News 27 May 2024

How confident Sexton is on his KTM after one round of Pro Motocross

A strong second moto showed signs of life for Sexton and KTM at Fox Raceway.

Although Chase Sexton already has 17 rounds of Monster Energy Supercross under his belt aboard a KTM, heading outdoors presented an element of the unknown. After a 4-2 finish on the day, Sexton believes he’s already in a good spot with the machine and is excited to keep progressing.

Sexton nearly put his Red Bull KTM P1 in qualifying at the Fox Raceway National as he and Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence flip flopped the whole session. A crash in the first moto left him to charge all the way back to fourth while in the second moto he hung with Lawrence to finish a close second. With one full National under his belt on the KTM, Sexton explained that the transition of getting the bike ready for AMA Pro Motocross was much easier than Supercross.

“It’s a lot easier outdoors,” said Sexton of getting dialed in on the KTM. “I think that comes with how much testing they have with MXGP. If you look at the class over there, most of it is KTM based. The 250 class for sure, not so much 450. They have a lot more data and a lot more time with the bike. For me in Supercross, I went a completely different direction than what everyone else was doing in years past, so it took me a while to get the bike where I wanted it. Outdoors we were definitely closer. I feel like it definitely works better outdoors. It’s a pretty stable bike, so that’s nice. Today coming down the hills, it was good. Not the greatest in the corners, but we were able to go downhill fast so that was nice. But yeah, we have some work to do and it’s just going to be an evolution for the whole season.”

Image: Octopi Media.

Some key factors that Sexton has hinted to about the adaptation to the KTM versus coming from the Honda is his comfort within the rider triangle of the bike. Sexton has been riding more over the center of the KTM whereas he was over the front of the Honda a lot.

Along with dialing in his feel with the suspension and chassis, Sexton feels he’s becoming a bit more of a multi-surface rider as well. While he’s always been strong at a place like Fox Raceway, he feels he might actually be even better when the series heads to deeper East Coast tracks as the season moves along.

“I’ve never considered myself a sand guy,” said Sexton. “I grew up riding hard packed and ruts. When I got on this bike, I actually prefer riding the sand now more than the hard pack. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. The bike seems to work pretty well. It’s a stiffer chassis so I would say that helps me in the deeper conditions. So, we’ll see. Southwick is not one of my favorite tracks, but maybe this year it pays off and we’ll go out there and put in a better result. The bike is definitely better on softer tracks I would say.”

Image: Octopi Media.

The problem in 2024 remains the same problem Sexton had to deal with in 2023: Jett Lawrence. Lawrence went 1-1 at Fox Raceway to extend his consecutive moto wins streak out to 24 straight to start his 450 class career.

Sexton sat in Lawrence’s roost in a lot of motos during Lawrence’s rookie year last year and it was obvious that Sexton was not happy to see the Australian have a perfect season right in front of him. As he followed him again in the second moto at Fox Raceway, a bit of déjà vu crept in, but Sexton believes this year will be different.

“I feel as though it’s pretty similar,” said Sexton. “I do feel like my fight this year is a little bit more. I feel a bit more fresh and I’m definitely very motivated. Last year, I was coming off of Supercross and to be honest, I wasn’t gelling. I was very off in outdoors, and I think my speed is getting better. I just have to work on the starts a little bit, getting out of the gate and away from the chaos of the first couple of laps. But yeah, I feel like today I rode pretty well. I was pretty patient for the first 15 minutes and then I tried to pick it up and make a charge. So, I’ll go back to work and try to put a stop to this next weekend.”

Image: Octopi Media.

Between the first and second rounds of 2023, Sexton pulled out for a few rounds after suffering an injury. Without him on the track at Hangtown, Thunder Valley, and High Point, Lawrence cruised out to 8-0 before Sexton even got back on the track.

This weekend at Hangtown presents a new unknown as we’ll see a healthy Chase Sexton take on Jett Lawrence at a track that they haven’t raced each other on yet. For Sexton, he will look to end the streak at 24.