Direct updates from round one of the season in California.
Follow the 2023 Pro Motocross Championship with direct updates from round one of the season at Fox Raceway through Racefeed.
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s title contender Justin Cooper set a scorching pace in the opening qualifying session to take pole position in the 250MX class. Cooper’s lap-time of 2m21.308s was almost 0.8s quicker than that of Red Bull KTM’s Maximus Vohland, who also set his fastest lap in the first session. Team Honda HRC’s title favorite, Hunter Lawrence, recorded the quickest time in the second session to take the third-fastest overall spot, ahead of Levi Kitchen (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) and Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki). Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing teenager Haiden Deegan finished the first qualifying sessions of the championship in P6, as RJ Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna), Jeremy Martin (Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha), Guillem Farres (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) and Ryder DiFrancesco (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) completed the top 10.
Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence has started his rookie 450MX campaign on the perfect note, by topping both qualifying sessions at Fox Raceway. The young Australian set a scorching final lap of the second session to log a 2m20.539s, the best part of 2.5s quicker than his Team Honda HRC team-mate Chase Sexton. The 2023 450cc Supercross Champion Sexton registered a 2m23.053s lap-time, outpacing Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo, who finished the time sessions in third place. Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb and 2021 Pro Motocross Champion Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) finished fourth and fifth, as Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM), Derek Drake (BarX Suzuki), Dante Oliveira (KTM), Jerry Robin (Yamaha) and Fredrik Noren (Twisted Team HEP Suzuki) filled positions sixth through to 10th.
250MX moto one:
RJ Hampshire opened his 2023 Pro Motocross account with a win in the opening 250MX moto. The two Rockstar Energy Husqvarnas of Jalek Swoll and Hampshire rounded the first turn at the head of the pack, but Shimoda wasted no time finding his way into the early lead. It didn’t last long though, as a small error let Hampshire take the advantage. The two continued to dice before Shimoda cross-rutted and crashed, allowing Hampshire to build a healthy lead and promote Vohland to second. As championship rivals Lawrence and Cooper worked their way up the field from P10 and P9 respectively, Hampshire continued to ride his own race, claiming a seven-second win over Vohland. A fast-finishing Lawrence made a last-lap pass on Shimoda to claim third, while Cooper crossed the line in fifth. Deegan recovered from an early fall to finish P6, ahead of early charger Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM), Farres, DiFrancesco and Kitchen.
450MX moto one:
Jett Lawrence put in a near-flawless performance to open his 450MX account with a win in the first 450MX moto. Lawrence found himself leading the field through the first turn and after quickly establishing a healthy buffer, controlled the race to finish with a 10-second margin over his team-mate Chase Sexton. Ferrandis finished third after holding down P2 for the first half of the moto. Red Bull KTM pairing Webb (P4) and Plessinger (P5) traded positions throughout the race as Plessinger crashed multiple times. Adam Cianciarulo finished a distant sixth ahead of the Venezuelan Lorenzo Locurcio (Wildcat Race Team), Robin, Grant Harlan (Yamaha) and Spain’s Jose Butron (Wildcat Race Team).
250MX moto two:
Hunter Lawrence came back with a vengeance to win the second 250MX title and take the round victory. Lawrence scored the holeshot and was never headed as he steadily stretched his lead to eight seconds by the time he crossed the finishline. There was plenty of action behind him after a pile-up in the opening corners held up some of the championship contenders, and moto one winner RJ Hampshire crashed twice on the first lap and had to fight his way from dead last. By the time the checkered flag fell, Deegan had wrapped up a successful first outing to his full-time rookie Pro Motocross season with a P2 result, while Vialle put in an improved display in third. Cooper crossed the line in fourth, with Farres in fifth. Shimoda, who was caught in the opening lap pile-up did well to finish sixth, ahead of Kitchen, Carson Mumford (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki), Vohland and Michael Mosiman (TLD Red Bull GasGas). Hampshire made his way from 40th to 13th.
450MX moto two:
Lawrence again charged to the front of the pack through the first turn, and spent the vast majority of the race holding off a fierce attack from Sexton on his way to a perfect 1-1 450MX debut. Sexton clung doggedly to the back of Lawrence, but couldn’t quite get close enough to stick a pass around the degrading Pala track, and had to settle for second, just one second behind his team-mate. A distant 44.90 seconds down the track, Ferrandis successfully defended his third-place spot from Plessinger after a lengthy battle, while Webb finished with another top five result. P6 went to Harlan, while Cianciarulo rebounded from an opening lap crash to finish seventh. Butron, Noren and Drake rounded out the top 10 spots.