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Jett Lawrence secured the SuperMoto title Saturday at the L.A. Coliseum. (Feld photo)

Lawrence Is First SuperMoto World Champion

LOS ANGELES — Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence won both motos at the SuperMotocross World Championship Finals Fueled by Monster Energy inside Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The Australian racer earned the win on the night and the points needed to become the sport’s first SuperMotocross world champion.

Progressive Insurance ECSTAR Suzuki’s Ken Roczen finished a close second place in both motos and with that the points for the runner-up position in the inaugural post-season championship. Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton, the points leader heading into the round, led the final moto but a bad crash in the track’s sand section relegated him to third position in the championship.

It was Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Cooper Webb who took home the third spot at the Los Angeles Final and with that secured the fourth place spot in the championship.

In the 250 Class, rookie Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Haiden Deegan won the night as well as the 250 class title to wrap up his first year of professional racing as a World Champion.

The first moto of the 450 class was off to an exciting start, but just after taking over the lead in the opening laps Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia crashed hard and the race was red-flagged.

The racers then lined up for a staggered re-start with 16 minutes remaining on the race clock. After the re-start Ken Roczen went after leader Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson while Lawrence moved past Sexton to take over third. Roczen cut under Anderson in the bowl turn after the sand section to take the lead with 12:43 left on the clock. Lawrence was launching a large quad jump and used it to make up the gap and put an inside pass attempt on Roczen in the following corner. The riders came together; Lawrence nearly fell, and Roczen held the lead.

On the next lap Lawrence used his advantage with the quad jump to make the pass into the lead while behind him Sexton had passed Anderson for third place. Roczen later said he knew about the quad jump option, and with Lawrence inching away he decided to also launch the long jump each lap. Roczen closed from 1.8 seconds back to bring the lead to just one second, but the German rider could not get close enough to make a pass attempt.

At the checkered flag Lawrence took the moto win ahead of Roczen, Sexton, and Anderson. The first moto finishing positions would combine with the second moto results to determine the championship and its $1,000,000 bonus. 
Chase Sexton grabbed the holeshot of the second moto and with it put himself in the points lead for the title. He led Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo, Jason Anderson, Cooper Webb, Jett Lawrence, and Ken Roczen. By the third corner, Lawrence was up into third place while Roczen worked on Webb in the early, tight racing. With just over two minutes off the clock in the 20-minute plus one lap moto, Roczen pushed his way into third place and the stage was set perfectly for the top three in points to settle the fight for the title.

Sexton had pulled out more than a four second lead at the race’s midpoint, then made a dramatic mistake in the sand section; Sexton got leaned over going off a sand jump, landed hard, and was out of the race. It was then down to two, with Lawrence maintaining a lead over Roczen of just over one second.

Roczen would close the gap in some parts of the track, but overall Lawrence maintained a small bit of breathing room. As the clock neared zero Roczen got held up by a lapper and dropped back three seconds. In the final two laps Roczen tightened the gap back up but never got in range to make a pass.

Lawrence launched off the finish line double, setting of the winner’s pyrotechnics on the track and a string of fireworks around the legendary stadium. With 1-1 moto scores, Lawrence took the Final win and with it the SuperMotocross World Championship and its $1,000,000 bonus.

Roczen earned second place in both the race and championship and pocketed $500,000 for himself, and Chase Sexton took third place in the championship and a $250,000 bonus. At the final event podium, it was Cooper Webb who stood third on the night with 5-3 moto scores and enough points to finish fourth in the championship and its $200,000 bonus.

The first 250 class moto was a thriller from the drop of the gate. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Jalek Swoll grabbed the holeshot ahead of Haiden Deegan, Red Bull KTM’s Tom Vialle, Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Justin Cooper, and Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Ryder DiFrancesco. Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda sat in ninth.

Post-season points-leader Team Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence was not racing due to an injury during qualifying. Vialle was into the lead early but Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Jordon Smith was the rider on the move, pushing into third place five minutes into the 20-minute plus one lap moto. The lead pack stayed close.

Then, with just over eight minutes left on the race clock, Smith pushed past Deegan for second and went after Vialle. In less than a lap Smith railed an outside line and charged side by side with Vialle through a jump section and up the legendary Peristyle. Smith took the lead and never looked back.

Soon after, Deegan tried to square up a turn to get under Vialle, but Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s R.J. Hampshire cut under and took third place away from Deegan. The two put up a back-and-forth exchange of passes as Shimoda closed in on both riders.

With just over five minutes remaining on the clock the top five riders occupied the same rhythm lane. Deegan tried to bump his way past Vialle in a bowl turn, but the pass was unsuccessful and in the next corner Shimoda pushed his way by Deegan while he pushed the rookie wide at a corner exit.

The final laps provided intense battles for both the lead and for third, with every rider pushing their hardest to be in the best position to win the World Championship. At the checkers Smith held on for the win, Hampshire was close in second, Vialle took third, Shimoda earned fourth, and Deegan crossed the line in fifth.

In the second 250 class moto, Deegan was the first to pass the holeshot stripe but his teammate Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Levi Kitchen took over the lead before the second corner. Kitchen led Deegan, Justin Cooper, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Talon Hawkins, and Jo Shimoda. In the second corner, moto-one winner Jordon Smith went down, and Tom Vialle was off the track just one turn after that.

Three laps into the race Shimoda took over fourth place, and from there the top four circled the track with none close enough to make a pass attempt on the rider ahead. Just before the midpoint Deegan looked to be making a move on Kitchen, but after nearly falling in a turn appeared to settle into second and prepare for a possible late-race battle. Jo Shimoda fell back to nearly seven seconds off the leader, but in the closing laps he put on one of his late-race surges. Shimoda closed in but never got close enough to challenge for third.

At the checkered flag Kitchen took the moto win. Deegan earned second in the moto and with that enough points to win the overall for the event and, more significantly, win the first 250 class SuperMotocross championship by five points over Jo Shimoda.