Hangtown Motocross Classic
AMA Pro Motocross 2018 Round 1
Held in Rancho Cordova, California, the opening round of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship saw Team Honda HRC’s Christian Craig and Ken Roczen turn in solid rides, finishing eighth and 11th overall, respectively. In the day’s first moto, Craig took the holeshot and early lead aboard his CRF450R, while Roczen started seventh but quickly moved into fourth. While Craig maintained his position up front, it was a hectic opening lap for Roczen, who worked his way into second before falling back to sixth all in the same lap. Craig went down while running fourth on lap three but was able to remount in ninth. He regained one spot, taking the checkered flag in eighth. Meanwhile, Roczen continued to put together an impressive showing during his first race back, crossing the finish line in sixth.
When the gate dropped for moto two, Roczen launched to a fourth-place start, whereas Craig was left fighting mid-pack after a poor jump. By lap two, the German had moved into third, but he quickly came under fire from the competition. As the 30-minute-plus-two-lap race progressed, Roczen struggled to maintain his speed while fighting through soreness and fatigue in his right hand, ultimately finishing 16th. Craig recovered from multiple early mistakes, climbing to eighth by the finish.
- It was a busy week for the Team Honda HRC crew, as they arrived in the Sacramento area on Thursday for PR duties. With Ken Roczen making his exciting return to racing, he was one of the six 450MX riders showcased in the pre-race press conference, where he was asked questions by the media about his recovery from injury. Then both Roczen and Christian Craig took part in a pair of 20-minute practice sessions. “Getting track time is always a benefit, but especially for me right now,” Roczen said. “I’ve been riding for a few weeks now, but only within the last week have I been able to put in some full motos. I’ve also only been riding in Florida and haven’t tested with the team anywhere else, so getting some time ahead of the race to try a few different settings is huge.”
- On the eve of the race, Cole Seely and Roczen were joined by GEICO Honda’s Christian Craig, Jeremy Martin, RJ Hampshire, and Chase Sexton, for an autograph signing at the local powerhouse dealer, Roseville Honda. Fans lined up to meet the riders and for a chance to win a Honda Grom. At the conclusion of the event, Roczen drew the winning ticket for one of his replica jerseys, while Seely drew the winning ticket for the Grom.
- Although he’s been signed with Team Honda HRC for nearly two years, the Hangtown opener marked Roczen’s first-ever motocross race aboard the factory CRF450R. “I’m just excited to be back at the races with my team in general, but really looking forward to getting back to motocross,” he said. “It definitely comes more natural to me. I haven’t raced outdoors since I won the championship in 2016, and although I want to take things slow and progress each week since I’m just returning, I’d like nothing more than to give my team good results.”
- Craig led the charge for Team Honda HRC during Saturday morning qualifying, landing fourth with a 2’18.13” time in the first practice session. Roczen was ninth with a 2’19.70” time.
- GEICO Honda’s Jeremy Martin started the 250MX series off strong, scoring a pair of second-place finishes aboard his CRF250R to secure an impressive second overall at the Hangtown opener.
- The Honda Red Riders will be at Southern California’s Glen Helen Raceway Saturday, May 26, for round 2 of the AMA Pro Motocross series. On Friday evening, riders will head to Malcolm Smith Motorsports in Riverside, California, for an autograph session.
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