2022 Fox Raceway One Motocross | Race Report & Results
There’s no such thing as a perfect day, but 2022 Fox Raceway One Motocross was pretty close. The opening round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship took place in postcard-worthy Southern California weather and at a track rider’s know better than anywhere on the summer schedule, two things that contributed to close racing of the afternoon’s four motos.
Jett Lawrence | 1st Place | 250 Class
Jett Lawrence had another ideal day at Fox Raceway, as the defending champion claimed both motos, scored his fourth overall win at the Southern California circuit, and kept the red plate on his Team Honda HRC CRF250R.
Good laps in the morning’s practice put Lawrence near, but not at the top, of the time sheets and a 2:14.055 in Session One put him fourth overall in the Timed Qualifying results. This ranking didn’t go unnoticed, as some were quick to assume the “lack of pace” was tied to the crash at the Supercross finale earlier in May.
Those concerns lasted all of four laps. After an excellent start put Lawrence on the rear wheel Justin Cooper through the first quarter of 250 Moto One and gave him the chance to learn the Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider’s lines, he scrubbed through the finish line section, dove to the inside line in the next turn, and came out with the lead. Lawrence upped the pace as soon as he got in front, and within a lap, there was a 4.8-second gap between the rivals. The rest of the race was little more than a display of Lawrence’s line choices and technique; he stood up around most of track, coasted the bike over the choppy terrain, and crossed the finish well ahead of the pack.
The fifteen laps of 250 Moto Two weren’t much different. Another great drive out of the gate put Lawrence into second place and behind another Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider, this time being Nick Romano. The teenagers went at it for two laps, a back and forth that Romano managed with moves of his own, but it wasn’t enough to hold off the more experienced rider and Lawrence took over lead with another inside line. Lawrence’s lead varied over the course of the moto; he broke away from the field in the first third, hammered in the middle to build a 14-second gap, then coasted through the final laps to finish five seconds ahead.
Hunter Lawrence | 2nd Place | 250 Class
Hunter Lawrence earned his runner-up finish at the opening round. The Team Honda HRC rider put him fast laps during the morning’s practice sessions, passed his way forward in 250 Moto One, made a move on the last lap of 250 Moto Two, and ended the day with 2-2 scores for second overall. This sort of consistency is something we’ve come to expect of Lawrence, and it helped Honda complete the 1-2 sweep.
Lawrence’s fastest practice laps came from the first session, when he clicked off a 2:13.380 during a late run. Fortunately for him, few riders were able to improve the second time out, and the lap stood as second-best in the final results.
A fourth-place start put Lawrence in with the front group in 250 Moto One, behind pole-sitter Seth Hammaker, early leader Justin Cooper, and teammate Jett. He applied steady pressure to Hammaker through the early laps and passed the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider on lap seven, then got by Cooper for second place a lap later. Lawrence pushed through to the end of the race, evident his personal-best lap on lap 17, but was never within five seconds of race leader-sibling Jett.
Moto Two’s second-place finish required a much bigger effort. Although Lawrence was within the top-ten from gate drop, his seventh-place rank on the opening lap put him behind Romano, J Lawrence, Hammaker, Mosiman, Shimoda, and Robertson and it took the entire fifteen-lap race to get to second place. Lawrence’s late pursuit of Shimoda for second place was an indicator of his ambitions; second overall was already assured, but still he caught and passed the PC rider on the last lap, a move that got him two more championship points.
Jo Shimoda | 3rd Place | 250 Class
Jo Shimoda’s third place finish at Fox Raceway is an excellent if not expected result, for the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider. Shimoda came to a track he’s spun hundreds of laps at as proven podium finisher from the previous summer and left with another trophy for the growing collection. But it wasn’t the easiest day. A 2:15.413 lap in the Session One put him around the other factory-supported riders, but only ninth overall in Timed Qualifying results.
Shimoda again found himself in, but near the rear of the top-10 in the early minutes of 250 Moto One. After a skirmish with RJ Hampshire momentarily knocked Shimoda out of the top-10, he regrouped, pushed through the middle of the race, put in the fastest single lap of the moto (2:17:455), passed seven riders in thirteen laps (this included a rapid attack on Kitchen and Forkner), and finished in fourth place.
A much better start put Shimoda into fifth place on the opening lap of 250 Moto Two, and with far fewer people to pass and plenty of time on the clock, the PC rider waited out the frenzied rush of Romano, Lawrence, Hammaker, and Mosiman. The strategy paid off on lap five, as Shimoda went from fifth to third with another set quick passes on Hammaker and Romano, and again on lap eight when he got around Mosiman for second place. The only bad moment of Shimoda’s moto occurred on the final lap, when his urgent effort to hold off H Lawrence got thwarted by slower traffic and a risky line choice at the top of the hill allowed the Honda rider a perfect opportunity to make his move. Shimoda’s frustration was apparent as he rolled to the finish line, but it was eased by the points earned by from 4-3 finishes and a third place overall.
Chase Sexton | 1st Place | 450 Class
After showing flashes of speed in last years outdoor season and grabbing a few wins in the 2022 Monster Energy Supercross series, Chase Sexton was widely considered a title contender coming into the series opener at Fox Raceway. The young talent’s speed has never been questioned, but would the Honda HRC rider be able to put his mistakes behind him and be a threat in the 2022 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross championship?
The day couldn’t have started any better for Chase Sexton, as he rose to the occasion in timed-qualifying and topped the leaderboards after throwing down a 2:12.333 late in the final session of qualifying. Not only was that lap time the fastest of the day, but it was also nearly an entire second faster than his teammate Ken Roczen’s fastest time, who sat in second place on the time sheets.
