Team Honda HRC rookie stuns in first premier class appearance.
Qualifying for Houston 1 is complete as rookie Chase Sexton (450SX) and Christian Craig (250SX East) came out on top to commence Monster Energy Supercross for 2021.
Sexton proved that he will be a factor in the premier class by qualifying quickest in his 450SX debut with Team Honda HRC, recording a 44.006s to edge defending champion Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki).
The top 14 riders all lapped within the 44s bracket, setting up a spectacular opener tonight at NRG Stadium, which opens the series outside of California for the first time in over two decades.
In third it was the returning Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM), directly ahead of first session leader Ken Roczen (Team Honda HRC), Malcolm Stewart (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha) and Justin Barcia (TLD Red Bull GasGas). Roczen was P6 in the final session, however.
On combined times, Barcia was followed by another current 250 champion in Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha), Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy Kawasaki), Joey Savatgy (Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS) also on return and outdoor champion Zach Osborne (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna).
There were a host of name riders beyond the top 10, including 2018 champion Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna), Dean Wilson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna), 2019 title winner Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM) and Justin Brayton (Muc-Off Honda) – all within a second of Sexton’s top time of the session.
Fastest in qualifying to open the 250SX East season was new Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing signing Craig, his 43.765s lap-time the class – and overall – benchmark.
Craig led Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC), who had topped the opening session earlier, by 0.820s, with Colt Nichols (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha third, but a second away from his teammate.
Nichols, Austin Forkner (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) and RJ Hampshire’s (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) were all within the same tenth of a second in that order.
Positions six through 10 featured Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki), Michael Mosiman (TLD RedBull GasGas), Thomas Do (KTM), Mitchell Oldenburg (Muc-Off Honda) and rookie Max Vohland (Red Bull KTM).