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Campeonato del Mundo MXGP

Viewpoint: Hunter Lawrence

Hunter Lawrence speaks out.

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When Suzuki pulled out of the FIM Motocross World Championship, it obviously put a lot of riders and team members in worrying positions. Hunter Lawrence, for instance, is one of the hottest talents in the series, but was suddenly left with no gig for the fast-approaching season. Things have worked out quite nicely for the likeable Australian though, as he has landed a four-year deal with Honda that includes a move to the United States.

MX Vice: The whole Suzuki deal fell apart quite quickly but, considering that, it seems as though you really landed on your feet. You must be pretty stoked with how everything has worked out?

Hunter Lawrence: Yeah, for sure. When we found out about Suzuki finishing and stopping it was quite stressful. Jeff Majkrzak, Ziggy and the guys from Geico were really helpful with the whole situation actually. I do not think that the deal that we got would have fallen into place if it wasn’t for them. We had an option to go to America early, but I told them that I wanted to stay for one more year. I want to be world champion and achieve something here. I want to achieve my goals and my dream.

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Hunter Lawrence opened eyes with impressive rides at the USGP.

Suzuki Racing

They supported me one hundred percent, you know, so they went to work with my manager. They were working their butts off day and night to sort something out. They are still working and sorting the finer details out now, but it was awesome that it came through. I get on the Honda one year earlier than planned, so I’m happy with it. Everything has been good so far. There are a great bunch of people from Geico and 114 Motorsports. I am excited for next year.

How did it work then? Did the Geico guys speak to Honda in MXGP and try to find you a place? Even though you are on 114 now, are you already halfway to being a full-blown Geico rider?

Yeah, basically. Dan Betley got in contact and spoke with my manager, then it went back and forth. I don’t know the finer details of who they were talking to, but I know they were talking to Honda Europe. I still had to finish races, you know, so I just told them to leave me out of it. They sort of went out about their own business and got it done. I am pretty sure they just went back and forth with Honda Europe and found me a spot. It is obviously difficult for a team to want to sign a guy for just one year, you know?

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Lawrence has one moto win to his name. That occurred in the final moto of the season.

Suzuki Racing

You are going to have a few Geico parts on your bike, right? 

Yep, they were awesome to help us out. It is really good. We asked when we went to Geico and stuff and they were awesome with supporting us with what I thought I needed to do to become a better rider in the future. They were all for it and said that they wanted to help me out as much as they could, which was just really comforting. We are not under contract with Geico for 2018, but they are still helping us out and treating us like we are. That is just their good will and the type of heart that they have. It is awesome. What better way to start a relationship? I know a lot of teams would not do that in Europe – that is for sure. Yeah, they have been unreal with every aspect.

When Suzuki told you that they were not having a team next year, it was obviously quite late. Did you ever look at going over to America a year early?

Yeah, for sure. We found out quite late and stuff. It was not on my mind at the time, but at one point it seemed to be the only option. I had already spoken about what I wanted to do and they just made it happen. I could have gone. I just think it would have been silly to go over there, worry about supercross and try to learn that before I have really hit my stride in Europe.

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Lawrence hails from Australia, but is based in Belgium with his entire family.

Suzuki Racing

I want to be a world champion. That is my goal and that is why I am here, working my butt off in the freezing cold. It is not just to waste time and fill in spots on the gate. I have come this far in Europe now, so I might as well get some reward out of freezing during the winters and the other difficult obstacles that I have had to overcome.

Are you putting a lot of pressure on yourself for next year? If you spent the next five years in Europe, there is no doubt that you would be world champion. If, for whatever reason, it does not happen next year, are you going to be a bit disappointed and wish that you could have another stab at it?

Yeah. But, at the end of the day, I am just going to rock up and race my dirtbike as hard as I can, regardless of where I am in the world or what position. Whether I holeshot or am thirtieth in the first turn, it does not matter. I think I am mentally strong enough to take it race by race, race my dirtbike and have fun. I have got a good crew of people around me and good people in my life, so putting pressure on myself is not going to be an issue. I can switch on as soon as that helmet goes on and race my dirtbike, just like I know I can. It is obviously going to be difficult, but we just have to roll with the punches and keep working. You get out what you put in.

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The Motocross of Nations was another highlight for Lawrence.

ConwayMX

A three-year deal with GEICO Honda is pretty massive, not many people get long-term deals like that anymore. Were there any other American teams that showed interest in you?

Yeah, for sure. Three years with Geico is awesome. It is really comforting, like I said, to already have a good relationship with them, even though I have not really started there yet. I am super excited and hope that there will be many more years after that. I would like to stay on the same bike for longer than a year, you know, as the past two teams have shut down. I am looking forward to it. We were talking and stuff, but I definitely think that we have made a good decision for our future. They are all like family guys and good blokes. The feeling was good from the very first time that we met them, just because they are good people who you can trust. I am happy with it.

Have you got much experience with supercross, even on the smaller tracks in Australia?

Yeah, I would do supercross every year when I was growing up through the junior ranks and stuff. I have been in Europe for two years now though and have not done it. I mean, I could have forgotten everything or end up picking it up faster than before. We’ll find out when I get on a supercross track again. I am super excited to get back on one though.

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An injury in June restricted Lawrence to ninth in the final standings.

Suzuki Racing

Going back to the moment that you found out that Suzuki were not going to run in MX2, did you freak out at the time?

