Rookie Jett Lawrence wins 450 Supercross debut race – Press Enterprise

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ANAHEIM — Right now, no one can seem to stop Jett Lawrence. And he made history Saturday night at Angel Stadium.

Lawrence dominated the main event, leading all 20 laps on his factory Honda, to become the first rookie in AMA history to win his debut 450cc Supercross race.

Jason Anderson finished second on a Kawasaki 7.188 seconds behind, with Chase Sexton following in third in his inaugural race with the KTM factory team. Aaron Plessinger and Dylan Ferrandis completed the top five.

Last summer, Lawrence became just the third rider in history to post a perfect season, winning all 22 motos during the 11-race Outdoor Nationals season.

“The nerves were through the roof. It was going through my mind that you are actually here. This was no joke,” Lawrence said. “Once I got that start, I was like, ‘Go … go … go,’ and I was able to build a gap. It was an unreal achievement.”

While battling Anderson for second place on Lap 17, Cooper Webb flipped over his handlebars going over a tabletop jump. He got back on his bike and dropped to sixth place, where he finished.

“These guys are keeping me honest. Me and Coop got in a battle there,” Anderson said. “I am thankful for everything … thankful for Kawasaki, and I think if I can keep getting up there, I can get a win.”

Ken Roczen won his third 450cc heat race in a row dating to last season, cruising to a 4.412-second victory over Plessinger in the first six-lap qualifier. Malcom Stewart followed in third, with Eli Tomac and Dean Wilson rounding out the top 5.

Sexton’s title defense couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start. Hunter Lawrence, who was making his 450cc class debut, crashed in the first turn, taking out Sexton. That put Sexton in 17th place in the 22-bike field at the end of the first lap. But three laps later he was back in the top 10. He eventually finished sixth, more than 18 seconds behind Roczen to earn one of the nine transfer spots into the main event.

In the second heat, Jett Lawrence got the hole shot, but a few turns later Webb pushed him to the side to take the lead. Webb appeared to be headed to an easy victory until he made it to the whoops on the penultimate lap. Lawrence closed to with a few bike lengths of Webb, but just as he was about to make his move, Lawrence lost control of his Honda. He smashed face first into the dirt, allowing Webb to claim an easy victory and Anderson to speed past him into second.

Webb beat Anderson by 4.433 seconds, with Lawrence following in third 8.21 seconds behind.

Hunter Lawrence had to compete in the last-chance race to try and earn one of the final four places in the main event. But he finished fifth, failing to make a pass on Cade Clason for fourth in the final turn of the last lap.

Christian Craig made his return to the factory Husqvarna team on Saturday after a nasty crash in Glendale, Arizona left him with a dislocated hip, elbow and broken arm on his right side.

Craig said his elbow proved to be the biggest problem, requiring three surgeries to help it heal. His wife Paige and three children — Jagger, Lennon and Madden — played a key role in his recovery. Each day, he said they found a way to keep him busy, stalling any slide he might have had into some “dark places” if he would have been on his own.Even though he ranks among the older riders in the starting gate at 32, he said retirement was never a consideration.



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