Craig Ninth at Final Triple Crown Race in Minneapolis

2018-04-16 08:42
Round 14 of the AMA Supercross series at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis played host to the season’s third and final Triple Crown event, where Team Honda HRC’s Christian Craig overcame falls in the first two races to secure ninth overall with 14-10-7 results. Smartop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda’s Justin Brayton was the top Red Rider in the premier 450SX division, finishing just shy of the podium in fourth, with a 4-2-5 tally.


With temperatures dropping below 30 degrees and blizzard snow conditions in Minneapolis, Team Honda HRC opted to pit inside the stadium rather than make the trip back and forth to and from their tech truck. “We were originally going to just pit inside the trailer like normal, but when the weather started to get bad even before the riders’ meeting, we decided it would make it easier to move everything inside and pit in the tunnel,” mechanic Rich Simmons explained. “We put together everything that we thought we’d need, and if we were missing something, we’d have someone run back up to the trailer to grab it.”
During the daytime qualifying practice, Christian Craig was the top Red Rider in the 450SX class, scoring the fourth-fastest time with a 49.262” lap. Only .1 seconds off of Craig’s time, Justin Brayton was eighth overall with a 49.362” time.
Team Honda HRC was pleased to host Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and his crew at the Minneapolis Supercross. The four-time and reigning MotoGP champion was in the U.S. early for this coming weekend’s Grand Prix of the Americas, to be held in Austin, Texas. The Spaniard is a huge supercross fan and frequently rides a CRF450R during his off-season.
After scoring his first victory of the season at the previous 250SX East race in Indianapolis, GEICO Honda’s Jeremy Martin was eager to return to action in front of his home crowd. The Minnesota native didn’t disappoint, starting the day off with the second-fastest qualifying time of 49.090”. Throughout the three races, Martin continued to charge aboard his CRF250R, finishing 3-3-1 to capture his second victory of the year.
Following a one-year hiatus from Gillette Stadium, the AMA Supercross series returns to Foxborough, Massachusetts, this Saturday, April 21. Prior to all the action, Craig, Martin, Brayton, and Vince Friese will make an appearance at Bettencourt’s Honda starting at 6 p.m.
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Christian Craig 32
“Tonight was tough, honestly. All day I struggled with my breathing and I’m not sure why because this hasn’t happened to me before. I was able to put a fast time down for practice, qualifying fourth. In the main events, I struggled and kept having to remind myself to breath, which was spiking my heart rate. I almost felt like my body was shutting down. The first race was the worst after my crash. I got better with it through the night, luckily, but still nowhere near happy. I was able to push through my own battles and finish ninth overall. It’s been a hard couple weekends but I’ll get through it. I’m going to focus on a lot of things this week and come back fresh next weekend in Foxboro.”

Christian Craig
Erik Kehoe
Team Manager
“Christian rode really tight tonight and we’re not sure why. He was having a hard time getting his breathing dialed and under control, so he struggled a bit, especially in the opening race. He did ride really well in the second race though, when he got behind a group of guys and kind of fell into their pace and rhythm. Unfortunately, he went down briefly a little bit later and lost his rhythm. By the time the last race came around, I think he was a little discouraged, but he still rode solid despite that and finished seventh. A top 10 is something Christian can learn and build from in the final few supercross races this season.”

Erik Kehoe
Rich Simmons
Mechanic (Christian Craig)
“There were positives and negatives to take away from today. Christian was happy with his bike setup all day and was able to break back into the top 10 overall, so that’s good. He struggled with a few things though, in terms of his breathing and making a few mistakes, which cost him positions. I know he wants to get back to where he was when he first jumped on the bike, so he’s got three more supercross races to do that.”

Rich Simmons
450 SX Main Event Results
Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team Time/Gap
Eli 3 USA 26 Monster Energy Kawasaki 1-4-3
Jason 21 USA 23 Rockstar Husqvarna 2-6-1
Marvin 25 FRA 21 Red Bull KTM 7-1-2
Justin 10 USA 19

Source: Honda Racing Corporation

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