Despite starting off his day in fine style by qualifying second behind only Malcolm Stewart, Chase Sexton’s San Diego proceeded to be filled with drama.
Words: Edward Stratmann | Lead Image: Team Honda HRC
Entering the heat race with momentum and undeniable speed, things didn’t go to plan for the Honda HRC star. Having gotten off to a decent start to find himself in fifth, a nasty crash early on in the whoops scuppered his outing, with Aaron Plessinger then slamming into his fuel tank, thus bundling him out of the race.
Forced to line up for his first ever LCQ, Sexton thankfully avoided incident here, with him blitzing the field to claim a dominant victory by over 12 seconds.
Hitting the main event ready to get on the box again like he did at A1, he made a nifty start to immediately propel himself into the top five. But shortly after, the overly aggressive Justin Barcia completely cleaned him out and knocked him to the ground, meaning he frustratingly dropped back to 10th while he remounted.
Recalibrating his focus and finding his rhythm, there was a lot to like about how the #23 recovered, as he quickly progressed into sixth. Settling in behind Ken Roczen and Barcia, it was interesting seeing him struggle to get within striking distance of the battling duo.
Although he got close in the dying embers, there was just no way past, as he ultimately had to settle for a solid fifth.
All things considered, this was an admirable effort by the 23-year-old, who showed terrific composure and maturity to regather himself on a night littered with adversity, where it just wasn’t happening for him to salvage some valuable points.
“San Diego was a little bit eventful for me. I qualified second, but had a big crash in the heat race and had to DNF. I went to my first LCQ ever, but was able to get through there,” he explained.
“I made the main event and was riding good, but got taken down by another rider and fell back to 10th. I made my way back to fifth, but it was definitely a mediocre night. At least we’re healthy and we can try to come out swinging for A2.”
Team manager, Lars Lindstrom, then added: “The 450 heat race was pretty scary, with Chase having a good get-off and a DNF. Luckily, he was okay and was able to win the LCQ. In the main event, both riders got good starts. Another rider took Chase out, and we can’t be in a position to let that happen. It’s a decent result for the night for what it could’ve been, but we need to be better.”
By the numbers in the main, the fact he was one of only two men to post a lap time in the 49s (alongside Eli Tomac) and was in the top five in all three segments illustrated his speed and consistency following his unfortunate spill.
Currently sitting third in the championship standings after two rounds, 13 points behind leader Tomac, he’ll be looking to get back on track at Anaheim 2, where he’ll just be hoping to stay out of trouble and return to battling for victory in his pursuit to challenge for the title indoors.