Results: 2023 Toyota Thunder Valley National

Sunday, June 11, 2023 | 3:00 AM

   

Jett Lawrence’s Perfect Start in 2023 Pro Motocross Championship Continues with Third Straight Moto Sweep at Thunder Valley

   

Hunter Lawrence Brings Home Third 250 Class Win to Maintain Sibling Dominance

   

The 2023 Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, traveled more than a mile high for its third round of the summer with an annual visit to the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and scenic Thunder Valley Motocross Park, just outside Denver. The Toyota Thunder Valley National always provides an early test for the world’s fastest racers thanks to its elevation, but the end result on the track was more of the same from the Team Honda HRC siblings of Jett and Hunter Lawrence. The Australian duo continued their dominant starts to the season, with each capturing their third victory to remain unbeaten in the overall classification. Jett’s perfect start to his rookie 450 Class campaign continued, while Hunter closed out the 250 Class in emphatic fashion.

450 Class

Moto 1

The opening moto once again saw the Honda of Jett Lawrence at the front of the field as the championship leader secured another MotoSport.com Holeshot ahead of Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Cooper Webb. A hard-charing Webb was aggressive early and made the pass on Cianciarulo to move into second. Behind them, Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Dylan Ferrandis and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger were both pushing to get into the mix and came together, which sent both riders to the ground and deep into the field.

Back up front, Lawrence moved out to a lead of more than four seconds over Webb just five minutes into the moto, while Cianciarulo was forced to contend with Toyota of Redlands/BarX/Suzuki’s Derek Drake in a battle for third.

Lawrence’s lead grew to double digits at the halfway point of the moto and he never looked back. He went wire to wire for the fourth time this season and extended his unbeaten moto streak to five by 31.6 seconds over Webb, with Cianciarulo following in a season-best third. Plessinger rebounded from his early misfortune to finish fourth, while Sport Clips/Beachview Treatment/Airline Vacuum Kawasaki’s Ty Masterpool finished fifth after starting in the rear of the field following a tip over in the first turn.

Jett Lawrence remained perfect en route to a third straight 1-1 effort.
Jett Lawrence remained perfect en route to a third straight 1-1 effort. Align Media

Moto 2

Light rain greeted riders to start the final moto, as Lawrence stormed to his fifth MotoSport.com Holeshot in six tries this season, ahead of Manluk Rock River Yamaha’s Grant Harlan, Cianciarulo, and Ferrandis. A lot of jockeying for position unfolded on the opening lap, but eventually Cianciarulo positioned himself in second with Ferrandis third, followed by the KTMs of Webb and Plessinger.

As everyone behind him engaged in battle, Lawrence jumped out to a lead of more than 2.5 seconds and easily controlled the race at the head of the pack. Cianciarulo continued to give chase from second while Webb made his way around Ferrandis for third. The battles didn’t end there as Plessinger clawed his way from fifth to second during the first 10 minutes, with Webb following through into third. Also garnering attention was Masterpool, who surprised his factory counterparts with a charge up to fourth.

At the halfway point of the moto Lawrence enjoyed a comfortable lead of eight seconds over Plessinger, who firmly held on to the second spot. Webb ran third but was forced to fend off a hard-charging Masterpool, who soon took control of the position. Ferrandis then followed through into fourth.

It was smooth sailing for Lawrence out front, as he compiled his fifth wire-to-wire performance of the season and kept his undefeated record intact with a winning margin of 11.9 seconds over Plessinger. The battle for third came down to the final corners as Ferrandis made a late, last lap pass on Masterpool to steal the position.

Aaron Plessinger finished in the runner-up spot following 4-2 finishes.
Aaron Plessinger finished in the runner-up spot following 4-2 finishes. Align Media

Overall

Lawrence’s third 1-1 sweep to open his rookie campaign in the premier division has been further highlighted by the fact he’s led every single lap of competition. He’s also rewriting the history books with the single-most-impressive start to a 450 Class career in history. Plessinger’s stellar second moto vaulted him into the runner-up spot overall (4-2), while Webb helped put a pair of KTMs on the podium in third (2-5).

