Jett and Hunter Lawrence finished 1-2 during Saturday's Thunder Valley Nationals. (MX Sports photo)

Jett Edges Hunter In Brotherly Moto Battle

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — One week after a big crash ended his undefeated 450 class record, Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence outdueled his brother Hunter to capture a bounce-back victory as the Pro Motocross Championship made its 20th visit to Thunder Valley Motocross Park on Saturday.

In the 250 class, Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Haiden Deegan continued his winning ways and emerged triumphant once again to open the summer with three straight victories.

The first moto of the afternoon got underway with the Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing machine of Justin Cooper leading the field out of the first turn closely followed by Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson.

Also giving charge was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger from fourth, followed by the Lawrences in fifth and sixth, respectively, with entering point leader Chase Sexton in seventh aboard his Red Bull KTM.
After the first 10 minutes Cooper had opened a lead of nearly eight seconds over the field, which saw a lot of jockeying for position. Anderson and Hunter Lawrence settled into second and third, respectively, while Jett Lawrence made his way into fourth and kept his rivals within reach.

Hunter Lawrence took control of second just before the halfway point of the moto and Jett Lawrence soon followed his brother into third. Behind them, Sexton soon made his way around Anderson into fourth.
The Australian siblings started to increase their pace entering the final 10 minutes of the moto, which allowed them to chip away at the deficit to Cooper. The Yamaha rider responded and picked up his pace, which helped stabilize the lead, but the Honda duo didn’t relent.

With five minutes to go, Hunter Lawrence initiated a battle for the lead, as Jett Lawrence lurked in third. Hunter acted on the first opportunity that presented itself and took advantage of some lapped riders to seize the lead with three minutes to go. Jett followed into second just a few turns later.

The elder Lawrence captured the first moto win of his 450 class career by eight seconds over Jett, while Cooper followed in a distant third. Barcia parlayed his strong start into a fourth-place effort, with Plessinger fifth.

The second and deciding moto started the same at Moto 1, with Cooper leading the field through the first turn. Hunter Lawrence slotted into second but it was Sexton who was on a determined move forward. The points leader was able to make a pass on both Jett and Hunter Lawrence to claw his way up to second, which dropped Hunter to third and Jett into fourth, while Anderson lurked in fifth.
Sexton then set his sights on Cooper out front, but the Yamaha rider fended off the pressure. From there the field settled in and the pace slowed through the opening 10 minutes. Sexton mounted another attack and looked to attempt a pass on Cooper, but a misjudgment put the KTM on the ground and caused Sexton to lose multiple positions. Hunter Lawrence assumed second, while Jett Lawrence moved into third. Sexton remounted in sixth.
At the halfway point of the moto the top three were separated by just two seconds, with all three riders showing patience. Each rider traded momentum as the moto entered its final 10 minutes, with Hunter Lawrence closing to within a few bike lengths of Cooper at times.

However, the Yamaha rider never wavered and sustained his advantage. As the moto wore on, Hunter Lawrence started to lose ground and lost his hold of second to Jett Lawrence. The reigning series champion continued his push forward and began to apply pressure on Cooper for the lead with less than five minutes to go. As they navigated lapped riders all three riders sat within a second of one another, which forced Jett Lawrence to make the move and grab the lead with just under two minutes to go. Hunter Lawrence followed suit and dropped Cooper to third.
A half second separated the siblings as they took the white flag. Jett Lawrence dug deep and carried on to his third moto win of the season by a margin of 1.2 seconds. Cooper finished in third.

With identical moto finishes the Lawrences finished tied atop the overall classification, but Jett’s second moto triumph (2-1) was the difference maker as it gave him the tiebreaker over Hunter (1-2). It resulted in the second 1-2 finish for the pair through the first three rounds of the season and signified Jett’s 13th career win. Cooper captured his first career podium result in the premier class in third (3-3).
With his third straight podium finish to open his 450 class career Hunter Lawrence moved atop the 450 standings.

The opening 250 moto began with Deegan at the front of the pack to grab the MotoSport.com Holeshot, with pressure coming from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle in second and Team Honda HRC’s Chance Hymas in third. The lead trio eventually settled into their respective positions as the field started to spread out through the opening 10 minutes.
Deegan and Vialle traded momentum early on as the lead hovered around two seconds, but as the moto approached the halfway point Deegan’s consistency allowed him to inch away and build his advantage up to almost four seconds. With their exceptional pace, Deegan and Vialle pulled away from Hymas and the rest of the field to make it a two-rider battle.

As they entered the final five minutes, both riders picked up the pace as they tactfully navigated lapped riders. That saw the distance between them fluctuate, which worked to Deegan’s advantage as the lead grew to more than three seconds. However, Deegan slid out and went down briefly, which allowed Vialle to make the pass for the lead. Deegan recovered quickly and remained within striking distance for the win.
A fierce battle ensued over the final stages of the moto as Deegan searched for alternate lines. As they came to the white flag Deegan took advantage of an inside line to push Vialle wide and reclaim the lead.

Vialle battled back and made one final pass attempt that saw the two riders make contact and put Vialle on the ground. That allowed Deegan to bring home his fourth moto win of the season by 5.8 seconds over Vialle, who remounted quickly, while Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Levi Kitchen followed in third.

The final moto of the day began with Hymas and Deegan side by side coming out of the first turn, from which Hymas earned the MotoSport.com Holeshot and grabbed the early lead. Deegan slotted into second while Kitchen began the moto in third. Vialle started in fifth.
With the clear track ahead, Hymas seized the moment and was able to open a lead of more than five seconds over the rest of the field through the opening 10 minutes. Deegan settled into second while Kitchen suffered a tip over that caused him to drop from third to sixth.

That allowed Triumph Racing’s Jalek Swoll to move into third, until Vialle made the pass to join the top three just before the halfway point of the moto. Shortly after, Vialle had a brief crash that saw him drop from third to fifth, which moved Swoll back into podium position.
While the lead pair enjoyed a comfortable margin over the field, the battle for third intensified between Swoll and Shimoda, from which the Japanese rider prevailed with the position. From there the top three went unchanged.
Hymas stormed to his first career moto win with a wire-to-wire victory by a margin of 3.8 seconds over Deegan, with Shimoda in third. Vialle recovered to finish fourth.

Deegan’s 1-2 effort easily secured his third straight overall win and extended his points lead. Hymas’ moto win capped off a career-best performance in the runner-up spot (4-1) for his first ever podium, while Vialle rounded out the top three (2-4).