bang.”
Lars Lindstrom - Team Manager“Tonight we had some real ups and downs. Qualifying wasn’t too bad, especially with Chase being fastest of all, and Hunter and Kenny being in the hunt for the top spots as well. Hunter didn’t have the best of starts in the main, and definitely had more competition then he’s had the last few weeks in the top five, but was able to claw his way back to a podium, and has a few places that he can work on to be on the top spot. Kenny ripped a great start and was smart in the first turn to holeshot the main, but unfortunately was cleaned out by another rider, ruining Kenny’s chances at a podium. That really hurt us in the points, and we were obviously frustrated with that. Chase rode fantastic all day. He took pole position in qualifying, then timed the gate perfectly in the heat to holeshot and dominate for the win. He didn’t have the best start in the main but rode smart and solid to get into third, with great passes and total control. His maturity level and confidence have really impressed me so far this year; it’s exciting to watch.”