In the second AMA Supercross 250SX West race of the 2022 season, Team Honda HRC rider Hunter Lawrence notched his second podium result, charging to a runner-up finish in Oakland, California. Finding himself in fifth after the 250SX main-event start, the young Australian turned in an impressive performance, advancing to third by lap 4. With six minutes remaining, he and Seth Hammaker battled for second, with Hunter securing the position right before the finish.
After a strong opening-round performance, the team’s 450 riders experienced difficulties in Oakland, with bad starts affecting their results. Chase Sexton was strong early on, finishing fastest in free practice and first in his heat race. However, the main event saw him in seventh one lap in, and a stall on the wall jump pushed the Illinois native back to 10th; he eventually finished ninth. Meanwhile, Ken Roczen found himself in sixth one lap in, and a pass attempt resulted in a crash before the finish, dropping him to 16th. Roczen eventually finished in 13th.
With 15 races remaining, Roczen is fifth in the title chase, while Sexton is ninth. Lawrence is tied for second in the 10-round 250SX West Region, eight points behind leader Christian Craig. Next up is the third round, at Petco Park in San Diego on Saturday.
- Ken Roczen’s Anaheim 1 premier-class AMA Supercross victory last week was the 20th of his career, moving him into a tie with Jeff Ward for 10th place on the all-time wins list.
- Roczen arrived at Oakland in style, taking a chartered jet with fellow racers Adam Cianciarulo and Eli Tomac.
- On Friday, SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda rider Justin Brayton posted on social media that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and would therefore miss the Oakland round.
- Hunter Lawrence is enjoying his best start to a Supercross series, with a pair of podium finishes putting him in a tie for second in the 250SX West points standings. In 2020 he only raced two indoors rounds, and last year saw him notch fifth- and sixth-place results at the first two 250SX West events, something that came back to haunt him as he only lost the title by 13 points. Lawrence now has five podiums in his first 13 career starts.
- The Honda Racing Corporation is synonymous with elite motorcycle-racing technology, and for decades the familiar red-and-blue HRC logo has long been displayed proudly on Honda factory bikes. On Friday, HRC unveiled a new, italicized version of the logo, and at Oakland it adorned the CRF machines of Roczen, Sexton and Lawrence.
- On Friday afternoon, Roczen participated in a Race Day Live interview with Kristen Beat.
- The first same-day Supercross Futures main event took place at the Oakland event, and Honda-mounted Nicholas Nisbet, from Atascadero, California, rode well to post a second-place finish.
- Top Honda amateur racer Chance Hymas was never scheduled to race Oakland, and although he was originally due to race at the Anaheim 2 Futures event in two weeks, the 16-year-old Idaho native will miss that event due to an injury he picked up before Anaheim 1 in a practice crash in Murrieta, California. Hymas broke his wrist and fractured a rotator plate in his shoulder but is scheduled to race in Arlington next month.
- Sexton wore a Klay Thompson jersey during the opening ceremonies. Thompson is a player for the Golden State Warriors, the local NBA team that (appropriately enough) calls Chase Center their home arena.
- In 450SX qualifying, Sexton was the eighth-best rider with a 1’00.102” lap after posting the second-best time in the first timed session, while Roczen was ninth at 1’00.224”. SGB Unlimited Honda riders Alex Ray and Cade Clason were 21st and 25th, respectively.
- During the final timed 450SX qualifying session, Roczen went down hard in the whoops section; trailing closely, Sexton ran over his teammate before going down himself. Roczen was able to rejoin the session after taking a short break in the mechanics’ area, but Sexton made a mistake in the same section and went down again. Both riders suffered minor injuries but were healthy enough to participate in the evening program.
- Lawrence was the fifth-fastest rider during 250SX West daytime practice, with a 1’0.913” lap in the last timed session. SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda’s Vince Friese was ninth-quickest, and STR Racing’s Cheyenne Harmon was 19th-best.
- Sexton carried his qualifying speed into the 450SX night program, taking his second heat-race win of the young season after grabbing the holeshot and leading all the way. Heat 2 saw Roczen make some impressive passes to finish second. Lawrence easily finished second in 250SX heat race 2, with Friese two spots behind in fourth.
- As a podium finisher, Lawrence took part in the post-race press conference for round 2. Due to COVID protocols, hybrid press conferences follow every race – athletes are live from the stadium press-conference room, but media attend virtually.
- With two AMA Supercross rounds already in the books, the riders and teams head back to Southern California, as round 3 takes place Saturday at Petco Park in San Diego.
Ken Roczen 94"Not really much to say about Oakland. I feel like the day already started off kind of weird and we weren't really feeling that great on the track, but we did the best we could. Chase [Sexton] and I went down pretty dang hard in the last qualifying practice. I got really lucky that nothing worse happened, as Chase kind of used my head as a whoop! It all happened so quickly and it was ultimately just me going down and falling into the wrong spot. The heat race was decent; I got second there. Going into the night show I put everything aside and tried to stay calm. We got off to a decent start, but I was probably around fourth or fifth and just struggled in the whoops; we’re just not good enough in them and we have to get better. That was a spot that bit me again, and after that there really wasn't that much I could do. I finished 13th, but I'm going to keep my head up and charge hard again next weekend."
Chase Sexton 23“Round 2 in Oakland started off good; the first couple of qualifying sessions were good and then everything kind of went downhill. Ken and I got together in the final session and both of us went down pretty hard. After that, I actually ended up winning my heat race but besides that I kind of just felt uncomfortable in the whoops and with the track in general. It was a tough day for me, but I’m hopeful for a better finish in San Diego. I’m excited to get back to work this week and get ready for next weekend.”
Jett Lawrence 18Did Not Attend Race
Hunter Lawrence 96“Oakland wasn’t a bad night; we got second overall. Still, I’m definitely a bit frustrated. I had a few more laps than last weekend to work on Seth [Hammaker], and we had a good battle. He was riding really well in the beginning, so I had to keep just pushing through. My start wasn’t ideal, so we’re going to be working on that this week, but we’re fit and healthy. Next weekend we’re moving on to San Diego, so hopefully that will be a good race.”
Lars Lindstrom - Team Manager“Well, tonight didn’t go as smoothly as last weekend did. We had some ups and downs in practice, between learning the track and the incident between Kenny and Chase. Luckily, both riders were able to avoid serious injury after a scary moment, and I was very proud of all three guys for rebounding and coming out swinging for the heat races. Hunter rode fantastic after a mediocre start in the 250SX main, and he once again showed that he’ll be a force to reckon with in this series. The 450SX main event didn’t go as planned, with Kenny‘s fall while running fifth and Chase having his own issues keeping him from running with the top guys. With all the mixup, and all of the parity in the class, luckily we didn’t lose many points with either rider. We’ll regroup and do our best as a team to improve and come out to challenge for the win in San Diego.”