Features 7 Jan 2023

Racefeed: 2023 Supercross Rd1 Anaheim

Direct updates from round one of the season at Angel Stadium.

Follow the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross Championship opener with direct updates from round one of the season at Angel Stadium in Anaheim through Racefeed.

Image: Octopi Media.

250SX practice:
Riders finally took to the track this afternoon at the season-opening round and it was Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner who topped the single timed 250SX West free practice session in Group A. Forkner recorded a 1m02.749s lap-time to lead RJ Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) by almost a full second, with Enzo Lopes (Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha) third. Despite an early fall, title favorite Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) was P4, followed by Mitchell Oldenburg (MotoConcepts Racing Honda). Positions six through 10 included Cameron McAdoo (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki), Max Vohland (Red Bull KTM), Pierce Brown (TLD Red Bull GasGas), Stilez Robertson on debut at Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing and Dylan Walsh (Kawasaki).

450SX practice:
The first opportunity to see the 450SX category on-track came and there were a few surprises along the way, but it was ultimately Chase Sexton (Team Honda HRC) who topped the charts with a late 1m03.332s. Sexton was 0.613s clear of Christian Craig (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) upon return to the premier class, with defending champion Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) third in what was his first appearance on the new YZ450F. Fourth was Marvin Musquin (Red Bull KTM), followed by rookie Colt Nichols (Team Honda HRC). The top 10 was completed by Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM), Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki), Joey Savatgy (RWR Kawasaki), Justin Barcia (TLD Red Bull GasGas) and Malcolm Stewart (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna). Notably, Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM), Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) and Ken Roczen (Progressive Suzuki) were in positions 11 through 13.

250SX qualifying one:
It was Lopes who continued his afternoon form in the opening 250SX West qualifying session, this time climbing to P1 on the time-sheets at 1m02.550s. Lopes was slightly quicker than Forkner’s 1m02.603s lap-time after he went down during the session, as Lawrence slotted into third with a 1m02.672s. They were the lone three riders within the 1m02s, while Hampshire was fourth, from former teammate Robertson. The top 10 also included Brown, McAdoo, Derek Kelley (AEO Powersports KTM) and Levi Kitchen (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing).

450SX qualifying one:
The first 450SX qualifying session saw Anderson crash heavily in the opening laps, but he was able to remount soon afterwards and complete a series of laps. At the front, a flier from Musquin resulted in the quickest time of the day at 1m01.227s, a few tenths clear of practice pace-setter Sexton, while Tomac again factored in third with a 1m02.304s. It was a solid start for Plessinger as well in P4, with full-time newcomer Craig fifth, directly ahead of Husky teammate Stewart. Seventh was an improvement by Webb, followed by Barcia, Anderson and Roczen. Again there were big names outside of the top 10, with Ferrandis in P11, Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy Kawasaki) next in line and Savatgy 13th.

250SX qualifying two:
Forkner fired the first real shot of the new 250SX West season in qualifying two after posting a 1m00.595s as the benchmark, edging Lawrence after he too put down a late lap to challenge for the top. As he did earlier in the afternoon, Lawrence fell victim to the conditions and went down early, but quickly remounted to get back on-pace. It was Brown who stepped up early as the first rider into the 1m00s, eventually settling into third position and marginally ahead of Hampshire in P4. Fifth came McAdoo at 1m01.601s, with Kitchen next in line as he again moved up the order following a quiet start to the opener. The rider who was fastest in Q1, Lopes was further back in seventh this time out, followed by Vohland, Robertson and Oldenburg.

450SX qualifying two:
Team Honda HRC rider Sexton was the first and only rider of the day to lap beneath a minute in the second 450SX qualifying session, his 59.785s three tenths clear of Tomac in second position. There were yet further mistakes in the final outing as riders continued to be challenged by the soft, but dry track conditions, including Craig – 14th overall in the end – after he crashed hard in the whoops and managed to resume. Third was once again convincing from Musquin, joined inside the top-five by Anderson – despite falling once again in the session – and Roczen, who has endured a mixed reunion aboard the RM-Z so far. P6 was an improved showing from Ferrandis to cap-off the afternoon, followed by Webb, Cianciarulo, Stewart and Plessinger.

250SX heat one:
A controlled performance from Hampshire saw him power to the first heat race win of 2023, keeping a charging Lawrence – fourth at the conclusion of lap one – at bay and crossing the finish with an eventual advantage of 2.537s. The refreshed track conditions have resulted in quicker lap-times already tonight as Lawrence posted a 57.812s on lap three, but it wasn’t enough to catch Hampshire. Third came a consistent ride from Vohland, with Kitchen fourth and Oldenburg completing the top five. Sixth through 10th included Kelley, Cole Thompson (Team Solitaire Heartbeat Hot Sauce Yamaha), Hunter Yoder (Partzilla PRMX Kawasaki), Anthony Rodriguez (Smartop MCR Honda) and Dominique Thury (Team Solitaire Heartbeat Hot Sauce Yamaha) the top 10.

