2022 AMA Pro Motocross Recap: High Pointby Jack Gaffney June 19, 2022 0 comments
The AMA Pro Motocross season has officially migrated east. Round four of the Championship went down just outside of Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania at High Point. After this weekend, the riders and teams get a week off before RedBud, making it a big day momentum-wise. Ken Roczen got a ton of that last weekend, after pulling off an unexpected National win at Thunder Valley over teammate Chase Sexton. The Honda HRC duo continue to be 1-2 in the points, with Sexton in front by five points.
Moving down to the 250 class, the Honda HRC team is also holding things down there. Jett Lawrence, who continues to operate under 100 percent, is 3-0 for National wins this season. Hunter Lawrence however has started to heat up, after a strong run a week ago. Honda HRC even gave the elder brother a shiny new two-year contract extension on Saturday morning. Could anyone not on a red motorcycle take home a National win on Saturday?
Be sure to keep up with all of our Motocross coverage.
World Champion Making the Jump?
This had been rumored it felt like for a little bit, but KTM could be getting some major reinforcements in 2023. If you saw Michael Lindsay’s latest video for VitalMX, you know that the rider in question is Tom Vialle. For those who don’t keep up with MXGP, the 21-year-old Frenchman won the 2020 World MX2 Championship. Additionally, he is second in this year’s Championship through 11 rounds. You may be wondering why he would want to move over, it is rather straightforward.
At the pace he is currently on, Vialle would be forced up into a 450 ride in Europe for 2023. It varies from rider to rider, but he probably doesn’t feel ready for that just yet. Moving over to the U.S. would give him a couple of more years max on the 250 before he moves up. Furthermore, he would get the opportunity to run Supercross as well. Vialle would become the top KTM non-450 rider in the states on day one. He is an elite-level starter and may outright be Europe’s best 250 guy. This would be a coup de ta for the American KTM outfit if this all comes to fruition.
End of the Road?
Antonio Cairoli was never a lock to run the full AMA Motocross tilt this season. Despite some great results with a lessened training regime, High Point may almost certainly be the last round he runs stateside. This isn’t due to performance or anything related to him, but rather the team. Red Bull KTM may send home a nine-time World Motocross Champion due to a money issue. That being the case is unacceptable, especially given what Cairoli has done for KTM throughout his career. Cairoli even entered this weekend as the highest-running 450 KTM rider through the opening three rounds. The least they can do for a Mount Rushmore rider for the brand is let him run the full tilt.
No. 1 Jett Lawrence – Honda HRC (2-1 for First Overall)
According to the Lawrence brother’s trainer Johnny O’Mara, neither of the two is at 100 percent still. Despite the illness, neither rode like it, and the Jett continues to win. Lawrence is now 4-for-4 on Overall National wins to begin the year, and he had to outduel his brother Hunter yesterday to seal the deal. The two put on one of the better battles we have seen in years in the final 10 minutes of Moto 2. After swapping the lead multiple times, Jett barely held off a last-lap charge by Hunter for the win. Not technically on a run for a perfect season, but you could call this semi-perfect through four rounds.
No. 96 Hunter Lawrence – Honda HRC (1-2 for Second Overall)
Don’t know when exactly, but Hunter feels close to going on a heater, it almost feels inevitable. There have been times these opening few rounds where he has looked like the best in class. Unfortunately, they don’t hand out trophies and prize money for that accolade. However, Hunter deserves a lot of credit for completely erasing the gap to Jett on the final lap of Moto 2. He brought it down from over three seconds to just a matter of a couple of bike lengths at the finish. At some point, the pendulum will swing in his favor.
No. 30 Jo Shimoda – Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki (3-5 for Third Place)
Now four rounds in, Shimoda is the best rider in the 250 class without the last name Lawrence. The ace of Pro Circuit Kawasaki rebounded well after Thunder Valley where he lost touch with the HRC duo points-wise. Although a fifth in Moto 2 hurts a bit from that standpoint, Shimoda now has a 50 percent National podium clip. Furthermore, he ran well more often than not at these east coast tracks a season ago. Watch out for him at Southwick in a few weeks, last year Shimoda finished second overall with a 3-4.
No. 32 Justin Cooper – Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (8-3 for Fifth Overall)
This has not been the start that Cooper wanted to the season, but he has still had his moments. The third he put up yesterday in Moto 2 for example was impressive. Especially after his Moto 1 run where he had a brutal start and didn’t make up much ground at all. Saying it’s ‘panic button’ time would also be a stretch, especially given his foot injury earlier in the year. On the same foot (pun very much intended), if/when he doesn’t win the title this season, runs like he had at Pala 1, then yesterday in Moto 1 will have plenty of real estate on the reasoning pie chart.
