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Team Honda HRC Sweeps Overall Wins at Dramatic Joliet SMX

Team HRC SX 2023 Jett Lawrence

  • Jett Lawrence takes 450SMX victory, advances to second in points
  • 250 win and points lead to Hunter Lawrence, after wins in both motos
  • Chase Sexton finishes third in 450SMX at home race, retains points lead 

Unsatisfied with their performances at the opening round of the SuperMotocross Playoffs, Jett and Hunter Lawrence more than made up for it at the second of three stops, this one at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. The brothers posted overall wins in their respective classes (Jett in 450SMX, Hunter in 250SMX), and since the event paid double points, they also improved their positions in the title chases. Meanwhile, round 1 winner Chase Sexton posted a solid third-place result in the 450SMX division at what was his home race, maintaining the lead in the points standings.

Team HRC SX 2023 Chase Sexton

Jett nailed the holeshot in the first 450SMX moto, with Chase sitting third out of turn 1. Chase powered by Justin Barcia on lap 1 and pressured Jett, the two Red Riders pulling ahead of the field. Sexton eventually backed off but held Ken Roczen off to finish second. Jett and Chase started well in moto 2 and—following an action-packed first lap—were first and third, respectively. Jett fought off the advances of Roczen lap after lap, then decided to allow the German by with three laps remaining, knowing that a second-place finish would still earn him the overall win.

Team HRC SX 2023 Hunter Lawrence

The first 250SMX moto saw Hunter emerge from turn 1 in third place, and he overtook Tom Vialle on the first lap. The Australian then hunted Haiden Deegan for the first seven laps before moving by just after the finish line. Hunter then rode mistake-free for the final five laps to take the moto win. The next time out, Hunter sat in third in the early going, locked in a battle for the lead with Justin Cooper and erstwhile points leader Jo Shimoda. He made a pass stick on Cooper at the one-third mark, and took over the lead at the two-thirds mark when Shimoda appeared to suffer a mechanical issue. From there, Lawrence was able to cruise to a comfortable win and take over the points lead.

NOTES

  • For the Joliet round, Team Honda HRC’s CRF450RWE and CRF250R race bikes wore special graphics featuring a pattern created by TrueTimber®, to call attention to a co-branded marketing campaign partnership between American Honda and the camouflage-industry leader. The graphics were produced by Throttle Jockey, and the bikes also wore special red-and-black Cycra plastic parts.
  • After taking part in the pre-race press conference and PR activities, all three active Team Honda HRC riders got to try the track during Friday’s free-practice sessions. Jett Lawrence and Chase Sexton were 1-2 on the 450 time sheets, while Hunter Lawrence was third in the 250 ranks.
  • During Saturday’s qualifying sessions, Jett and Chase were second- and third-best in the 450 class, and Hunter was the fourth-quickest 250 rider.
  • Jett Lawrence notched the fastest lap time in the second 450 moto.
  • The Lawrence brothers and Chase Sexton all participated in the post-race press conference.
  • With two of three SMX rounds completed, Team Honda HRC is in strong contention for both titles as they head to Los Angeles this weekend. Chase Sexton and Jett Lawrence sit 1-2 in the 450 championship chase, separated by just two points. Hunter Lawrence leads the 250 fight, with three points over second place. Triple points are paid at the finale, so strong results will be even more important there.
Team Honda HRC 2023 Jett Lawrence 18

Jett Lawrence 18

“I didn’t want another weekend like Charlotte. I came into this weekend with a lot of motivation for a good result. We worked a lot on starts this weekend, and I think that was the key today. I also feel like racing a more motocross-type track fits my riding style better; I felt a little bit more at home on the track this weekend, and it was much easier to try and find the correct suspension for this layout.”

Team Honda HRC 2023 Chase Sexton 23

Chase Sexton 23

“It was nice to come home and race in front of everyone; I felt a ton of support all weekend long. Unfortunately, I just didn’t have it today. I wasn’t comfortable all day, and I’m not happy just to be on the podium. You’re only as good as your last race, and I feel like this lit a fire under me for next weekend. I’m excited to head to LA for more of a supercross vibe, and I’m hoping we can go out and finish this series off with a win.”

Team Honda HRC 2023 Hunter Lawrence 96

Hunter Lawrence 96

“We had a much better night in Chicago than in Charlotte. We put a lot of effort into our starts this week and made some changes that worked out for the better. I’m happy to be leaving here with a win and right in the championship hunt. We knew that, as long as we were in the top three going into Los Angeles, we had a chance, with the way the points are structured. We just have to head into this last round with starts like today, and we’ll be just fine.”

Team Honda HRC 2023 Lars Lindstrom

Lars Lindstrom - Team Manager

“What a great night for us! As I walked back with Brandon Wilson to the truck after the podium, I commented that I couldn’t believe how many times we have won both classes this year, it is something that I can’t think will be able to be matched in the future by anyone, including us. With the way these points are structured, it seems like a true playoff, where we have made it to the final round, and the last race is basically the Super Bowl. Winner takes all. Hopefully, we can execute starts at the next race, and ride the way we have been riding this year to come out on top."

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