Three races produce three winners as Ken Roczen takes Motocross Round 3 at Thunder Valley

Roczen Motocross Round 3
ProMotocross.com
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With a win in Moto 2 and second-place finish in the first race, Ken Roczen became the third winner in Round 3 of the 2022 Lucas Oil Motocross season in Lakewood, Colo. He narrowly held off a charge by hometown rider Eli Tomac, who finished 1-3. It was the 21st Motocross win for Roczen and his fifth at Thunder Valley

“It’s about being relentless,” Roczen said at ProMotocross.com. “We, (Tomac and I), had the greatest battle going on. I just didn’t want to give up. I just want to get better every weekend and that’s what we did.”

Roczen had strong starts to both motos, but in the second race he was overtaken by teammate Chase Sexton. With Tomac on his back wheel in that race, he was going to have to settle for second overall if he ended the race with a 2-2. With the same number of points, Tomac would have earned the tiebreaker by benefit of his Moto 1 win.

But in the closing laps, Sexton hit the dirt unassisted and handed the top spot over to Roczen.

“It’s unfortunate Chase went down like that, but I’ll take it,” Roczen added. “I’m so stoked right now.”

Sexton remounted and finished second in Moto 2 and was third overall, which helped keep him in the points’ lead by five over Roczen. Sexton was established as an early contender with his Round 1 win.

“I came into the corner and got a swing with the rear and cross rutted,” Sexton said. “It was a costly mistake and we need to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”

Tomac could have been disappointed with his second-place finish overall since he was riding in front of the hometown crowd, but a Moto 1 win helped soften the blow.

“It was a lot of fun racing,” Tomac said. “We were so close so many times there. I gave it my all. It’s always fun racing with Ken. He races really clean and it makes it that much more enjoyable. It’s a bummer we missed out on the overall, but I’m still happy with the result today.”

Tomac would also take consolation in the torrid pace he set in the final minutes of Moto 1. After getting hung up in a battle with Jason Anderson, he allowed Roczen to ride away in the middle of the race. With eight minutes remaining, he was more than five seconds behind Roczen. Once he cleared Anderson, he stormed forward and took the top spot.

Last week’s winner, Anderson finished fourth overall with a 3-6 and that is enough to keep him fourth in the standings early in the year. The 2022 season is beginning to look a bit like a chess match with several riders in contention. Anderson’s effort was hindered by a crash in Moto 2.

It was a career day for Antonio Cairoli with a 5-4. He debuted in the series two weeks ago after a solid career on the MXGP circuit. Round 1 saw him finish seventh at Fox Raceway. He improved to sixth at Hangtown and scored his first top-five last week at Thunder Valley. More importantly, he got the hole shot in his last three motos and is getting progressively more comfortable on the bike.

Returning from retirement, for the time being at least, Ryan Dungey finished just outside the top five in sixth. Dungey finished 7-7.

450 results (moto finish)

  1. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (2-1)
  2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (1-3)
  3. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (4-2)
  4. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki (3-6)
  5. Antonio Cairolli, Italy, KTM (5-4)
  6. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plain, Minn., KTM (7-7)
  7. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GasGas, (6-8)
  8. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Husqvarna, (12-5)
  9. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga. Kawasaki (11-9)
  10. Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha (9-11)

450 points standings

  1. Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 134
  2. Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 129
  3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha – 120
  4. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki – 111
  5. Christian Craig, Temecula, Calif., Yamaha – 92
  6. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plain, Minn., KTM – 89
  7. Antonio Cairolli, Italy, KTM – 89
  8. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GasGas – 74
  9. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 72
  10. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Husqvarna – 65

In the 250 class, Jett Lawrence remained perfect. He did not win a moto this week, but his 2-2 was enough to take the overall ahead of his brother Hunter Lawrence with a 4-1 and Levi Kitchen’s 1-5.

The consistency was enough to stretch Jett’s points’ lead in his bid to win three consecutive 250 championships. He won last year’s Motocross title and was the 250 East winner in Supercross.

“I’m just happy to get through the day” Lawrence said after winning Round 2 while riding with an illness. “I’m (feeling) better than last weekend, but I’m still sick. I went flat (in the races). My speed just wasn’t there today. I just looked to stay on the podium and got the win, so I’m pumped.”

Three consecutive wins gives him a 12-point lead over Hunter, who has swept the podium in the first three rounds. The Australian brothers currently hold a commanding lead of 38 and 26 points respectively over Jo Shimoda in third.

Kitchen finished third overall. After winning Moto 1, Kitchen was collected in a multi-bike incident early in the race and had to battle back to finish fifth in Moto 2. The combined result was enough to give him third in the overall.

Justin Cooper finished 3-3 on the day to finish fourth.

Shimoda rounded out the top five with a finish of 7-6.

250 results (moto finish)

  1. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (2-2)
  2. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (4-1)
  3. Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha (1-5)
  4. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, NY, Yamaha (3-3)
  5. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (7-6)
  6. Stilez Roberston, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna (6-7)
  7. Michael Mosiman, Sebastapol, Calif., GasGas (13-4)
  8. Matthew LeBlanc, Breayx Bridge, La., Yamaha (10-9)
  9. Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Penn., Kawasaki (5-15)
  10. Nick Romano, Bayside, NY, Yamaha (9-13)

250 points standings

  1. Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 139
  2. Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 127
  3. Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawsaki – 101
  4. Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha – 100
  5. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, NY – 100
  6. Michael Mosiman, Sebastapol, Calif., GasGas – 81
  7. Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Penn., Kawasaki – 77
  8. Stilez Roberston, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna – 74
  9. Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM – 63
  10. Pierce Brown, Sandy, Utah, GasGas – 58

Round 1, Fox Raceway: Chase Sexton takes early lead in the championship hunt
Round 2, Hangtown: After 12 years of trying, Jason Anderson wins a Motocross race