Roczen Salvages Sixth-Place Finish at Sweltering Florida National2019-06-24 10:58
In extremely hot, humid conditions, Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen tallied 2-10 finishes for sixth overall during the inaugural Florida National for round five of the AMA Pro Motocross series at the WW Ranch Motocross Park.
In the day’s first moto, Roczen launched his CRF450R to a second-place start before moving into the lead on lap two and opening a small gap. Not long after, Marvin Musquin closed in and began applying pressure. The German fended off his advances but ultimately relinquished the lead at the halfway point. He settled into second, which is where he finished. In moto two, Roczen came around the first turn in sixth and moved up one spot by the green flag. At the halfway mark, he made a mistake and went down, falling to seventh. Struggling to regain his composure in the Florida heat, Roczen slipped three more spots to take the checkered flag in 10th.
On Friday, Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen was joined by GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton, Christian Craig, RJ Hampshire and Hunter Lawrence for a dealer appearance at Cycles of Jacksonville, where they signed autographs and took pictures with fans.
Roczen started the day off strong, laying down a 2’08.910” time during the morning’s first timed qualifying session, landing him second-quickest on the day.
With the WW Ranch Motocross track featuring deep sand throughout, Team Honda HRC opted to mount Dunlop “scoop” sand tires to their CRF450R race machines; mechanics also added Twin Air filter covers to ensure sand didn’t enter the engine.
With such high heat and humidity, teams had large trash cans and inflatable pools filled with ice water, for riders to soak in after motos in order to lower their body temperatures.
The second-best Red Rider in the 450MX class was Fredrik Noren, who rode impressively throughout both motos to secure 9-8 finishes for ninth overall.
In the 250 class, Hunter Lawrence led the charge for the GEICO Honda squad, landing his CRF250R race machine in fifth overall with 8-4 finishes, while RJ Hampshire was eighth with 6-11 results. It was a rollercoaster day for teammate Chase Sexton, who dominated the first race to score his career-first moto victory, only to withdraw from moto two after struggling from the severe heat and humidity.
Following his sixth-place finish, Roczen sits second in the championship chase with 209 points, six behind Eli Tomac.
Team Honda HRC will once again do battle in the sand next week, as they head to The Wick 338 in Southwick, Massachusetts, for round six of the AMA Pro Motocross series.
Ken Roczen 94
“Jacksonville was a tough one. The brutal conditions made for some crazy racing. I finished the first moto in second, which I was okay with. Unfortunately, I had a hard time cooling down for the second moto. I was okay until the halfway point, when I made some mistakes and went down. After that point it was just about survival and making it through. It’s definitely not the weekend we wanted, but I’ve been putting in a lot of work throughout the week. We’ll be back at it hard next weekend.”
“Today was by far the toughest conditions of the year, and definitely a challenging track with the deep sand. Although I know Ken had hoped for a better result in the second moto, I think getting out of here with a sixth overall is good; we could’ve lost a lot more. Knowing the conditions were going to be so tough, he should’ve taken a lighter week so as not to overexert himself in the same conditions that we were going to race in. Next week could be similar conditions.”
Mechanic (Ken Roczen)
“Today’s conditions were pretty brutal, so I think we’re lucky to be walking away with even a sixth overall. Ken rode really hard in the first moto for second and was pretty exhausted afterward, so our goal for the second race was to finish and salvage as many points as possible. Bike-wise, we tried a few settings that we found during the week in practice but ultimately switched back to our base setting for the motos. With the heat and sandy track conditions, we used more fuel than normal but didn’t have any issue.”
450MX Moto 1 Results
Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team Time/Gap
Marvin 25 FRA 25 Red Bull KTM
Ken 94 GER 22 Team Honda HRC
Jason 21 USA 20 Rockstar Husqvarna
Source: Honda Racing Corporation
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