No. 59 Levi ‘The Master Chef’ Kitchen – Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (15-12 for 12th Overall)
In any sport, athletes can go from the highest highs to the lowest lows fairly easily. While the low wasn’t extreme, the Master Chef didn’t have the day he wanted at all at High Point. Kitchen went down in Moto 1 early on and stormed back into the top 15 seemingly hurt. Moto 2 ended up going better but not much with a 12th, which is also where he ended up in the Overall standings. He has a week off to get right, so hopefully, he is at 100 percent for RedBud.
High Point National 250 Class Top 10
1st No. 1 Jett Lawrence 2-1
2nd No. 96 Hunter Lawrence 1-2
3rd No. 30 Jo Shimoda 3-5
4th No. 29 Michael Mosiman 5-4
5th No. 32 Justin Cooper 8-3
6th No. 47 Seth Hammaker 4-6
7th No. 24 R.J. Hampshire 7-7
8th No. 36 Max Vohland 6-9
9th No. 44 Pierce Brown 10-10
10th No. 49 Nate Thrasher 9-11
250 Class Point Standings After High Point
1st No. 1 Jett Lawrence 186 Points
2nd No. 96 Hunter Lawrence 174 Points (-12)
3rd No. 30 Jo Shimoda 137 Points (-49)
4th No. 32 Justin Cooper 132 Points (-54)
5th No. 29 Michael Mosiman 115 Points (-71)
No. 3 Eli Tomac – Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha (2-1 for First Overall)
This year’s Supercross season started with four different 450 winners, Tomac being the fourth. This year’s Motocross season started with four different 450 winners, Tomac now being the fourth. Coincidently enough, the four riders were him, Roczen, Sexton, and Jason Anderson in both. Furthermore, ET3 was also the fourth winner in both as well. Getting career National win No. 27 took a pretty strong Moto 2 run where he had to get by both HRC riders, but once he did that, it was a done deal. One more win and Tomac gets sole possession of third on the all-time Nationals wins list.
No. 94 Ken Roczen – Honda HRC (7-3 for Fourth Overall)
The final results don’t tell the full story, but this was again a good outing for Roczen. The seventh in Moto 1 bumps him from second to third in the points which is not great, but there is plenty of time for him to get up to Sexton. Roczen also didn’t sound pleased with the bike in his post-race interview, which isn’t the first time we’ve heard this in 2022. That may be worth checking up on in a few weeks.
No. 5 Ryan Dungey – Red Bull KTM (6-4 for Fifth Overall)
Now for the story of the weekend, because holy smokes Dungey was absolutely on it yesterday. Specifically in Moto 2 where he straight up got the holeshot and was running in a podium spot for upwards of 20 minutes off and on. A few things ultimately kept him off the overall podium, mainly a last-lap pass from Roczen, but he rode like a podium guy yesterday. The fans at High Point appreciated the effort either way.
No. 17 Joey Savatgy – Monster Energy Kawasaki (5-7 for Seventh Overall)
Savatgy has slowly gotten better in each of his first three rounds this summer. He even spent some time in second place during Moto 1 which is a very positive sign. For now, the Georgia native picked up a season-best seventh in the Overall standings. Savatgy also has finished inside the top 10 in every Moto after an 11th to open up the year. Runs like this continue to up his market value when he looks for a deal for 2023.
No. 222 Antonio Cairoli – Red Bull KTM (40-39 for 40th Overall)
If this is how Cairoli’s American venture ends, this was as sour a note to end on as it gets. Despite the 40th in Moto 1, he was running very well before an incident with Christian Craig ended things early. Cairoli then pulled out of Moto 2 early with a knee issue, which hopefully isn’t serious. This cant be how this stint in America ends right?
High Point National 450 Class Top 10
1st No. 3 Eli Tomac 2-1
2nd No. 23 Chase Sexton 1-2
3rd No. 21 Jason Anderson 3-5
4th No. 94 Ken Roczen 7-3
5th No. 5 Ryan Dungey 6-4
6th No. 51 Justin Barcia 4-7
7th No. 17 Joey Savatgy 5-8
8th No. 28 Christian Craig 8-6
9th No. 35 Garrett Marchbanks 10-10
10th No. 12 Shane McElrath 13-9
450 Class Point Standings After High Point
1st No. 23 Chase Sexton 180 Points (Sexton and Roczen both got 1 point penalties a week ago)
2nd No. 3 Eli Tomac 167 Points (-13)
3rd No. 94 Ken Roczen 162 Points (-19)
4th No. 21 Jason Anderson 147 Points (-33)
5th No. 5 Ryan Dungey 122 Points (-58)
Week 3 PulpMX Fantasy Motocross Lineup
250 Class: Pain
450 Class: Considerably Less Pain
FFL: Double Pain
Follow Jack Gaffney on Twitter @JackGaffneyPTST
Main Image via KTM