Assorted racer comments following the opening round of the season.
In Quotebook, a selection of riders detail how their races played out at the opening round of the 2023 Pro Motocross Championship at Fox Raceway.
Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – First:
I definitely didn’t expect a day like this. I felt like I knew where I was coming in, but jumping up to this class, everyone is fast and fit. That second moto, I kept looking over my shoulder, thinking I gave myself a gap, just to see the 23 even closer than before! I find battles like these fun, though – they make me a better rider and they test how well I can handle the pressure. I knew Chase wasn’t going anywhere and it would be a long 35 minutes, but it was great having a clean battle. I expect this whole season to be a chess match, and it’s nice to take the first round.
Chase Sexton (Team Honda HRC) – Second:
We’re off to a solid start. I didn’t feel like I had the speed early in the day, and that crash in practice didn’t help my confidence. In the first moto I just rode sloppy, but I kept building and getting more comfortable throughout the day. In the second moto I felt like I was me from outdoors last year. We just have to keep building confidence and making the bike even better. I feel like I’m prepared to take this fight all the way to the end.
Dylan Ferrandis (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Third:
It is always good to end up on the podium, and I didn’t really expect that. During qualifying, I was struggling a little bit with the bike with the new chassis. I wanted to be a little bit more comfortable, and that’s what we worked on all day. The bike kept getting better session after session. If anyone had told me I would have finished on the podium at the first round, I would have told them they were dreaming. Everybody worked really hard, so it was good to give them back something with a podium and get some good points.
Adam Cianciarulo (Monster Energy Kawasaki) – Sixth:
This race was good for me and my Kawasaki KX450SR. Pala isn’t my favorite track, it’s a bit choppy and rough which gets difficult but I’m trying my best every lap and controlling what I can control. It is a decent start to the Pro Motocross season and we are going to keep improving and building each round.
Cooper Webb (Red Bull KTM) – Fifth:
This was very, very last minute to race here, obviously with the injury being the main reason. Together with the team we got things done and last week was the first 30-minute moto I’ve done since 2021, so prep hasn’t been ideal, but today was solid for me, and I was really happy with it. We showed some speed, showed some potential and are ready to give it another shake in Hangtown.
Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM) – Fourth:
It was an eventful day here, for sure. I was riding really good, but ended up going down twice in that first moto – I think Coop saw me five times and was probably wondering what I was doing. Went out in moto two and had a big battle with Dylan Ferrandis, probably should have executed a couple things better on my end to make a move, but stoked to come away with fourth and take the battle into Hangtown.
Derek Drake (BarX Suzuki) – 15th:
Qualifying went well, I was P6 in both sessions. In the first moto, I had a bad start and worked my way up to seventh before I DNF’d. In the second moto, I worked my way up to sixth before I ended up 10th. I’m looking forward to next weekend!
Freddie Noren (Twisted Tea Suzuki) – 11th:
I wanted more like I always do, but considering this was my sixth day on the bike, it was a good day. In the first moto, I had some close calls in the first few laps due to a bad start. I also went down twice. So considering that, 13th in the first moto was good. In the second moto, with a much better start, I put myself in sixth place. Then on lap three I made a rider error and stalled the bike. I went down to about 13th but put on a good charge and came back up to ninth. That gave me 10th overall for the day, so I’m happy about that. The team’s doing really well. The more time we have together, and the more we test, the results will improve from here. We have ten more races to go, so it should be good.
Kyle Chisolm (Twisted Tea Suzuki) – 12th:
I ended up 12th. Which wasn’t bad. We adjusted the bike all day and we made some great progress, so we’ll try to apply it for next week. My starts were fairly good in both motos. I need a little more intensity at the beginning of the motos to be better positioned to go with the front group. We’ll try to improve on that this week. I typically enjoy Hangtown, so I’m looking forward to this week and we’ll aim for the top ten.
