GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton had several miscues in Arlington but was able to bounce back and earn his first podium of the 2019 season. He was catching Austin Forkner, the race leader, as he laid down the fastest lap of the main event but stalled his bike twice: once letting Jordon Smith (who has a miscue of his own a few laps later) and then a second time, which resulted in Justin Cooper edging him out for second place.
He spoke with Jason Weigandt after the race.
Racer X: You were tracking [Austin Forkner] down for a bit. It was coming together.
Chase Sexton: I felt really good, actually. I kind of struggled all day long, trying to just find a flow with the track. The track was pretty difficult. It was a little slick and in some parts tacky and rutted. We made a lot of bike changes today and all for the better. I was really soft in my shock, so I made that stiffer. The team did awesome. I was really excited with how we came together and made it a lot better. That main event, it was there. I had what it took to win that race, just two small mistakes. I came off the track and Ken [Roczen] was in my butt about that one. So we’re going to go back to the drawing board this week and not make those mistakes on the weekend.
So he was on you because you didn’t win yours. Did you return fire? Because he didn’t win.
No. He rode awesome. It’s hard to get on him about it. I’m not in the time or place for that right now.
Last corner pass is not the same as stalling on a wall.
It’s true. I crashed two times on the wall today. It’s obviously a step in the right direction to a podium after last weekend. I felt like my speed’s obviously there. Just now making it happen would be ideal.
Making the bike changes, how good are you at this? A lot of times newer guys are still just learning the whole testing process. Do you rely on them? Do you feel pretty good about your decisions? How’s that all work?
Yeah. I’ve actually learned, like I said, Ken has been really helpful. He’s showed me how to set my bike up. Not just how to set my own bike up, but just learning about how to react to how the track is and change your bike. I’ve learned a lot and I feel like I do a lot of the testing for the team.
Do you like it?
I do like it. I think it’s like making your bike good is awesome, but it’s getting to that next step. I feel like if you’re struggling, it’s also you but the bike can also help. So I think it’s a big part of it. Like I said, I’ve learned a lot from Ken. The team has been a really big help. Dan [Betley, team manager] has been super awesome. All the KYB guys have been really good. I think the bike’s going to be getting better and better. I knew coming into Minneapolis my bike was on the soft side, but I’ve kind of learned from mistakes. When I came to Atlanta when I tried to make my first debut, I changed to a setting because they said my bike was too soft the week before and went out and broke my leg. So I’m like, I’m not doing that again. We’re going to run it and just make it a change when I needed it. So I feel like I’m getting better at it. I need to get that win. I’m over just getting on the podium.
That didn’t have anything to do with it, though? The mistakes were just mistakes? It wasn’t like you were getting ahead of yourself.
You weren’t getting excited or anything?
I felt really, really good. I was like, all right, this is find[ing] my flow. I really wanted to make a charge. Right about when I made my mistake is when I was like, I got to make this happen. I had five minutes to go. I came into that corner and I don’t know what happened. I had the clutch in ready to hit the corner and stalled it. I don’t know what happened. I’m looking forward to next week. [We’ll] have the Triple Crown. Hopefully get off to some good starts and just get away from the chaos.