Courtesy of Honda Racing Corporation
The seventh round of the AMA Pro Motocross series took place over Independence Day Weekend at the iconic RedBud National in Buchanan, Michigan, where a massive crowd saw Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen finish fifth overall with 6-3 marks.
In moto one, Roczen got off to a less-than-desirable start, coming around the first turn in 10th. By lap two, he had worked his way into seventh, and he gained another spot a few laps later. At the halfway point, Roczen closed the gap on fifth, making a successful pass on lap nine. Toward the end of the 30-minute-plus-two-lap-race, Roczen experienced physical issues, actually vomiting in his helmet and relinquishing a spot to take the checkered flag in sixth. When the gate dropped on moto two, Roczen launched his CRF450R down the start straight and emerged from turn one in fourth. Through the opening lap, he charged into second before making a pass for the lead stick on lap two. With a clear track ahead of him, the German opened a small gap on the rest of the field. As the race reached its halfway point, Roczen came under fire from Marvin Musquin and was unable to fend off the Frenchman’s advances, ultimately relinquishing the lead. He maintained second position until two laps from the end, when he slipped back one more spot to finish third.
- At RedBud, Team Honda HRC was excited to host Austin Garey, a 14-year-old Make-A-Wish child with Cystic Fibrosis. Austin and his family attended Friday night’s team barbecue, where he spent time hanging out with Roczen. Austin spent more time with Roczen on race day, when he was surprised with a new set of Fox riding gear and an autographed Roczen jersey. For moto one, Austin watched his favorite rider load into the starting gate, then moved to the mechanics’ area to see the gate drop. He was then interviewed in the announcers’ tower before being given the incredible opportunity to hand out the trophies to the 450 podium finishers.
- To celebrate Independence Day, Team Honda HRC’s race machines were adorned in custom red, white and blue Throttle Jockey livery, featuring “USA” on the seat and the Statue of Liberty on each shroud, plus a logo recognizing Honda’s 60thanniversary in America.
- During the morning qualifying practice, Roczen rode strong aboard his CRF450R, securing the third-fastest time of 2’05.849” in the first session.
- For race day at RedBud, Team Honda HRC had the assistance of Arica Alread, an Advertising student at Central Michigan University. Alread accompanied team Media Manager Mandie Fonteyn and assisted her with her PR duties in order to gain real-world work experience.
- With the series now past its halfway point, Roczen sits third overall in the championship standings with 264 points, only six behind second.
- With Chase Sexton and Christian Craig sidelined for the weekend, the GEICO Honda squad was represented in the 250 class by RJ Hampshire and Hunter Lawrence, who finished fourth and fifth overall, respectively, aboard their CRF250R race machines. Hampshire put in a strong push in the first moto to secure second place, his best result of the season. Unfortunately, he was unable to replicate this performance in moto two, as a bad start left him fighting his way into eighth. In moto one, Lawrence took the checkered flag in eighth before rebounding with a fourth-place result in moto two.
- The series now takes its second break of the summer before returning at Spring Creek Raceway in Millville, Minnesota, on July 20 for round 8 of AMA Pro Motocross. “I’m really looking forward to this weekend off,” Roczen said. “I’m going to take this time to relax and try to let my body recover.”
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“It’s hard to be completely satisfied with the way that I’m feeling and how today went overall, but I’m happy with the second moto. Obviously, I haven’t been myself; it’s been a tough few weeks and we’re trying to figure it out. The first few races when it was cool out, it wasn’t as much of an issue, but with the heat and humidity, it’s been tough. I’m just going out there and doing my best. The first moto would’ve been okay too because I had worked my way into fifth but then I actually threw up with like five minutes to go. I let it all out and just finished the race but did lose time. The second moto, I got a much better start and just tried to do the best that I could for as long as I could. I’m happy with how I was riding and finishing third.”
“I think today was definitely an improvement from last week. Ken showed a lot of speed, which he’s continued to do each week, but I think he managed his pace better throughout the motos. It’s still not what Kenny wants overall, but he had a good second moto and it was nice to see him end on a high note heading into the break. He would’ve had a solid first moto too, but he had some issues in the final laps that caused him to fall back a bit. He’ll take this weekend off and come back fighting at Millville.”