The 450cc class has been keeping fans on their toes during the SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX) playoffs so far, as there is a lot of money on the line and much to be proven amongst the top riders in this class.
After a disappointing weekend for Jett Lawrence in North Carolina at playoff round one, where he went 7-2 for fourth overall, the #18 plate lit a fire beneath his seat and was burning to make a comeback—and that he did! Looking much more like he was during the 2023 AMA Pro Motocross Championship, Lawrence went 1-2 for first overall in Chicago, with Ken Roczen going 3-1 for second overall, and Chase Sexton taking third overall with a 2-3 for the weekend. And really, Jett was looking at 1-1 finishes until he waved Roczen by after the #94 was hounding him late in the race.
That being said—where will LA take us at the final playoff round? Who will land on the podium, and who with clench the first ever SMX title? We will find out come this weekend. For now, check out what Jett had to say about the motos at the post-race press conference below:
Jett, in the pre-race press conference, you said you were annoyed, pissed off, motivated to win this race. You came out and did it in the first moto and kind of walked away from the field like in motocross. Was there redemption?
Jett Lawrence: Definitely was lighting that fire, for sure. After the weekend before and you do so bad, people only know you for your last race, really. So, I didn’t want to do another weekend like that. So, definitely the motivation from that helped a lot. Working on our starts was a very big thing for us, and ended up proving it today. Back to a regular kind of start definitely helped, but just kind of getting off the gate more consistent and stuff helped a lot. But like you said, the loss from last weekend hurt a lot and motivated me a lot more to try and make sure I come out here swinging.
Conventional wisdom was that this was a little more motocrossy track than last week. Did that factor in?
I feel like, almost the more motocross it is, it’s almost better for me. I’ve been riding motocross all my life, where supercross I started back in the end of 2019, really. So, supercross is still fairly new to me where most of the guys I’m competing with have done it for years. So, it’s still new. I’m getting there. It’s been a good learning curve for me, but it definitely helped a lot with this being a bit more of a motocross kind of layout, definitely. I felt like I just felt a little bit more at home. It made it definitely a lot easier for suspension just to go with an outdoor setting, and just kind of stiffen it up a bit.
In that last moto, letting Kenny go, at what point in the moto did you start doing the math a little bit and seeing where those guys were so you could do that?
I think it was the two laps when I think Kenny was really on me, when he kind of closed the gap. I was riding, but my mind was somewhere else thinking, trying to do math. But, I kind of took two laps and was just thinking and making sure if I did let him pass, it wouldn’t affect my overall. But it turns out my great math wouldn’t have meant anything if I would have let him pass or not. [Laughs] So that’s my good math. But it was two laps I was thinking of it. Then I was like, I’m pretty sure I’m good. So at that back section I just let him pass. Then just kind of ran behind. I got to see how he races, so it was a good thing for me because obviously I can only learn so much if I’m in front of the guy. So it was nice to kind of see how Kenny’s lines were and see how he kind of races on a bit of a tighter track. I got to see in outdoors, but I haven’t quite seen in more of a kind of supercrossy layout.
How did you plan the wave through? Why didn’t you just make a mistake or go wide on a turn or something? How did you plan that?
I used all my thinking on the math, so I couldn’t think any other way. That failed also. [Laughs]
Considering you’re the current outdoor champion, the new 450 champion, what was your take on it, just the high speed, the speedway atmosphere and that environment?
I think in all honesty it just made an easier decision on suspension. Obviously, last weekend we struggled with suspension because it was the first time, but we had a supercross rhythm lane, where this weekend there was just rollers and a few doubles. So, it definitely just made it a lot easier coming into this one. We’ve seen the tracks where we already kind of had two settings during the week that we tried. We tried both, so we were ready to go racing on either one, depending on how the track was. But it just made it easier. Looking forward to LA. It could be more supercross, but I feel like whatever it is I’ll adapt to it. I’m definitely feeling confident on my bike, so I’m looking forward to it.