Ken Roczen led the premier-class main event after securing the holeshot, but finished 13th following a collision.
Team Honda HRC was strong early on, with Sexton and Roczen finishing 1-2 in 450SX heat 2. When the main-event gate dropped, the German nailed the holeshot and led the field for four laps, after which Jason Anderson made an aggressive pass in the sand section, sending Roczen off the track and to the ground. The 22-year-old Sexton wasn’t far behind and trailed Anderson and eventual winner Eli Tomac to an eventual third-place finish in the 20-minute-plus-one-lap race. Meanwhile, Roczen remounted and salvaged a 13th-place result.
Team Honda HRC’s Hunter Lawrence sat in sixth one lap into the 15-minute-plus-one-lap 250SX main event, and he advanced to fourth by lap three. After a frightening crash by fellow Red Rider Vince Friese, Lawrence took over third, and he remained there to finish.
Ken Roczen #94
“Our weekend was a nightmare. I've been struggling lately with my bike setup, just not really getting comfortable. It was a tough one for us but we did decent; when nighttime comes, it seems like we always get our stuff together. I got second in the heat race, and we got the holeshot in the main event. Things were going pretty decent. I struggled with the whoops so that was definitely not my strong point; I almost went down there once, and the same lap I got taken down by [Jason] Anderson – unfortunately left the door open. Probably not the right turn for him to put on a pass, but obviously it got me and I crashed pretty hard right there. I had to make a stop after that to get all the sand out of my goggles, and our night was pretty much over after that; I could only salvage 13th place, but we never gave up. We’re quite a few points down. It’s a bummer, but I’m looking forward to next weekend to get some consistency in and do some training and riding; I couldn't really do that last week. Hopefully we’ll head to Phoenix with a bit more confidence and more riding time under my belt.”
Chase Sexton #23
“I felt really good tonight. This weekend the whoops section of the track was unpredictable and had a lot of edges, but I feel like I managed them well. The track was good though. I had fun all day. It was a pretty technical track especially with a long set of whoops and a long rhythm section that was pretty tough. It was nice to have a long lap time and not so many laps in the main event though. My bike felt good all day but it’s an ongoing process; I just have to be better. I stalled my bike once but only lost a second or so. Eli [Tomac] and Jason [Anderson] were riding really good, but I expect to be in the mix with the frontrunners this year. Last year I learned a lot so I’m trying not to make those mistakes I made last year. I want to be on the podium every weekend and racing with these guys. I just have to get better for next weekend.”
Hunter Lawrence #96
“We had a tough day at Anaheim 2, as we just didn't have the pace. We were kind of struggling from the get-go – a little behind the eightball from the start; we had our work cut out for us. The track was tough during the main event, and everyone was similar in regards to pace. It wasn't a track that people got fatigued on at all; it felt like the distance was easy on the track tonight, but the track was rough. It was a tough one, but we're looking to rebound, come back strong and kick Phoenix off with a bang.”
Lars Lindstrom - Team Manager
“Tonight we had some real ups and downs. Qualifying wasn’t too bad, especially with Chase being fastest of all, and Hunter and Kenny being in the hunt for the top spots as well. Hunter didn’t have the best of starts in the main, and definitely had more competition then he’s had the last few weeks in the top five, but was able to claw his way back to a podium, and has a few places that he can work on to be on the top spot. Kenny ripped a great start and was smart in the first turn to holeshot the main, but unfortunately was cleaned out by another rider, ruining Kenny’s chances at a podium. That really hurt us in the points, and we were obviously frustrated with that. Chase rode fantastic all day. He took pole position in qualifying, then timed the gate perfectly in the heat to holeshot and dominate for the win. He didn’t have the best start in the main but rode smart and solid to get into third, with great passes and total control. His maturity level and confidence have really impressed me so far this year; it’s exciting to watch.”