250SX heat two:
Heat two of 250SX saw Brown unfortunately go down on the opening lap just two turns in, ruling him out of the race and potentially out of the night altogether. Another rider to receive attention from the medical team was Wilson Todd (Fire Power Honda) after clashing with Hunter Schlosser (Yamaha) in the early laps. Up front, Lopes led the first lap until McAdoo made his way through and went on to win by 2.571s, with Forkner well-back in P3. Fourth was Walsh, followed by Drake, Robertson despite going down, then Phil Nicoletti (Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha), Robbie Wageman (BarX Suzuki), Dilan Schwartz (Progressive Ecstar Suzuki) and Ty Masterpool (BarX Suzuki) were the final riders inside the top 10 to start the series.

450SX heat one:
It was all Tomac at the front to commence his defense in heat one, leading a new YZ450F 1-2 ahead of Ferrandis in the bike’s debut. Tomac wound up three seconds ahead of his factory Yamaha teammate, while in third was an inspired ride from Cianciarulo upon return to competition. There was a major battle for P4 that was won by Plessinger, moving by both Anderson and Savatgy in the closing stages – the latter pair near coming together on the final lap. Seventh was class rookie Nichols, with Craig behind him and Grant Harlan (Rock River Yamaha) in the final transfer position. In 10th was Kevin Moranz (KTM), on his way to the LCQ coming up later tonight.

450SX heat two:
Like Tomac before him, Sexton shot out to the lead from the outset and that’s where he would remain as conditions continued to deteriorate. Sexton won by 2.672s ahead of Roczen, who managed to hold back a determined ride from Webb after he wasn’t able to slice his way through. Behind them, Stewart rode hard to fourth position, with Musquin fifth after dropping down the order from second on the opening lap. Sixth was a quiet ride from Barcia, with seventh through 10th including Dean Wilson (Fire Power Honda), Justin Hill (Team Tedder Monster Energy Mountain Motorsports KTM), Justin Starling (GasGas) – the final rider going direct to the main – and Shane McElrath (Twisted Tea Suzuki).

250SX LCQ:
Transferring through the 250SX last-chance qualifier were Jerry Robin (AJE Motorsports GasGas), Maxwell Sanford (Honda), Schlosser and Hunter Cross (KTM). It was looking like Masterpool would be making the main event, but he went down late while leading and then came together with Schlosser, effectively ending his night in fifth position.

450SX LCQ:
The four riders to transfer in 450SX were Fredrik Noren (Kawasaki) in his first-career LCQ win, Kevin Moranz (KTM), Josh Hill (Team Tedder Monster Energy Mountain Motorsports KTM) to make it both Hill brothers in the main event and John Short (Kawasaki) after holding off Alex Ray (Yamaha) when it counted. It was a disaster for Shane McElrath after signing with Twisted Tea Suzuki late in the pre-season, going down in the first turn and forced out for the night.

250SX main event:
Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence struck first in the opening 250SX West round of the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross season at Anaheim 1, putting forward a commanding performance to earn the early red plate. The race started with top-qualifier Forkner being catapulted down the start straight after connecting handlebars with Hampshire and teammate McAdoo, ruling him out before things even really got started. Up front, however, there was no touching Lawrence as he managed to overcome a troubled afternoon to deliver what everybody expected in the pre-season – victory. In the end, Lawrence’s winning buffer over a hard-charging Hampshire was 5.259s, with McAdoo bringing home a podium to open his year. A late move from Oldenburg saw him claim fourth position over Vohland in completing the top-five, while sixth marked a solid haul of points for Lopes. Top of the Star Yamahas was Kitchen in seventh position, with Nicoletti eighth, Robertson ninth and Kelley 10th at race’s end.

450SX main event:
Number one plate-holder Eli Tomac has won a first-career Anaheim 1 in the opening round of the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross Championship, delivering on debut with the new generation YZ450F. The premier class main event began with Barcia at the head of the pack before defending champion Tomac took charge and the former crashed soon afterwards. From there, Tomac led until lap eight when he made an error, handing the lead to Stewart as he controlled things until lap 13. That was when Sexton hit the front for his share, only for a spectacular Tomac to rebound from as far back as P5 to reclaim the lead on lap 17. And that’s where he would stay, taking the checkered flag 2.778s ahead of fellow two-time title-winner Webb, who had charged forward from 10th on the opening lap. Webb made a move on Sexton in the closing laps, which ultimately completed the podium as Tomac won ahead of Webb and Sexton. Ferrandis kept pushing to salvage fourth position, while a fast-starting Roczen faded to fifth by race’s end, ahead of rookie standout Nichols. Anderson was another faller on his way to seventh, the top 10 also featuring Plessinger, Cianciarulo and Savatgy, while Barcia finally took an 11th-place result. Disaster struck Stewart while running in a podium position with just two to go, credited 22nd in the end after what was an exceptional performance.