I did not grasp it at first. I got told on Sunday at Jacksonville, after the racing. I was still pretty happy, because it was a good weekend and stuff, so was on a high. To get told that sucked a bit, but I did not fully grasp it. My manager and Dad understood a little better though. It was difficult at that time in the season, as a lot of guys were already signed or had just signed the week before. It was definitely a bit of a spanner in the works for us. We thought we were bad, but the MXGP guys were even later. We felt sorry for ourselves when it happened, but I cannot imagine what it was like for those guys and the mechanics too.

One thing that everyone hinted at all year, but you obviously could not confirm it, was that Jeremy Seewer had a bit of a faster bike than you. Can you confirm that now? 

Yeah. I think I can now! It was coming into the start of the season. I mean, he was going for the title and obviously there were two other MX2 guys. When you have three MX2 guys, you know, you have like four bikes to the halfway mark in the season and it is a lot of budget basically. You know how it is. The more money you spend on an engine, the more horsepower you can generally get out of it. It came down to a little bit of that – that is just how it was. I am not pissed about it, because all I wanted to do coming into the season was learn through the experience. I think it made me a better rider and helped me create more skills. Not having the horsepower that some of the other guys had, I had to come into the corners faster and that sort of thing. I do not think it was a bad thing that I did not have a faster engine, because it created a better rider for when I do get one in the future.

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Lawrence landed on the podium for the first time at Teutschenthal in May.

Suzuki Racing

Finally, what are your plans for the winter? You are back from Australia now, but are you going back over there for Christmas?

I am here now. I just did one trip to Australia and have been back for like five weeks now. It was just one trip over, because my whole family is here and taking the whole family over is really expensive. We only do that trip once. That was the first time since we first came over to Europe actually! We’ll stay in Belgium now and just keep training here until Argentina.

Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Suzuki Racing

Campeonato del Mundo MXGP

Results: 2024 Hawkstone International

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Find all the highlights and results from the 2024 Hawkstone International below.

MX1 Overall

MX2 Overall

Super Final

Lead Image: Fantic MXGP

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Campeonato del Mundo MXGP

BREAKING NEWS: MX Lacapelle Marival Cancelled

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The first round of the French Elite Championship scheduled this weekend at Lacapelle Marival has been cancelled
Due to terrible weather conditions today and an even worse weather forecast for this weekend, the event’s jury (members of the club and delegates of the French Fédération) announced a few minutes ago that the event is cancelled.

The first round of the Championship will take place on March 16-17 in Basly (near Caen)

There was an impressive entry list for the event. It will be interesting to see if any riders go to the Hawkstone International this weekend.

MXGP

1 Valentin GUILLOD
20 Gregory ARANDA
24 Kevin HORGMO
34 Bogdan KRAJEWSKI
57 Pierre GOUPILLON
61 Pako DESTERCQ
72 Lucas IMBERT
91 Jeremy SEEWER
93 Jago GEERTS
101 Mattia GUADAGNINI
109 Antoine BORDRON
131 Adrien MALAVAL
141 Maxime DESPREY
183 Tim EDBERG
193 Tanguy PROST
576 Dorian MARTINEZ
725 Antonin MILLE
752 Julien PELLETIER
783 Enzo TORIANI
831 Brice MAYLIN
959 Maxime RENAUX
971 Tino BASSO

MX2

8 Camden MC LELLAN
11 Calvin FONVIEILLE
14 Arnaud AUBIN
19 Sacha COENEN
31 Tom GUYON
41 Nicolas DUHAMEL
47 Karlis REISULIS
55 Mathis BARTHEZ
74 Kay DE WOLF
95 Enzo CASAT
111 Mikkel HAARUP
132 Andrea BONACORSI
133 Tom CANEELE
140 Nike KORSBECK
172 Mathys BOISRAME
198 Thibault BENISTANT
214 Nicolas VENNEKENS
220 Toni GIORGESSI
226 Arthur STEFFEN
240 Johan BRIAND
268 Thibault MAUPIN
287 Lisandru TORRE
317 Mathis VALIN
319 Quentin Marc PRUGNIERES
324 Maxime CHARLIER
389 Jules PIETRE
411 Nicolas DERCOURT
425 Emile DE BAERE
430 Ivano VAN ERP
446 Adrien PETIT
451 Julius MIKULA
507 Simon DESMICHEL
575 Kevan SCHILLINGER
589 Kiliann POLL
598 Ethan LEPIGEON
619 Hugo STIENNES
640 Jules ALMAYRAC
642 Jules AMMER
708 Kivers LEFEBVRE
712 Pierrick CASTAN
720 Ilann WERLE
747 Maximin MILLE
772 Janis Martins REISULIS
790 Victor MAURESA
798 Arnaud COLSON
816 Tennessee CARRIE
857 Hugo VAUTHIER
867 Rasmus MOEN
895 Francois RIGOLLOT
925 Mathis DECLEMY
960 Lucas COENEN
978 Enzo ROZE

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Campeonato del Mundo MXGP

Injury Update: Liam Everts suffers a broken thumb and will miss the start of the MX2 season

Details here.

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Disaster has struck for Liam Everts, as the Red Bull KTM star fell during training in Grevenbroich on Wednesday and suffered a fracture in his thumb. He underwent surgery on Thursday and looks set to miss the start of the MX2 World Championship on March 10 in Argentina – as per Motocrossplanet via Het Belang Van Limburg.

Having impressed last season on his way to winning three GPs and finishing fourth in the title standings, this is a huge blow for the MX2 title contender. We wish him all the best for his recovery. 

Lead Image: Ray Archer/KTM

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