Hunter Lawrence isn’t giving up his late bid for the Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250 West Regional Championship. He has now won three-straight races, and the Denver round was key because Christian Craig could have locked the title with a victory. Hunter started ahead of Christian and while the series leader put the pressure on, he ultimately crashed on his own and went back into the pack. Lawrence won and Craig fought back to third. Michael Mosiman snuck through for second in another solid ride.
All three riders talked to the media after the race.
Hunter, good ride. We talked on the podium a little bit. You’re starting to stack these things up. I’m curious just in the transition you’ve made or the growth you’ve made in supercross. I know we joked about it in 2020. Salt Lake was new to you. But now you’re getting to the point where you’re winning races consecutively. I know hard work is the easy answer, but what do you think the real development here has been for you just on the technical side?
Hunter Lawrence: Obviously, I consider myself a pretty technical rider, so I think it wasn’t like if I couldn’t do it. I knew I could, I just had to figure things out. One of the big things was obviously my body just getting healthy. I think I’m at 100 percent now and I’m able to do on the bike for the duration that I want to, and my body can sustain that. So, that’s a huge helping hand to be able to do what your mind wants your body to do. And honestly just getting more laps. It’s my second season. I’m still not stocked up on laps like some of the guys. So more laps you just get better and better. Obviously, the little mistakes and stuff like that get eliminated, so it’s just kind of more time, I think.
Christian, what’s the situation like when you’re there in second? I know the track is slippery, so you can’t be aggressive just because of that. But at the same time, are you a little less aggressive than you would be if you weren’t thinking about points and trying to be safe? It had to be a tough situation.
Christian Craig: Yeah. A lot going through my mind when I have him right in front of me. I could have played it safe, or I could have made the pass for the championship. I got caught off guard. There was a little rock on that lip. Next thing I knew, I was on the ground. That one freaked me out a little bit. I just rushed and got up as fast as I can. Before that, I felt really good. I was clicking off the laps. I had a couple open opportunities where I could have put my front wheel in there, but I feel like if I had done that, he would have came back probably harder. So, I’ve got to expect that, and that’s fine. That’s racing, and the position he’s in. So, I played it safe until obviously I crashed. Then after that I was like, all right, let’s try to catch back up and get on the podium at least and minimize the damage.
Hunter, to follow up Christian’s question, he was right behind you. You were probably baiting him like, come on, test me. See what’s going to happen. How soon did you know that he wasn’t there?
Hunter Lawrence: Yeah. It was honestly like the next corner because that Yamaha is pretty loud. It’s a very distinctive noise and I didn’t hear it. The crowd obviously was a bit of a giveaway. I’m like, okay, something happened behind us. Then you see in your peripheral. I was like, okay, I guess he went down. Then it was just focus on myself, just click off consistent laps. There’s nothing I can do for championship hopes at that point. It’s just wherever he gets back to is wherever, and I just got to focus and win the thing now. Got a bit of a breather, so just don’t fumble that up.
You guys were tied even on the wins this year, four each. You take out Anaheim 3 and who knows where we’re at? Going into this last one, it’s probably whatever happens, happens. What do you think about this week?
Hunter Lawrence: Not much, honestly. What’s the points gap, 18 points now? So, as far as he’s concerned, he’s got a pretty safe race, really. I’m just going out to try and win and hopefully make it five wins this season. That’s all I can do, really. The chances of him getting less than 18 points or whatever, 19 points, it’s pretty unlikely. So just focus on myself and ride a bit of outdoors. One more day of supercross and enjoy the last day of supercross training for the year.
Hunter, you are not one to make excuses, but coming into the beginning of the season you were not expecting to race West Coast. Do you feel that played any role really at the beginning? Maybe a little slow start?
Hunter Lawrence: No, not at all. I’m not going to sit here and go, “I didn’t win the championship because I was surprised to race the coast.” I came in ready. I was there and stuff. We podiumed all the races. I think it’s only natural that you’re going to get a little better throughout the season. I wouldn’t say that’s got anything to do with it. Obviously, maybe a bit of bike setup. We changed a bit of suspension stuff and I’m really happy with the bike now, so maybe you could say that would have helped. But again, I was giving my 100 percent at all the first rounds as well, so not really.
Christian, after the crash entering the sand section, once you got up, as much as a points gap as you had, were you personally able to stay calm? Or does the heart rate spike a little bit? Did you get a little antsy particularly when you got to Shimoda, or do you feel like you stayed fairly level-headed?
Christian Craig: I’d say a little bit of everything. When I got my bike up, I knew what place I was in. I sensed it. I freaked out at that point. I want to minimize that gap as much as possible. Made a couple quick passes and got into the top five. Then I had those other two in front of me. Then I saw these two not actually too far in front. So after that, I did calm down and then just rode my laps. I knew I was faster than Jalek and then Jo. I knew it was going to be tough to pass Jo. Gave me a little bump back after I passed him in the whoops and almost passed me on the track. But we’re going for a podium position, so got to respect it. Was able to get by and pass for third. I can’t be too bummed at that, coming from a fall to seventh and then back to third. Did what I can with what I was dealt.
