Challenging Night for Team Honda HRC at Daytona Supercross2019-03-11 10:42
The 2019 edition of the Daytona Supercross, held at the iconic Daytona International Speedway, is a race that Team Honda HRC would like to put behind them, as both Ken Roczen and Cole Seely were involved in the same second-turn crash, leaving them both fighting for position.
When the gate dropped on the night’s main event, Roczen and Seely both got decent jumps down the start straight. As the field careened into the second turn, another rider got sideways, ultimately hitting Roczen and starting a chain reaction that would lead to both Roczen and Seely going down. Both riders remounted their CRF450R race machines at the back of the pack and went into salvage mode to regain as many positions as possible. The German was able to maneuver his way through the field more successfully, working his way into 10thby lap six. He continued his charge forward, making his way into eighth by the checkered flag. Seely also fought for positions but struggled to maintain his pace toward the end of the 20-minute-plus-one-lap race, settling for 13th.
On Friday, Team Honda HRC riders Ken Roczen and Cole Seely, as well as GIECO Honda’s Chase Sexton, participated in press day, where they interviewed with media before taking to the track for a 15-minute practice session. Later that evening, the Red Riders made an appearance at DeLand’s RC Hill Honda PowerSports of to sign autographs and take pictures with fans.
The Daytona track showcases the longest lap times on the AMA Supercross circuit. During the two timed qualifying sessions, Roczen was second-fastest, notching a 1:08.638’ lap, while Seely was 11thwith a 1:10.758’ time, both secured in the second session.
Race day was busy in Team Honda HRC pits, as the squad provided special access to a number of groups. A rig tour was given to a group of Road 2 Recovery auction winners, then later promotional winners for Daytona International Speedway got to tour the trucks and even meet and take pictures with Seely and Roczen. In addition, a group from Honda Ecuador also got to tour the pits and trucks and meet the riders.
With the Daytona Supercross complete, Seely will be moving into his Claremont, Florida, apartment, where he’ll stay for much of the remaining Supercross season and the summer AMA Motocross series. “I’ve actually had an apartment here in Florida since November,” Seely explained. “It’s been pretty empty since then except for a pre-season test we did and then this past week for Daytona testing, but I’m heading back there now pretty much full-time until the end of the season. I’ll be between Florida and California depending on where the races are, but I’ll be riding at the Moto Sandbox, which is just an awesome place because of the tracks available, and I’ll be riding with guys like Kenny, Chase [Sexton], Adam [Cianciarulo] and Alex [Martin]. It gets boring riding by yourself in California, so to have such high-level guys to ride with and push you during the week is going to be great.”
In the 250SX East Region class, GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton put on a solid performance aboard his CRF250R to score second on the night, his best result of the 2019 season. Sexton started the day on a positive note, scoring the fastest qualifying time in practice before finishing fourth in his heat race, despite a second-turn crash. In the main event, the No. 23 machine got off the line to a fourth-place start and worked his way into second by lap four. Sexton rode consistently through the remainder of the race, taking the checkered flag in second. Sexton is currently tied for second in the 250SX East Championship standings, with 102 points.
On Saturday, March 16, Team Honda HRC will be in Indianapolis for round 11 of the AMA Supercross series.
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Ken Roczen 94
“I’m definitely disappointed in tonight’s result; it’s my worst of the season. I think for the most part the day went well, and I was feeling really good on the bike. Unfortunately, in the main event, there was a pileup in the first turn and I got caught between my bike and Cole’s and couldn’t get up. Once I was up, I did my best to make up as many positions as I could during the race, making my way into eighth—not what I wanted and we’re now also down in the points standings, but there are still seven rounds to go. I’m going to set my eyes forward and bounce back in Indianapolis.”
Cole Seely 14
“The first turn was a really weird setup in my opinion. It reminded me a lot of the GPs, where everyone just lines up to the inside and then files to the outside. We all went into the second turn and I tried to tuck underneath Kenny and Cooper [Webb], but Chad [Reed] came across into Ken, which then pushed him into me. I was actually trying to get Kenny up because the first thing I thought of was him getting burned by my header on the right side, plus obviously I needed to get up too. He got up and going pretty quick but my bike was buried so it took me a minute to get going. It was just super-unfortunate. I’m struggling right now and it’s tough to have so many bad-luck weekends and not get the results that I know I can and should have. I’ve just got to shake this one off too and put my mind forward.”
“It was a challenging night results-wise, but I do think there are positives to take away from today, as both guys showed a lot of speed while on-track. Cole rode well in his heat and that really should’ve been his heat to win; unfortunately, those guys got by him with one turn left. Ken also put together some really strong laps throughout the main event, while he was working his way forward. There were about two or three separate laps in the middle, where he was the fastest guy on the track or at least matching the pace of the leaders, so speed-wise he was right there. It’s unfortunate he couldn't be up there running with them, fighting for a podium and the win. When you give yourself a deficit like crashing on the first lap on a course like this, it’s really hard to come back from it. With Cole we’re still working on his confidence. I think he just needs to believe in himself and that he deserves to be up front and is one of the guys that should be running up front. We’re working with him on that, and Trey [Canard] has been a big help because he’s been in this situation before.”
Mechanic (Ken Roczen)
“It’s a bummer the day ended the way that it did. Ken was really happy with his bike and we barely changed anything all day—maybe just a click or two to dial things in but that’s it. He qualified strong in second and was looking very smooth and comfortable. His start wasn’t great in the heat but he snuck to the inside and got into second. He closed in on Eli [Tomac] a few times but kept making a bunch of mistakes, so he couldn’t ever try to go for the pass. In the main, he didn’t get the greatest start again, but he was on the inside so could’ve made it work to his advantage.”
Mechanic (Cole Seely)
“I think everyone kind of approaches Daytona in a similar way. Every year before this race we go build some sort of replica track to get the riders used to the sandy soil and maybe come up with a few new settings but they’re normally really close to what we traditionally run at any other race. During practice today we made some small changes to fine tune things, settling the bike down in the moguls and a few other areas. After that he didn’t really touch the bike for the rest of the day and was pretty happy. The main was a challenge; I’m not sure exactly what happened but I know Cole and Ken both went down and from there that set the tone for the rest of the race.”
Source: Honda Racing Corporation
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