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

Roczen Motocross Round 3

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 “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

Jett Lawrence wins Pro Motocross opener, remains perfect at Fox Raceway; Hunter wins in 250s

How they finished in the 450 Overall at Fox Raceway
Align Media

PALA, California – In his 450 bike debut, Jett Lawrence scored a perfect round at Fox Raceway in Pala, California to win Pro Motocross Round 1. He posted the fastest time in both qualification sessions, won the holeshot in both motos, and scored a pair of wins to take the overall victory and the early points’ lead.

Chase Sexton stalked Jett Lawrence throughout Moto 2, but could not find his way past. – Align Media

No one seriously questioned Lawrence’s opportunity to make noise in the 450 class. Few would have been surprised to see him podium in his Pro Motocross National, but Lawrence outperformed all expectations by dominating Moto 1. He entered the weekend with zero points and his eye on 20th in the standings so he would receive an automatic invitation to the inaugural SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX).

He well surpassed expectations.

“It’s awesome,” Lawrence told NBC Sports’ Jason Thomas. “I can finally smile. I’ve been trying to stay serious and not get too excited with emotions coming up – and now I can finally let loose. The second one was a little harder, I couldn’t hear him but I’d look back and I’d still see the red bike. It was like a chess match.”

By the end of the race, Lawrence made up 30 percent of the points he needed to claim 20th and served notice that he will be one of the favorites to win the championship. He closed the gap even further in Moto 2, but the two races had entirely different storylines.

While Lawrence was able to run away from the field in the first race and win with a 10-second advantage, Honda teammate and defending Monster Energy Supercross champion Chase Sexton pressured him for the entire 30 minutes plus two laps that made up Moto 2.

Lawrence is the 16th rider to win in his first Pro Motocross race, the 10th to do so in an opener and second youngest, (behind Rick Johnson, 17 when he won at Hangtown in 1982).

Sexton was within two seconds of Lawrence for the entire moto. He rode a patient race with the realistic expectation that the 450 rookie Lawrence might make a mistake. Lawrence bounced from rut to rut in this race, but would not be forced into losing his focus.

“Toward the finish line area I had some decent lines, I thought maybe, if I could get close enough, I could make a move,” Sexton said. “I tried my hardest; I got close. I made a bit of an attempt with maybe 10 minutes to go and messed up. Jett was obviously riding really good. We were pushing the pace and it was a fun moto. It felt a little like last year.”

With his 1-1 finish and the overall victory, Lawrence remains perfect at Fox Raceway after sweeping Victory Lane in five rounds his 250 career.

Dylan Ferrandis returned to the track after suffering a concussion in the Supercross season in Round 4 in Houston. He attempted to return for the Daytona Supercross race, but another hard crash on Media Day set him on the sideline.

“Earlier this week I was pretty far from a podium position, so got together with the team and we made it happen,” Ferrandis said. “It was very hard. [Aaron Plessinger] was pushing me and I had to dig very deep.”

RESULTS: How they finished in the 450 Overall at Fox Raceway

In a pre-race news conference, he indicated that the best course of action was to get up to speed before he fully sent his bike into the turns. But adrenalin is a wonderful factor and once he got into the pace of the race, he held off charges from Cooper Webb in Moto 1 and Plessinger in Moto 2. Ferrandis’ 3-3 finishes in the two races earned 40 points and puts him back in the conversation to be among the top 20 in the combined SuperMotocross standings.

Plessinger and Webb each ended the day with 34 points. Plessinger won the tiebreaker for fifth overall in the standings. But it was an adventurous afternoon for Plessinger who had to overcome a pair of falls in the first Moto to finish fifth.

Round 1 of the Pro Motocross season marked the return of Webb after he suffered a Supercross series ending concussion in a heat race at Nashville.

“This was a last minute decision,” Webb said. “I sat out last summer and I didn’t want to do that again. Once I got cleared from the doctor, it was game on.”

The battle between Lawrence and Sexton gave Honda a 1-2 finish in this race for the second straight year, but perhaps most importantly, it provided a glimpse of what can be expected during the opening rounds.

I think there is more to come from Chase,” Lawrence said. “He had that crash in practice so it rung his head a bit, but I know it’s going to be a war in the outdoor season. I know there’s going to be times when I’m behind Chase and can’t get around him. It’s going to be an awesome season and I can’t wait to race my teammate.”