Lawrence’s maximum point total after three rounds has allowed him to open a 34-point lead in the championship standings over Ferrandis, who finished fifth overall (7-3). Webb remains third, 38 points out of the lead.

Cooper Webb made it two KTMs on the podium in third (2-5).
Cooper Webb made it two KTMs on the podium in third (2-5). Align Media

Jett Lawrence, Team Honda HRC
“An awesome day here. I got an even better start in the second moto. I couldn’t really push as hard as I wanted to because the rain made it a bit greasy, so I focused on maintaining. It was a fun day. The Lawrence boys did it again.”

Aaron Plessinger, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
“I hate to have [the crash] happen in that first moto. Dylan [Ferrandis] and my lines came together and we hit. It was a racing incident. That one hurt though, he hit me pretty hard. Then we just came out and ripped that second moto. It was a good day. I didn’t keep it off the ground, but we still ended up on the podium.”

Cooper Webb, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
“It was a struggle in the second moto, but we did the best we could and fought hard. I’m happy to be on the podium again, it’s great. It’s not easy to get up here, a lot has to happen, but it feels good when you are.”

  

250 Class

Moto 1

The first moto of the afternoon got underway with a multi-rider incident that collected some of the class’ top competitors, including Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s RJ Hampshire, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Jo Shimoda, and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Tom Vialle, and also impacted Hunter Lawrence, who stayed on two wheels.

Out front, Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Haiden Deegan emerged with the MotoSport.com Holeshot ahead of his teammates Justin Cooper and Levi Kitchen. A brief tip over caused Deegan to lose the lead a drop a couple positions, but he remounted quickly in third behind new leader Cooper and Kitchen. Deegan then went back on the attack and passed Kitchen for second. Behind the leaders, Lawrence fought through the early adversity to position himself in sixth.

As the field settled in through the first 10 minutes of the moto the Star Yamaha contingent occupied the top four spots in the running order, with Lawrence pressuring from fifth. The Honda rider continued to push the pace and passed the Yamaha of Jordon Smith for fourth. He then set his sights on Kitchen in third. As the halfway point of the moto approached, a three-rider battle for second took shape with Deegan, Kitchen, and Lawrence. Lawrence moved into podium position with a pass on Kitchen and was then all over the rear fender of Deegan. After a couple laps of patience Lawrence made an assertive move to take control of the runner-up spot. He faced a 10-second deficit to Cooper with 13 minutes left.

As Cooper and Lawrence strengthened their hold on the top two positions the attention shifted to an incredible rise through the field by Shimoda. The Kawasaki rider methodically worked his way forward after the crash off the start and was able to climb all the way into the top three in the closing minutes of the moto.

Cooper took his first moto win of the season by 2.7 seconds over Lawrence, who made an impressive push late to close the deficit, with Shimoda in a hard-fought third. Deegan settled for fourth, while Kitchen rounded out the top five.

Hunter Lawrence wrapped up his third overall win with another Moto 2 victory.
Hunter Lawrence wrapped up his third overall win with another Moto 2 victory. Align Media

Moto 2

The second moto started cleanly with Cooper at the front of the field for the MotoSport.com Holeshot, pursued by Kitchen and Lawrence. A swap for second occurred briefly between Lawrence and Kitchen, but the Yamaha rider fought back. A short while later Lawrence reclaimed the position and became the benefactor of a tip over by Cooper, who went down and gave up the lead. He remounted just outside the top 10.

With the lead in hand, Lawrence was able to inch away from Kitchen, while Smith slotted into third. As the moto reached the 10-minute mark a battle for third emerged between Smith and Team Honda HRC’s Chance Hymas, from which the rookie prevailed with the position.

Lawrence continued to strengthen his hold on the lead as the moto wore on, which left the battle for second to come down to Kitchen and Hymas. The Honda rider closed in briefly, but Kitchen responded to keep him at bay.

A drama free moto for Lawrence saw the Australian capture a third consecutive Moto 2 win, 4.7 seconds ahead of Kitchen who kept Lawrence honest the whole race. Hymas recorded a career-best result in third. Cooper recovered from his first-lap crash to finish fourth.