Christian, from our perspective, or at least the view that I had, the pass on Jo in the whoops, because of the angle you had coming across the whoops, it looked like your rear tire got pretty close to his front tire. Did you notice that in the moment?
Christian Craig: Yeah, I did see that. The lap before when I did pass him, he knew that I was doing that. So, I think I probably had half a bike on him, and I slowly started going to my inside line that I was doing every lap. He checked up and the rest was that. But I had to kind of make an aggressive pass to make it stick because obviously the lap before, he got me close to the bails. Not going to complain. It’s racing. I’m happy to be here and got another race to go, so I’m excited.
Michael, a few years back when we were here, at least from my perspective, breakout ride for you in the heat race. What’s it like coming back here to a place that you had a ride like that and then being on the podium, having a great day?
Michael Mosiman: For sure, I have a lot of good memories around this place and Thunder Valley as well. Two tracks that I think I do well at. I think I excel at elevation when the bikes are a little bit slower, because I don’t always use all of my power so when everyone else is down on power, I still have some left in my bike to give. Coming back here, it always feels good. It always feels good to come to a place you’ve had success. Definitely drawing on some of that experience san remembering what were those track conditions and kind of anticipating what it’s going to be like throughout the day. It’s always good. Happy to end up on the podium. Wish I could have challenged for the win. There were some moments where I definitely thought I could have, but just tricky lappers and different things. No excuses.
Michael, what are we going to do about pushing the front here?
Michael Mosiman: What are you talking about?
Just as far as pushing the front end in the corners and stuff like that. How do we clean that up?
Michael Mosiman: I don’t recall. Let’s put it that way. If I just continue to rehearse that, continue to run that through my head, what’s going to be more likely to happen? You look at the rock, you’re going to hit the rock. So, I’m going to look at the twenty other times that I nailed that corner and remember those things and learn as much as I can. I’m not going to dwell on it.
Michael, What needs to happen for this time next year you’re challenging for this championship and being a little bit closer?
Michael Mosiman: I think this year has been building. I think this year I have learned a ton. Just being there from the beginning and kind of letting my confidence grow. I’m learning a little bit in the whoops. I think there’s a hair – obviously Christian is just unbelievable in the whoops. A lot of guys, if you're legit in the whoops, you’ve got a dang good shot at the championship. There’s a few things that I’m trying to learn and trying to pick up even this late into the season trying to mess with and tweak. So, I think there’s some room for growth there. Then just consistency. A lot of things are growing. I’ve built and improved every single year that I’ve raced. I think there’s no reason we won’t see more of that trend just because of my mentality.
Hunter, on the showdown, you won the last time we were having the showdown, so how are you feeling going two for two this year and giving yourself that better shot at the championship?
Hunter Lawrence: Yeah, you said it. Obviously, it’s the best chance to give myself the best hopes for the championship. So, I’d just like to get another win and make it five for the season. That’s kind of all there is to it, to be honest.
Is it tough riding against guys that you don’t usually week by week, like Craig and all the others that you’re usually against? Is it tougher mentally, physically against other guys like that?
Hunter Lawrence: I wouldn’t say [that]. We race them all year through the summer in outdoors, so you kind of know everyone’s riding behavior and stuff. When to give guys room, when you have to force the issue with some guys in a spot where they can’t retaliate. So, I wouldn’t say it’s harder. It’s just obviously more better guys. So, it’s just kind of like outdoors.
Hunter, you’ve been riding very well the last few races. Part of me is a little curious, do you have a little bit of extra motivation? Obviously, Christian has been doing very well. He’s been getting a lot of attention this season, but is there a small part of you that is wanting to kind of remind everybody if not that for this crash earlier in this season, this championship might look a little different?
Hunter Lawrence: No, not really. I just want to win. It’s got nothing to do with what the people think. I could care less. I just want to go out and win. All I care about is my crew and my team and my family. I’m doing it for myself out there. Everyone that puts into it. Ask anyone on the grid. They’d say the same thing. You’re out there for yourself. You’re not trying to do it to get more Instagram followers or get more views or whatever. None of it even matters.
Mosiman, a few weeks until outdoors start. Have you started testing for outdoors? What are your expectations and goals coming off the supercross season once you get outdoors in the heat?
Michael Mosiman: Goals are high. Goals are very high. I feel super good outdoors. I’ve been doing a lot of riding outdoors. Super happy with my bike. We made zero changes from last year. At the end of last year I was really good. We made zero for a long time and then they gave me a new fork, and it’s like the dream fork. The lap times just drop and it's sick. So, I’m really excited. My fitness level is strong. So, I’m really excited honestly just for a blank slate. It’s tough to go race every weekend when the championship is so far out of grasp. Just looking forward to that. Looking forward to reset. I think I have a lot to bring to outdoors. I’m excited.
Watch the full 250SX post-race press conference below: