Chase Sexton offered his insights on his admirable A1, where he showed plenty of character, maturity and skill to claim a deserved third. Read what the Honda HRC star had to say in the post-race press conference.
Words: Press Conference | Lead Image: Align Media
Question: Chase, when you made the mistake in the rhythm lane and allowed Eli to catch you and then get by you, it seemed like it took you a lap or two to get back in rhythm. Was there anything wrong with the bike or anything going on in your head because it definitely didn’t seem like you were riding the same until the end?
Chase Sexton: I don’t know, the track, like Eli said, was just really gnarly and when you make a mistake like that you lose flow. What happened was I actually over jumped the quad into the corner, landed in a rut and it shifted to third and I didn’t realise I came out of the corner in third and just had no lift. I tried to go for the next one and just kept casing the whole rhythm section basically and lost what felt like forever.
After that it was really hard to get back into a flow until honestly the last lap when Cooper passed me. That was my last lap, I felt good and I found some different lines and it really was just being able to move around. I didn’t move around enough to see what other lines were doing and I was kind of just narrow-minded on what I was riding so that’s something I have to adjust to.
These guys are no slouches at that for sure, they know how to ride rough tracks and that’s something that I’m still learning, but overall it was a solid day for me. I wish I would have ridden a lot better in the last 10 minutes of that main event, but you know we go back and work on it for next week.
Question: What’s your mindset going into next weekend? You rode awesome today, you had so many amazing laps, but obviously it wasn’t the result that you wanted.
CS: For me, really just working on my motos and just doing more and more laps. I’m pretty comfortable on my bike and really it was just being in a race setting being back on the supercross track. Anaheim 1, for me, was probably one of the gnarliest supercross tracks I’ve ridden other than Daytona so that was really hard to jump into and be consistent and perfect throughout the whole main event. That’s something I struggled with.
Being back in a race setting was good for me to get through this race and now just turn my focus to next weekend. It’s going to probably be wet again and gnarly so just trying to focus on clicking off better laps. During the week it’s so hard to really make it the same as race day conditions so for me just focusing on getting my mind in a better spot later in the races is going to be my biggest thing.
I felt better once Cooper passed me. I kind of felt like a little fire went underneath me, but it was obviously the last lap. So for me just focusing on doing my thing during the week and coming back out and having another 20-minute event.
Question: Chase, you looked really patient on the way up to the front to catch Malcolm and I know you talked a lot about that over the off-season. Can you take us through that pass, did you know that you put him off the track, was that on purpose or accident?
CS: I was super patient early. I knew that the track was going to get super eaten up so I wasn’t in a big hurry. Eli got to the front and once he got up there I was like “okay well I kind of really need to start making passes” and Kenny ended up missing the finish line so I got him. Then Eli went down and then I knew I needed to make a charge to try and put a gap on because I knew Eli was still somewhat close.
I just wanted to get by Malcolm and he missed that rhythm section and I quaded into that corner and honestly he kind of stayed on the gas and I didn’t even mean to hit him. I was just running the corner and I couldn’t really stop. I hit that bump going into the corner and he was there so I didn’t mean to hit him by any means.
Question: We know that you have quite a different setting coming into this season. How was it for you tonight and was it difficult to evaluate it considering the conditions?
CS: Definitely tough, I didn’t expect the conditions we had today. Tonight was a good test for the bike. I was really happy with the front, it was definitely a lot more stable than it has been in years prior. Last year had a really weird kind of twitch coming into the corner here, which caused me to go down, and tonight was even gnarlier than that so I think that was a good step in the right direction.
I wasn’t scared every lap going through the whoops tonight so that was super good. I felt safe and stable in those and they weren’t long, but I felt solid so that was nice to kind of be able to focus on the rest of the track and not be worrying about the whoops 24/7.
Question: You’ve had so many strong runs in supercross and it seems like fairly often things went wrong. How much did the dominant performance that you had outdoors last year change what happened tonight?
CS: It definitely put me in a better mindset. I think last year even prior to that I was just really happy. I mean I’m happy to be on the podium and I was happy to get that race win last year, but I was never really I guess looking to be in a championship fight so I wasn’t able to experience that last year.
In outdoors I was able to battle with Eli and it really taught me a lot more than I could have ever asked for so now I feel like I’ve matured a lot over the last summer and then going into the off-season. It’s put me in just a good headspace and confidence-wise I’m good and it changes your riding when you’re confident and know what you’re capable of doing so that’s really all. It’s just a mindset thing and everyone knows. Sports is a lot in the mind and it’s been showing.