The seventh round of the 2020 AMA Pro Motocross Championship took place in Jacksonville, Florida, where Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton and Christian Craig faced a challenging race day due to high temperatures and sandy, rough track conditions.
Sexton showed great speed, qualifying fastest in both practice sessions and finishing fourth overall, via a 4-5 moto tally. Sexton enjoyed solid starts and battled in the top three in both motos, but a late-race mistake set him back to fourth in the first outing. He posted a consistent fifth-place finish in moto two, earning that position overall.
Craig enjoyed one of his best qualifying performances thus far, notching the fifth-best time. Thwarted by a bad start in the first outing, Craig worked his way up to 10th, and that’s where he stayed for the remainder of the race. The Californian improved on his start in the second moto but wasn’t able to ride to his potential, and the heat eventually contributed to his posting 11th overall, via 10-10 finishes.
- In the days since the last race, the Team Honda HRC crew spent time testing and prepping in Southern California with Christian Craig, while Chase Sexton remained in Florida. In addition, test rider Trey Canard joined the team at the Honda supercross test track to ride and provide feedback on the 2021 CRF450R.
- Unlike the cool, fall-like temperatures the series saw at the last round, the WW Ranch National featured hot, humid weather that made it one of the most challenging rounds of the season for the riders.
- On Friday, the state of Florida announced phase three of reopening amid the pandemic, lifting restrictions on restaurants and other businesses. Though the governor’s new order removed a statewide mask mandate, MX Sports continued to follow COVID-19-related guidelines that were already in place.
- Tickets were available for the WW Ranch National event, but spectator capacity was limited in order to comply with social-distancing protocols. Fans were not permitted in the pro paddock, and there were no autograph sessions, although teams provided pre-signed posters for MX Sports to distribute to fans.
- Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen made an appearance at the Jacksonville race, supporting the team as a fan. Roczen was also a guest TV announcer during the first 450 moto.
- The top three overall finishers in each class participated in a post-race virtual press conference the evening of race day. Several other riders are scheduled to participate in an additional post-race conference on Monday.
- Sexton posted the fastest lap times in both 450 qualifying sessions, at 2’03.209” and 2’04.885”. Craig had the third-best time, at 2’05.617”.
- During the 250 racing, GEICO Honda’s Jeremy Martin showed great speed, battling forward in moto one to finish third. In the second outing, the CRF250R rider battled back from a poor start and fought with Shane McElrath for a top position. Martin finished third overall with a 3-3 moto tally and maintains second place in the points standings. Teammate Jett Lawrence also enjoyed a solid ride, earning a career-best second place in the first outing and finishing fourth overall, with Jo Shimoda, Carson Mumford and Hunter Lawrence earning eighth, ninth and 14th overall, respectively.
- The AMA Pro Motocross series continues next weekend with the second-to-last round of the 2020 season, in Lakewood, Colorado.
Chase Sexton 23
“Today I qualified first in both practices, which was good. My speed has been really good. In the first moto I passed for the lead for about five seconds and then I got passed back, but overall, I feel like I’ve been riding really well. I got fifth overall today, which isn’t what we want, but I think we’re getting closer to the win that we want. I’m looking forward to the last two rounds.”
Christian Craig 62
“WW started off pretty good. Qualifying was one of my best—I qualified fifth. I went into the motos pretty confident, but I got off to a bad start in the first moto. I had to make my way through the pack pretty quick and I got up to ninth or 10th. I was stuck there for a while, and unfortunately the heat got to me about halfway through. It was tough trying to hang on, not being used to the humidity at all, and I pretty much just rode it out in 10th. I had a better start in the second moto and rode up with those guys a little bit longer. I had some good battles and then the heat just took over again. I pretty much hung on for dear life. I ended up getting 10-10 for 11th. I was on a pretty good streak with some good motos, running up front, so I’m not happy with today. I have two more rounds to get into that top-five.”
“Chase continues to show great speed, qualifying first again this weekend. He had solid starts and raced in the top three in both motos. As a rookie in the 450 class, a 4-5 moto tally is another solid day for Chase to continue to progress and build on. Christian tried to get in his zone all day today and ended with consistent 10-10 moto scores. Christian has the speed to run closer to the podium and will continue to work hard to reach his goal.”
Mechanic (Chase Sexton)
“Chase started the day off with P-1 in the first practice, by over a second and a half, and in the second practice he backed it up, which is a good steppingstone for Chase in his rookie season. In both motos he was battling for that top spot, and in the first moto he got a taste of leading the race. This week we’re going to try a couple of things with the bike, along with getting his motos in, and we’re looking forward to the next two races and ending the season on a high note.”
Mechanic (Christian Craig)
“It was bit of a struggle for us today here in Florida. Despite having one of the best mornings of qualifying this season, the motos didn’t quite go the same way. The track became extremely rough and, coupled with the heat and humidity, we just didn’t have the pace we needed today. I’m hoping that cooler weather and a harder-based track next weekend will be a better fit for Christian.”