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Jett wasn’t the only Lawrence to win Fox Raceway Motocross. Hunter’s win in the 250 class marked the first time in history that brothers won a Motocross National on the same day.

The reigning 250 East Supercross champion scored the overall victory with a third in Moto 1 and a victory in Moto 2. A poor start in the first race forced Lawrence to mount a charge from behind. Riding with discomfort, Lawrence was out of his rhythm early. A spirited battle with Jo Shimoda and Justin Cooper for third through fifth forced him to push through the pain of an injury suffered at the start of the week.

“The start was crucial,” Lawrence said. “I had a massive crash Monday and could barely ride press day for three laps, I was in so much pain. This one goes out to Dr. [Rey Gubernick]. He has magic hands.”

Lawrence’s strong start to Moto 2 put him in a better zone and he pulled an eight-second advantage over the second-place rider.

Haiden Deegan got a taste of the Motocross series last year, but that was all it was: a nibble.

Deegan failed to crack the top 10 in either of two starts and had some questions for himself before the race began. Deegan did not believe there were high expectations placed on him for this race, which is precisely how he described his first Supercross attempt. In that inaugural SX race, he finished fourth and was as surprised as anyone in the field.

Again: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Deegan surprised himself again by finishing second in only his third Motocross National. He finished sixth in Moto 1 and second in Moto 2, giving him a second-place finish overall.

“I’m actually a little surprised,” Deegan said. “A lot of people said I wouldn’t even be close to this. I guess we’re proving people wrong and that’s what we’ve got to do Second place in my first full season. I’m hyped.”

Deegan is closing in on his first 250 win.

Click here for 250 overall results

RJ Hampshire had to overcome a pair of falls in Moto 2 to score the final podium position in the overall standings. – Align Media

RJ Hampshire made a statement in Moto 1. An entirely new discipline allowed Hampshire to grab an early advantage. But then a poor start to Moto 2 provided an entirely different challenge. Two falls on Lap 1 dropped Hampshire to 39th in the running order.

“I didn’t have a great start and got mayhem in that second corner and went down,” Hampshire said. “Picked [myself] up in last and made some really good passes and then going uphill on the [backstretch], someone got out of whack – took me out and I was dead last again. I didn’t really know if I had a shot at the podium, but I was digging really deep.”

It took half of the race to get back into the points in 20th, but Hampshire kept digging. Passing riders one at a time, he climbed to 11th in Moto 2 and salvaged enough points to give him the third position overall.

Maximus Vohland made a statement of his own by holding off a determined Lawrence on the last two laps. Lawrence was able to pressure Vohland when they were slowed by a lapped rider who fell in front of the battle.

Tom Vialle was in a position to take the final overall podium spot with a solid third-place finish in the second moto. He did everything he could, but Hampshire’s determined charge from the back of the pack was capped off with a two-position advance on the final lap to slide onto the final step of the box.

2023 Supercross Race Recaps

Salt Lake City: Chase Sexton ends the season with win
Denver: Chase Sexton wins, takes points’ lead with Eli Tomac injury
Nashville: Chase Sexton keeps hope alive; Cooper Webb out
New Jersey: Justin Barcia wins muddy race; first in two years
Atlanta: Chase Sexton is back in the championship picture
Glendale: Eli Tomac wins 51st, breaks tie with James Stewart
Seattle: Eli Tomac wins and ties Webb for first
Detroit: Chase Sexton inherits win after Aaron Plessinger falls
Indianapolis: Ken Roczen gets first win in more than a year
Daytona: Eli Tomac extends Daytona record with seventh win
Arlington: Cooper Webb wins for second time, closes to two of Tomac
Oakland: Eli Tomac ties Ricky Carmichael with 48 wins
Tampa: Cooper Webb gets first 2023 win
Houston: Eli Tomac bounces back from A2 crash to win third race of 2023
Anaheim 2: Triple Crown produces new winners Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen
San Diego: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence double down
Anaheim 1: Eli Tomac wins opener for the first time

More SuperMotocross coverage

Record Supercross attendance reported in 2023
450 Champion Chase Sexton takes back what he gave away
250 West Supercross champion Jett Lawrence ends dream career
250 East Supercross champion Hunter Lawrence overcomes doubt and injury
Cooper Webb returns to action at Pala
Caden Braswell joins Troy Lee Design
SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Supercross finale