When it came time for the gate drops, Chase Sexton rounded the first turn just inside of the top-5 in the first 450MX moto. Though, he was quick to attack, as he immediately pressured Shane McElrath for fourth place and ultimately made the pass after a good, but short, battle with the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna fill-in. From there, Sexton logged consistent laps and lurked behind Eli Tomac for a few laps. Eli then began to fall off pace, which allowed Chase to slide into the number two position.
As the first 450MX moto neared the halfway-point, Chase ticked off some impressive fast laps and was two-seconds faster than his teammate, Ken Roczen, who led the field. The Honda HRC teammates swapped lines and battled it out for the lead, even making contact at one point after Sexton over-jumped a roller and came in too hot into the corner before the finish line, where he bumped Roczen’s rear wheel. Though, Sexton found his way into the lead and made a pass after jumping long and into some breaking bumps on the inside of Ken. After Sexton crossed the finish line to claim the first moto victory, Ken Roczen and himself congratulated each other on their results and a good battle.
Chase Sexton made it much easier for himself in the second 450MX moto, as he rocketed out of the gate to snag the holeshot and the early race lead. Though, just like in the first moto, Sexton would have to deal with a hard charging Ken Roczen. By the end of the first lap, Roczen was your new race leader after scrubbing through the finish line and into the inside line. Sexton would remount a charge towards the lead, but not for a while. However, before the checkered flag waved, Sexton had re-passed his teammate in the same section he had lost the lead in. Roczen stayed close after being passed, but Sexton would beat him to the finish line to go 1-1 at Fox Raceway.
Ken Roczen | 2nd Place | 450 Class
Coming into the 2022 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season, a lot of questions were due for answers regarding Ken Roczen. Though, one thing was for sure; no one would be surprised if the Honda HRC rider ended round one on the podium.
Ken Roczen’s day started off well in timed-qualifying, as he sat at the top the leaderboards for a majority of the final qualifying session. Although he ultimately was bumped down into second place by his teammate, his 2:13.120 was still well-over half a second faster than the rest of the competition.
As the gate dropped for the first 450MX moto, Ken Roczen’s red fender was the first to round the corner. The Honda HRC rider’s pace on the opening laps was nothing short of impressive, as he lunged himself to a comfortable lead on the rest of the field after just two laps.
However, as the first moto neared the halfway point, Roczen’s teammate Chase Sexton was closing and doing so fast. Just when it looked like Sexton would have the pass for the lead completed, Ken busted out a creative double over some chatter and into a preferred outside line to replace some time between himself and Chase. Though, just a few laps later, Sexton launched off a small roller and into the inside to close off Roczen and take away the race lead. Ken Roczen crossed the finish line in second place in the first moto, just behind his Honda HRC teammate.
The second 450MX moto was off and Roczen had some more work to do in this race, as he rounded the first turn in third place and behind his main competition. Although, Roczen’s pace in the opening laps again worked in his favor massively, as he managed to make a quick pass on Ryan Dungey in the third section and then pull alongside his teammate through the jumps before the finish line at the end of lap one. By the time the Honda HRC riders began their second lap in moto two, Ken Roczen was already in the lead.
After passing into the race lead, Ken Roczen rode his own race out front and maintained a small lead on Chase Sexton until just after the halfway point. Sexton was logging some insane lap times and now pressuring Roczen for the race lead, as he pulled alongside his teammate through the same section of jumps he had lost the lead in earlier in the race. Chase beat Ken to the next corner to re-take the lead and ultimately grab the race win. Ken Roczen crossed the finish line in second place to go 2-2 at Fox Raceway.
Christian Craig | 3rd Place | 450 Class
After being crowned the 250SX West Coast Champion in Salt Lake City, Utah a few weeks back, Christian Craig has now ended his 250cc class career and moved on to achieve the same success in the 450cc class. Like in years prior, The Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider will contend in the 450MX class for the summer, adding to the already stacked entry list.
Christian’s day started off well, as he returned to his once local track for maybe the second time in a year and ended up seventh overall in timed-qualifying. With a 2:14.523, Craig sat just a few tenths behind Antonio Cairoli on the time sheets. Although it wasn’t a bad result in qualifying, Christian’s day would only improve from that point.
The Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider rounded the first turn just outside of the top-5, but tipped the bike over on the first lap and lost a few positions to Dungey, Anderson, and Plessinger. After a few laps went by, Christian found himself back by Anderson and Plessinger. A positions ahead, teammate Eli Tomac was dropping off the pace and loosing time to both Dungey and Craig. While receiving pressure from Dungey, Eli bobbled and not only allowed Ryan to make the pass, but also let Craig sneak by in the following corner. Christian then switched his attention to Ryan Dungey, who held down third place. A few more laps into the first moto, Craig made a pass on Dungey stick after carrying more momentum out of an outside line. Christian then held onto third place until the checkered flag waved, although he had to withstand a few challenges from Jason Anderson on the closing laps.
Christian Craig began the second 450MX moto in fifth place, but had secured fourth place after making a pass on Antonio Cairoli on the first lap. Following that pass, Craig had to wait until the halfway point to challenge for another position. He had to work for it, but Christian was finally able to make the pass stick on Dungey for third place with about 10-minutes left on the clock. When the checkered flag waved for the final time at round one of the 2022 Pro Motocross series, Christian Craig crossed the finish line in third place and went 3-3 on the day.