Marshall Weltin (Twisted Tea Suzuki) – 18th:
I didn’t quite deliver what I was expecting today. I just couldn’t stay off the ground. In moto one I fell over, bent the clutch lever, and I couldn’t get back going – I got tangled up in a banner. I still finished the moto and ended up 31st. In the second moto, I feel I was riding okay, but I had some crashes. I just couldn’t stay off the ground; and fell four times. But the bike feels really good right now. I’m happy with everything and had a solid prep coming into the year, so I was expecting more today. The team’s been great, but I just need to execute.
Hunter Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – First:
That first moto was me just taking what I could get – I was pushing as far as I could with what the track was giving me, but I didn’t want to throw away a good finish. In the second moto I put a lot of emphasis on the start, I knew I needed that to make my life easier. Coming through the pack on this track is so difficult, with the way it forms. Once you get into a rhythm, it’s very hard to drop the hammer and start picking guys off. I’m excited with the way we started the season, and I can’t wait to keep this going.
Chance Hymas (Team Honda HRC) – 13th:
I’m not necessarily happy with the day, but I’m relieved to get round 1 down. It had been a while since I’d been on the gate with all of these guys, and I really didn’t know what to expect. Now, I know where I’m at and how I can get to where those other guys are. If I can stay in there towards the end of the races, when guys are dropping like flies, I can be successful. I’m proud of myself for what I did today, but I’m not satisfied.
Jordon Smith (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 12th:
It was good to get back to racing outdoors. It’s been four years since I’ve raced one. It was a good learning day. I didn’t end up where I wanted to be, but we learned a lot. Overall, I had a lot of fun out there, and I’m ready to continue building throughout the season.
Haiden Deegan (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Second:
Today was definitely a good day. I didn’t have a great start in the first moto, so I was pushing and was in about eighth when I hit someone and fell. I got back up to sixth. I knew I had the speed, so in the second moto, I had a better start and made my way up to second and just rode smooth for second overall. It was a great way to start off the season.
Levi Kitchen (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Ninth:
The day started well with the best qualifying I think I’ve ever had. But the story of my life today was bad starts in both motos. I fell that first moto but felt like I had good speed. The second moto was another bad start, but then I never really felt like I had good speed in that one. We’re going to put our heads down and focus on next weekend.
Guillem Farres (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Eighth:
I’m really happy with my first race. I ended up going eighth overall and had a fifth in the second moto. It’s my first race in a while, so it was a pretty good day, and I want to keep building from here.
Carson Mumford (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – 10th:
The first moto was pretty good but made just enough mistakes to push me outside the top 10. But the second moto I felt better, I just had to use that energy to get through the pack. I’m happy with how I rode in the second moto, which I’ll take with me mentally into the next round at Hangtown.
Jo Shimoda (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – Seventh:
The day started off great, but I didn’t put myself in a position to finish well. I felt good so it’s tough to finish seventh overall. But if you’re looking at the points, they are all really close and that’s what we’re pushing for – to be on top of the points. We’ll work more on starts this week and hopefully get them dialed to have a good race next weekend.
Jett Reynolds (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – 14th:
I didn’t come in with much to expect other than wanting to ride well, stay healthy and learn a lot. I think overall we accomplished that and I learned so much that I know we can build on for the next few rounds. If I had anything I’d hope for this season is to be better at the end than when I started and this is the starting point of all that.
Ryder DiFrancesco (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – 11th:
I am really happy with my starts and think I just have a few things to clean up to be capable of finishing in the top five. The speed is high, and those little mistakes cost you big. So we’ll work on some things this week to get even better at Hangtown.
Max Vohland (Red Bull KTM) – Fourth:
Pretty happy with today. It’s always an achievement to end up on the box, even if it was for a moto, so it’s another stepping stone for me. I was really looking to get on the podium overall today, but I qualified well, was fast in the first moto, and second moto I felt really good, just a couple of mistakes cost me. I felt I had everything it took today, just tangling with the rider in moto two really hurt, but I’m stoked to be headed to my home race in Hangtown next week and we’ll fight for a podium.
Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM) – Sixth:
It was a difficult start to the day with 16th in qualifying, though we made some changes to get more comfortable with the conditions. First moto, I made some more improvements, and could manage a seventh place in that moto. Second moto, we made positive changes and I felt way better, so was able to get third place. I’m pretty happy with the day and my first National, we made great progression throughout the day between myself and the team – I was a bit sick coming into this round, so overall I’m happy to start my season like this.
RJ Hampshire (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – Third:
For the first round of the outdoors, I was so excited to come here and race. It started off with a great start in the first moto. I’ve never felt like that out front where things felt that easy and I didn’t really have to get out of my comfort zone. Coming into the second moto I was going to try and do the same thing and it’s on me. I botched that start and was still kind of decent, but the second turn was mayhem and I ended up going down. I made up a bunch of passes right away, and then someone else got a little whiskey throttle and I clipped their rear tire going up the steep hill in the back. Then I had my work cut out for me. I was in last by quite a bit. I knew I had to put my head down and I was charging hard. I didn’t know if I had a shot at the podium. I had another little crash near the end, but I’m pretty stoked on the whole day. I’m really happy with the bike, where we’re at, our mentality. It’s going to be a good year and I’m so damn proud of this team.
Talon Hawkins (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 20th:
Round one was pretty good, and there’s a lot of good to take from it. I needed a better start in that first moto. I got the better start in the second moto, I just didn’t ride the way I know how. We’re going to work on that this next week and hopefully make something happen next weekend. I’m excited, and this was a good race for me to build off of as we head into the next rounds.
Jalek Swoll (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 21st:
This was my first race back in pretty much a year, and it just felt good to get gate drops. Watching from the couch was not fun. Just being out here, 100 percent or not was the goal. The starts were pretty good. I was stoked about that and other than the first moto fall I feel today could have been really good. We’ll get healed up, come back a little bit stronger, get some good motos under my belt, and start clicking off some goals this year. My confidence is still there. I feel like I can compete at the top level, so we’ll take the starts and the little bit of momentum that was caught today to Hangtown.
Caden Braswell (TLD Red Bull GasGas) – 19th:
I’m super grateful for the opportunity. Pala was an amazing experience for my first Pro Motocross National. I’m absolutely thrilled to have done it with the Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas team. The team was amazing…super-hard working and encouraging. I’m disappointed in my results because I know the bike and I are capable of so much more. I’m going to keep my head up pulling into Hangtown and strive to do better.
Michael Mosiman (TLD Red Bull GasGas) – 15th:
This was the first round for me after quite a long time off. It’s been a lot of hard work to build back, and today was just another step in that process. I would have liked to finish better but there are some building steps and some things that we improved. We made big improvements to the bike in the second moto and I felt a lot more comfortable. That allowed me to put together clean laps. I’m excited for the future and to head to Hangtown and get after it.
Dilan Schwartz (BarX Suzuki) – 24th:
It was a tough day at Pala. I crashed on the opening laps of both motos and had to come from last each time. That’s not how you want to start the series, but I’m confident we will figure it out.
Robbie Wageman (BarX Suzuki) – DNF:
It was great to get the first round out of the way. Unfortunately, a little costly mistake in the first moto took me out of the race. It was a bummer because I was feeling really good. I’m excited to race for the rest of the summer!
Chase Yentzer (BarX Suzuki) – 33rd:
I had a great start to my rookie season. I was put in the B group for qualifying and the track was super soft and muddy. I managed to qualify second out of the group and 31st overall. In the first moto, I was pushed off the track on the first lap. I got back on and climbed as far up as 25th, but I just couldn’t stay on two wheels. In the second moto, I had a mid-pack start then fell on the first lap. That took me back to last and I tried to catch up the whole moto. Overall I had a great day of racing and learning! I couldn’t have done it without the BarX Suzuki equipment and team!