Undefeated 2023 Pro Motocross Championship with Fourth Consecutive Win at High Point

MT. MORRIS, Pa. (June 17, 2023) – Famed High Point Raceway hosted the East Coast debut of the 2023 Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, on Saturday, which featured the sport’s own unique Father’s Day celebration at the GEICO Motorcycles High Point National. The 46th running of the legendary event welcomed its largest crowd ever as rain on Friday coupled with dense morning cloud cover resulted in wet conditions that continued to evolve as sunshine emerged and started to dry out the racing surface. The most competitive afternoon of racing of the young season ended with the same result, as Australia’s Lawrence brothers both stood atop the overall podium for the fourth time to remain unbeaten and continue the dominance by Team Honda HRC, as Jett Lawrence remained perfect  in the 450 Class and Hunter Lawrence continued his unbeaten streak in the 250 Class.
450 Class
Moto 1
The first moto of the day began with Jett Lawrence out front for his sixth MotoSport.com Holeshot ahead of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb and Muc-Off/FXR/ClubMX Yamaha’s Garrett Marchbanks. Behind them, Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki’s Ken Roczen, making his first start of the season, slotted into fourth but made several quick moves on the opening lap to claw his way up to second.

Lawrence’s lead was three seconds at the completion of the opening lap, but Roczen went to work on chipping away at the deficit. While the German veteran was able to keep the Aussie upstart honest, Lawrence comfortably maintained the advantage until the halfway point of the moto. Roczen closed to within 1.5 seconds and as Lawrence looked to respond he tucked his front end on a downhill and went down. That allowed Roczen to take control of the moto and Marchbanks to move up into second as Lawrence remounted in third. With Roczen out front, it marked the first time this season that a rider other than Lawrence led a lap.

Lawrence went into rebound mode and was able to wrangle second from Marchbanks. At that point, with about a dozen minutes left in the moto, Roczen and Lawrence were separated by 5.1 seconds. Lawrence rode consistent, clean laps to close back in on the Suzuki and with six minutes to go the lead pair was separated by less than a second. Lawrence was patient and was able to reclaim the lead, but Roczen countered to put himself up front again. The Honda rider mounted another attack about a half lap later and secured the top spot for a third time. The battle was poised to continue with two laps to go, but Roczen tucked his front end and went down. He got back up quickly, but needed an extended period of time to get his Suzuki restarted, which cost him multiple positions on the track. He eventually resumed in seventh.

With the pressure gone, Lawrence cruised home to his seventh moto win in a row, which established a new record to open a 450 Class career. He took the checkered flag 26.2 seconds ahead of Marchbanks, who earned a career-best finish in second, while Webb rounded out the moto podium in third. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo was fourth, followed by Sport Clips/Beachview Treatment/Airline Vacuum Kawasaki’s Ty Masterpool in fifth.

Moto 2
The deciding moto saw Roczen storm out to the early lead with the MotoSport.com Holeshot, followed by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger and Cianciarulo, while Lawrence experienced his worst start of the season in fourth. Known for his first lap speed, Roczen put the hammer down to open the moto and build a gap on the field. Cianciarulo was able to pass Plessinger for second, while Lawrence felt the pressure from Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Dylan Ferrandis from fifth.

A three-rider battle soon started to unfold between Cianciarulo, Plessinger and Lawrence. As Plessinger looked to make a move on Cianciarulo he slid out, which caused Lawrence to stop to avoid hitting him. That moved Ferrandis into third, briefly, before Lawrence reclaimed the position.

As the first 10 minutes of the moto passed, the top three had distanced themselves from the rest of the field and were separated by 10 seconds. As the race carried on through the middle portion and approached the final 10 minutes Lawrence closed in on Cianciarulo for second and made the pass with relative ease. The lead duo were separated by 3.5 seconds as Lawrence sought to track down the top spot. Lawrence continued to ride the fastest laps on the track and it allowed him to make big gains on Roczen, which was further aided by lapped riders.

With six minutes to go Lawrence was within striking distance of Roczen and went on the attack as soon as the opportunity presented itself. An outside line on an uphill off-camber gave Lawrence the momentum he needed to surge past Roczen and put another moto win within reach. Roczen kept him honest for a while, but Lawrence closed out the moto strong to keep his undefeated record intact by 2.4 seconds over Roczen, with Ferrandis in third.

Overall
Lawrence’s fourth straight 1-1 sweep equals the single-most-successful class start in the history of the sport as his eight consecutive moto wins to open his 450 Class career is shared with Hall of Famer David Bailey, who accomplished the same feat to start his 500cc career during the 1984 season. In his first start of the summer Roczen finished in the runner-up spot (7-2), while Cianciarulo finished in third (4-4) for his first podium result since the 2021 High Point National.

Lawrence added even more to advantage in the championship standings, which now sits at 49 points after four races over Ferrandis, while Webb sits third, 53 points out of the lead.

Jett Lawrence, Team Honda HRC
“It was tricky. You had to wait and be patient [with the track conditions]. It was sick being able to race with Kenny [Roczen]. I used to look up to him and now I got to race him, so I checked that off the list. It was a tough day. I didn’t feel too comfortable on the track with the ruts and everything, but I held on to go 1-1. It was a struggle of a day, but I’m pumped.”

Ken Roczen, Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki
“I am beyond stoked. I appreciate all the support from the fans today. This was a tough one to come back to with the track conditions. I can’t believe I got second [overall] after that first moto with the crash. I felt good at the beginning [of Moto 2], but I struggled with lines and Jett was riding great. I think I’m going to have to do some more of these.”

Adam Cianciarulo, Monster Energy Kawasaki
“That’s back-to-back weeks where the track was really difficult. You had to be 100% focused the whole time out there. It really was a mental battle as much as it was a physical battle. I had good pace early in the moto and that almost means more to me than the result. I still have a long way to go but I’m so excited to be up here.”

450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish // Points)

  1. Jett Lawrence, Landsborough, Qld.,Australia, Honda (1-1 // 50)
  2. Ken Roczen, Mattstedt, Germany, Suzuki (7-2, 36)
  3. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki (4-4 // 36)
  4. Dylan Ferrandis, Avignon, France, Yamaha (6-3 // 35)
  5. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM (3-6 // 35)
  6. Garrett Marchbanks, Coalville, Utah, Yamaha (2-8 // 35)
  7. Ty Masterpool, Fallon, Nev., Kawasaki (5-7 // 30)
  8. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (8-5 // 29)
  9. Grant Harlan, Justin, Texas, Yamaha (11-9 // 22)
  10. Derek Drake, San Luis Obispo, Calif., Suzuki (9-12 // 21)

450 Class Championship Standings (Round 4 of 11)

  1. Jett Lawrence, Landsborough, Qld., Australia, Honda – 200
  2. Dylan Ferrandis, Avignon, France, Yamaha – 151
  3. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., KTM – 147
  4. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 138
  5. Adam Cianciarulo, Port Orange, Fla., Kawasaki – 134
  6. Ty Masterpool, Fallon, Nev., Kawasaki – 92
  7. Lorenzo Locurcio, Valencia, Venezuela, GASGAS – 85
  8. Fredrik Noren, Lidköping, Sweden, Suzuki – 81
  9. Derek Drake, San Luis Obispo, Calif., Suzuki – 79
  10. Grant Harlan, Justin, Texas, Yamaha – 78
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