How selected leading riders have performed to date in 2022.
Words: Simon Makker
It’s been a fascinating start to the 2022 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, with four different round winners emerging in the 450MX class, while Jett and Hunter Lawrence are proving to be the class of the 250MX field in the series’ early stages. In this edition of Rated, MotoOnline looks at the form of leading riders across both categories.
Rider: Chase Sexton
Rundown: Over the past few years, Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton has steadily been building his case to become a championship threat. In 2022 he’s stepped out from behind the shadow of his team-mate to show his hand and continues to lead the championship by a less-than-comfortable 13 points, but has stood on the podium at each of the four rounds. His performance hasn’t been without its moments though – Sexton was on his way to winning the second moto at Thunder Valley when he fell in a rut while leading with just a handful of corners to go, gifting Ken Roczen the race win and round overall. Despite that, Sexton’s been a class-act so far this year and we’re expecting that to continue for the remainder of the championship.
Rider: Jason Anderson
Rundown: The opening four rounds of Pro Motocross have been turbulent for Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson. Despite a frustrating season-opener at Fox Raceway where he finished sixth overall (courtesy of 4-8 results after surging through the pack in both motos), Anderson quickly bounced back a week later to claim his first-ever outdoor overall at Hangtown. The former Supercross champion put in a particularly strong first moto to take a narrow victory over Sexton, then backed it up with P3 in the second outing. The latest two rounds have seen Anderson lose his share of points, but he still finished fourth and third overall to rank fourth in the points-chase.
Rider: Ken Roczen
Rundown: It seems that Roczen’s sabbatical from midway through the AMA Supercross Championship has served its purpose. The Team Honda HRC rider might’ve entered Fox Raceway with a question-mark over his form, but he answered those questions with two runner-up results, including some hard racing with Sexton. However, it was Roczen’s performance at Thunder Valley where he snatched a last-gasp victory from Eli Tomac that had people talking. In the second moto, Roczen refused to lie down when Tomac closed in and the pair battled hard for multiple laps. Tomac’s brakes faded at the end of the race, enabling Roczen to build a gap, then capitalize on Sexton’s last-lap error to take the win. In the fourth round at High Point, Roczen struggled with the choppy track conditions to 7-4 results, but it’s obvious he’s now much more determined to fight back once pressured.
Rider: Eli Tomac
Rundown: After claiming the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, Tomac could have been forgiven for easing into the outdoor season. However, it hasn’t taken the Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing rider long to find his feet aboard the blue machine and, as each round passes, he seems to get stronger and faster as his knee improves. His overall round results reflect this, too. After a relatively subdued fourth overall at Pala, he finished third at Hangtown, second at Thunder Valley and then took the overall victory at High Point, with a convincing 2-1 result. Now that everyone has a weekend off to recharge the batteries, Tomac will be a real force to be reckoned with at RedBud next weekend.
Rider: Ryan Dungey
Rundown: He might not have won a round or any races yet, but we’ve been impressed with the ease that Ryan Dungey has returned to top-level racing after a five-year retirement. It’s a testament to the Red Bull KTM racer’s fitness, drive and natural ability that he’s able to hold down fifth in the point-standings, and he certainly doesn’t look out of place battling with the front-runners. After logging two fifths at the season-opener, Dungey finished sixth and seventh overall and Hangtown and Thunder Valley. At High Point he finished P6 in the opening race, then fought with Roczen down to the wire, but just missed out on his first podium of the year. It feels like it’s just a matter of time before we see the five back on the box, though.
Rider: Jett Lawrence
Rundown: Having won the 250MX title last year, followed by the 250SX East Supercross championship to start 2022, Jett Lawrence’s aim outdoors was to simply defend his title. Four rounds in, the Team Honda HRC phenom is well on the way to doing just that by winning every round so far, starting with a dominant 1-1 result at Pala. Despite battling sickness at Hangtown, he went deep into the hurt locker to secure to a 3-1 overall, then rode consistently to a 2-2 result at Thunder Valley to secure the round win there. At High Point he won on count-back, after eventually getting the upper-hand on his older brother in one of the best race-long battles we’ve seen in years. Jett’s had to find the top of the podium practically every way possible so far this year, proving he’s got the speed and race-craft to defend his title. It’s early days, but the signs are looking very encouraging for the popular teenager to go back-to-back.
Rider: Hunter Lawrence
Rundown: Team Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence has proven that if he gets a good start, he’s definitely in the mix for moto wins this year. Unfortunately, while his younger brother Jett has mastered the gate-drop, Hunter has had to work his way through the pack more often and it’s affected his overall points tally. Despite that, he’s only 12 points off the red plate and showed incredible pace in the second moto at Thunder Valley and both races at High Point, where he finished second on count-back to Jett. Hunter certainly has what it takes to continue winning races and bringing the fight, so as the siblings begin to stretch out a lead on the rest of the pack, it’ll be interesting to see if their tight dynamic changes between the two. After all, no-one likes getting beaten by their brother.