Sexton Finishes AMA Pro Motocross Season With First Premier-Class Victory
Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton ended the dramatic 2020 racing season with a stirring career-first overall win in the AMA Pro Motocross series finale at Southern California’s Fox Raceway, while teammate Christian Craig also had a season-best showing, finishing runner-up in moto two and taking fourth overall. Sexton was also the top qualifier and took fifth in the championship standings, while Craig–serving as a reliable fill-in for the entire series–was sixth in the final points.
The first 450 moto at Fox Raceway, located in North San Diego County, saw Sexton in fourth off the start, pressured early by his teammate. Sexton advanced to second at the midway point of the 18-lapper, with Eli Tomac following closely for several laps before making the pass. Craig did likewise, but with two laps to go, Sexton got back by, and the Red Riders finished third and fourth.
The final gate drop of the season saw Craig and Sexton charging in second and third, respectively. Sexton made a push just past the halfway point and passed Craig for second, then latched onto the leading Adam Cianciarulo’s rear fender, the trio separated by less than two seconds, with a healthy margin on the rest of the field. When the leader crashed over a jump, Sexton moved to the front, with Craig close behind. Sexton put his head down and earned his first career moto win, by 5.2 seconds over Craig, for a 1-2 moto-two showing by Team Honda HRC. Sexton’s second-moto win placed him atop the day’s classification, while Craig finished just off the overall podium.
- Similar to the weather the series experienced in Colorado last weekend, Fox Raceway featured comfortable Southern California temperatures, making for ideal conditions at the final round.
- The State of California did not require all event attendees to be tested for COVID-19, although everyone needed to pass a health screening prior to entering or reentering the paddock. Teams continued practicing social distancing, wearing masks properly and only permitting essential personnel in the team pods.
- This was only the third time that the Pro Motocross finale has been held at Fox Raceway.
- The spectator limit was originally set at 5,000 tickets, but series organizer MX Sports raised it to 6,000. Fans were not permitted in the pro paddock, and though autograph sessions were still prohibited, teams provided pre-signed posters for fans.
- In the days since the last race, the Team Honda HRC crew spent time testing and preparing in Southern California with both Chase Sexton and Christian Craig.
- Sexton posted the fastest lap time during 450 qualifying, with a 1’53.682” lap in the final session. Craig finished the session with a third-best time of 1’54.932”.
- The entire Team Honda HRC crew and everyone at American Honda congratulates Zach Osborne and his Rockstar Husqvarna team for earning the 450 crown. Many at Honda know Osborne from when he raced with Factory Connection from in 2013 and ‘14.
- After 19 years of running American Honda’s satellite 125/250 effort, Factory Connection competed in its final race. Operating most recently as GEICO Honda, Factory Connection has been racing for 23 seasons and has earned 12 championships–including 10 in the last 10 years. The team went out on top at Fox Raceway, as the final moto featured a GEICO Honda podium sweep, and Jett Lawrence netted his career-first overall win, as well as Rookie of the Year honors. Teammate Jeremy Martin also earned his fifth moto win of the season, by 18.3 seconds, posting a 4-1 moto tally for second overall. Rookie Jo Shimoda also enjoyed a solid ride, notching a career-best overall result of fifth, while Carson Mumford matched his best pro finish at ninth overall. Unfortunately, Hunter Lawrence was unable to finish the day after reinjuring his shoulder, which he previously dislocated earlier in the season. American Honda thanks Factory Connection for their valuable collaboration and extends best wishes to the team principals, crew and riders.
- With the strange and challenging 2020 season now complete, Team Honda HRC will now begin testing and prepping for 2021 with Ken Roczen and teammate Sexton aboard their new 2021 CRF450R race machines.
Chase Sexton 23
“Final round here in Pala, California--I’d say it went pretty well! I qualified fastest and finished third in the first moto. I didn’t feel that great, so I told myself we have one 30-plus-two-laps, and I put it all out there and came out with the win I’ve been searching for all season. I waited until the last moto to do it, so it feels good and is a good way to go into the off-season and start testing on the new bike. I’m super happy with how everything went this season. I feel like it was pretty successful and I’m looking forward to the future and getting on this new bike and testing with the team.”
Christian Craig 62
“This weekend was great. Pala is my home track, so I knew I was going to be up front and be comfortable. I started off qualifying third, which was my best all season. In the first moto I made my way up to fourth and then third at one point. After that Chase [Sexton] got me with two laps to go, so I was pretty frustrated with that one; I almost got that moto podium and ended with fourth. In the second moto I came out second, which was my best start all season, so that was nice. I followed [Adam] Cianciarulo around for a while and got close, but Chase was on a mission. He caught us both, passed me and then was on Cianciarulo; then Cianciarulo fell, so me and Chase just rode it in for first and second. I ended 4-2 for fourth overall, unfortunately, but got my first moto podium ever in an outdoors series, especially in the 450 class, so we’ll take it. It was a super fun season and I'm looking forward to next year.”
Erik Kehoe - Team Manager
“This was an amazing day and finish to the MX season for the entire team! Chase starting off the day as the fastest qualifier, winning his first 450 event overall, and finishing with a strong fifth overall in the series as a 450 rookie was a perfect way to finish his season! And Christian qualifying third and ending the final moto of the season second, proving he belongs on the podium. We’re very grateful that Christian helped the team by filling in for KR [Ken Roczen] and finished a strong sixth place overall in the series. The Team Honda HRC riders and crew all worked hard throughout the uncertainty of the season and it paid off.”
Jade Dungey - Mechanic (Chase Sexton)
“It was an unbelievable day for Chase and the team. We had a great couple of days testing suspension this past week and I think that showed in how confident Chase looked on the track today. It was a team effort and it was nice to see him get his first overall win in the 450 class. I’m very proud of what Chase accomplished in his rookie 450 season and am also very proud and lucky to be part of such a great team and company. Now it's time to shift our focus into supercross testing and look forward to riding the all-new 2021 CRF450R!”
Jordan Troxell - Mechanic (Christian Craig)
“What an amazing day for Christian and Honda to end on. I’m really proud of Christian for showing what he’s capable of and believing in himself all day. Battling for the lead and running the pace all day proves that he belongs up there. I’m bummed that 4-2 moto scores didn’t give him an overall podium so he could hold that trophy up to show his hard work all year. It was still a great day, and I wish he and his family the best in whatever is next for them!”