Features 6 Jun 2023

Debrief: 2023 Pro Motocross Rd2 Hangtown

Overall winners Jett and Hunter Lawrence recall second round.

Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence continued his impressive 450MX form with another perfect scorecard at Hangtown, making it four from four victories to start the 2023 Pro Motocross Championship, while Hunter Lawrence extended his red plate advantage in 250MX with another overall win. Both riders were available to the media after the races for this Debrief feature.


Image: Octopi Media.

Congratulations, starting off your rookie 450MX season with four from four wins. Tell us about your day, it seemed kind of uneventful. 

Yeah, it was kind of just learn the track again, it’s new for me because it’s on a different bike, different power, so it’s kind of learning that. It was fun to learn in the first moto to give and take a few spots on where I can be aggressive and where I can’t be. The track was so chopped out, and it was already dry, so it was already gone the first few laps of moto one. They tried fixing it with a ton of water and that doesn’t help. Not a crazy day, still a few things we need to work on. I need to eat in between the motos,  I just had one of Dr. G’s smoothies and yeah, that didn’t last me the whole moto! Another thing I can learn from and improve, and onto Colorado and we get to see how the bike is at altitude.

You said you ran out of energy on the podium and you just mentioned it again. At what point did you feel like you were bonking? 

It wasn’t much of a bonking, it was kind of like my energy… I couldn’t quite like go and my mouth got pretty dry pretty quickly. I would say everyone else’s mouths are pretty dry out there. I would say maybe halfway or something, and I kind of realised it was going down a bit, I decided to make sure I just maintained and just ride smart.

Do you think your program is where you expected it to be for the 450s? Going into Lakewood, how do you like the Lakewood track? 

I knew my sprint speed would be decent just because, off of 250s, I was fairly close in times, and I was getting onto a bike with more power. So I knew I had a decent chance of running with the top guys, but I definitely wouldn’t have thought I would go this good so far. Hunter got another win, but he’s gotta sort his first moto out, he’s riding like an idiot getting terrible starts [laughs]. But besides that, good weekend for both of us, Honda is happy and yeah, just go back, same thing during the week, get more time on the 450 because I’m still learning how the characters of it are. Get to go and race another sick track on the 450 and hopefully, we learn even more stuff to build my career and my experience.

No matter what, you always seem to be able to maintain a four to five-second gap. Can you take us through that managing that process? 

It’s just finding a decent comfortable pace for me to go at, and then I’m assessing the gap. The first few laps, kinda go as fast as you can, while everyone is behind you, maybe while they’re making passes, they get held up a little bit, so I’m trying to get away a little bit, because I feel like that’s where I mainly get my gap. So I tuck my ears back and go and then from there, once I get that five or so second gap, I see where my pace is at, can I keep on gapping them out with my pace? If not, I’ll just stay here and try not to make mistakes. With this track, I was searching a lot with some different lines and stuff, just to kind of see if I could gain any. I took a few lines seeing if I could gain and I lost some time. One of the main things especially in the first moto was lappers, trying to get through them was such a big thing. They were waving the blue flags, but none of the riders really listened, they kept on racing and battling. It kind of sucked, if you are that far behind, if you can, respect and move over for us, because we are going for something a lot bigger. To lose time like that because of that, I know Chance [Hymas] got held up and ended up losing a position, it’s happening in both classes, which kind of sucks, especially for me to try and maintain it sucks. But we have got to deal with it, I got screwed but the guys behind me also got screwed, so we got a little lady luck with that. It’s just a lot of looking at my lap times, seeing where I am at, the gap, I kind of had a rough eye where the lads were at, I had a few spots where I could see them out of the corner of my eye. So it was just keeping an eye on that. When AP got into second, I could see he picked it up a bit, so I ended up having to pick it up. It’s just kind of seeing what their body language is like.


Image: Octopi Media.

Another good day, 3-1 for the overall. Tell us a little bit about your day. First moto a little bit harder, but second moto went as planned. 

First moto was tough, not as good a start so I was coming through the pack. Track was weird, it was really like, not as deep, which sometimes has promoted more racing, better racing, but today it was kind of tough. It was pretty one-lined. So I got back to where I could and then onto the next one, and yeah got a better start in the second moto and was able to ride a pretty good race.

Your feeling, first moto verse the second moto, track, race? Were there more passing opportunities, or was it about the same?

Nah probably about the same if anything, except they put a lot more water down for the second moto, so if I were to come through the pack on the second moto, it wouldn’t probably wouldn’t have been as fun just because you try to stick to whatever line is driest. Whenever you have to make a pass, you’re taking lines you’re not familiar with, and it gets tricky.

Laptimes were a little slower in the first few laps because the track was wet, then it got faster and then started to deteriorate later on. Did you notice the track at the end of the moto getting more difficult, more slippery? 

The track today was in all-time form today, it was tough, difficult to deal with, dry, then when there’s a lot of water on the top it throws another element. Just trying to manage it and not ask for more than what the track was giving in the second moto.

You’ve been able to manage the races, obviously, the first moto wasn’t as smooth, but you were able to come back. Were you paying attention to who was finishing in what positions, or were you just trying to win the moto and let the cards fall as they may? 

Just focused on myself. Wherever Haiden [Deegan], or whoever was in this for the overall, that is out of my control. I’ll get whatever I get and the results will be whatever they will be, so just focused on myself.

Are you looking forward to racing at Lakewood, because it is a little hard pack like this circuit? 

Yeah it’s a cool spot, Denver is sweet. I wish we had that track at normal sea level because it would be more fun with more horsepower, because the bikes obviously struggle a little, less oxygen, so they feel like 125s there.

How is your rib? 

Pretty sore, I’m glad we have got adrenaline when we are racing because if I didn’t have any adrenaline running it would be very, very difficult.