Justin Cooper was the best he's been this season with a runner-up finish (1-4).
Justin Cooper was the best he's been this season with a runner-up finish (1-4). Align Media

Overall

Season-best 2-1 moto finishes landed Lawrence atop the overall podium once again for his third straight win to open the season and the fourth victory of his career. Cooper’s resiliency in the final moto was enough to give him the runner-up spot (1-4). One year removed from his podium debut at this event, Kitchen landed on the overall podium for the second time in his career in third (5-2).

Lawrence extended his lead in the championship standings to 16 points and is now chased by Cooper, who moved into second place. Deegan dropped to third, 27 points out of the lead.

Levi Kitchen earned his second career podium finish in third (5-2).
Levi Kitchen earned his second career podium finish in third (5-2). Align Media

Hunter Lawrence, Team Honda HRC
“I didn’t want to run [Cooper] over [after the crash], so I tried to go around him. After that I just rode my own race. Definitely made life a lot easier getting a good start. I’m stoked.”

Justin Cooper, Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“It was a great day. I rode really good all day and I’m happy with the bike. I bent my levers a bit [in the crash] and couldn’t use my front brake for a couple laps. After a few laps I got my controls back and started finding my flow again and made a push to the front. I did what I could. I gave it all I had.”

Levi Kitchen, Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“In that first moto I feel like I left a little on the table. I didn’t ride my greatest. In the second [moto] I tried to get another good start and lock in with [Cooper] and Hunter [Lawrence]. I got into some lappers and lost a lot of time, then my buddy Chance [Hymas] was keeping me honest. That was a fun race. I’m really stoked on how the day went.”

    

Thunder Valley National - 450 Class

- Lakewood, CO

RiderHometownMotos
1Jett Lawrence Australia Landsborough, Australia1 - 1
2Aaron Plessinger United States Hamilton, OH4 - 2
3Cooper Webb United States Newport, NC2 - 5
4Adam Cianciarulo United States Port Orange, FL3 - 6
5Dylan Ferrandis France Avignon, France7 - 3
6Ty Masterpool United States Fallon, NV5 - 4
7Garrett Marchbanks United States Coalville, UT6 - 8
8 United States Justin, TX8 - 7
9Fredrik Noren Sweden Lidk√∂ping, Sweden10 - 10
10Lorenzo Locurcio Venezuela Venezuela12 - 9
Full Results

   

450 Class Standings - 2023

RiderHometownPoints
1Jett Lawrence Australia Landsborough, Australia550
2Dylan Ferrandis France Avignon, France399
3Aaron Plessinger United States Hamilton, OH386
4Chase Sexton United States La Moille, IL338
5Adam Cianciarulo United States Port Orange, FL328
6Garrett Marchbanks United States Coalville, UT255
7Ty Masterpool United States Fallon, NV242
8Fredrik Noren Sweden Lidköping, Sweden219
9Jason Anderson United States Edgewood, NM207
10 United States Justin, TX176
Full Standings

    

Thunder Valley National - 250 Class

- Lakewood, CO

RiderHometownMotos
1Hunter Lawrence Australia Landsborough, Australia2 - 1
2Justin Cooper United States Cold Spring Harbor, NY1 - 4
3Levi Kitchen United States Washougal, WA5 - 2
4Jo Shimoda Japan Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture, Japan3 - 8
5Chance Hymas United States Pocatello, ID11 - 3
6Max Vohland United States Sacramento, CA7 - 5
7Jordon Smith United States Belmont, NC6 - 6
8Haiden Deegan United States Temecula, CA4 - 9
9R.J. Hampshire United States Hudson, FL8 - 7
10Jalek Swoll United States Belleview, FL10 - 10
Full Results

     

250 Class Standings - 2023

RiderHometownPoints
1Hunter Lawrence Australia Landsborough, Australia419
2Justin Cooper United States Cold Spring Harbor, NY399
3Jo Shimoda Japan Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture, Japan393
4Haiden Deegan United States Temecula, CA371
5Levi Kitchen United States Washougal, WA322
6Tom Vialle France Avignon, France302
7Max Vohland United States Sacramento, CA295
8R.J. Hampshire United States Hudson, FL288
9Jalek Swoll United States Belleview, FL221
10Ryder DiFrancesco United States Bakersfield, CA208
Full Standings