Ken Roczen took the lead from Webb and managed to pull away but late in the race Webb came back at him and took the lead on the final lap.Webb the victor much to the exasperation of a clearly frustrated Roczen.
Many were critical of Dean Wilson for holding up Roczen while being lapped, as that is essentially what allowed Webb to close in on the German and steal the win. A blue flag had been shown to Wilson here and there but obviously not enough of them and not waved vigorously enough for him to take notice. There will be many discussions after the event concerning this problem on tracks that are very hard to pass on, especially as Wilson is a repeat offender.
Cooper Webb – P1
“It was a close race the whole time and Kenny [Roczen] rode a solid race with not many mistakes. The track was really tricky, easy to over-ride and get impatient. The lappers there at the end was a bummer, I felt like we were going to have a really good battle, and obviously we did, but the lappers were really tough tonight. I hung in there and I pounced on that last lap and made it happen. I’ve really got to give it up to my team, they’re amazing.”
Ken Roczen – P2
“We had a pretty solid night, winning the heat race and then grabbing a good start in the main event. We put a pass on Cooper [Webb] and I was leading the way until the last lap, when [Dean] Wilson got in my way and was ahead of me for three quarters of a lap. I was yelling and screaming. He said he didn’t hear me, but obviously there were blue flags around. I hit the back of his wheel and almost went down–a lot of madness going on. I passed him, but at that point that was the end of the race. We came in second place, even though we should’ve had the win. A lot of positives to take away here though, with the red plate and a second-place finish. It’s not ideal but I’m looking forward to Indy.”
Adam Cianciarulo rounded out the podium positions, crossing the line 14-seconds behind the leading duo. Justin Barcia took fourth ahead of Eli Tomac and Malcolm Stewart.
Adam Cianciarulo – P3
“I finally finished the race where I started and in all seriousness, today was a good day to build on. The first round in Houston was decent but I didn’t have the speed to run with the front group, and then I blew it on Tuesday at Round 2, so I told myself today that we just needed to stay present-minded and execute the way we practice each week. I felt good all day with being quickest in free practice and then right behind Eli (Tomac) in qualifying. I was pumped on my heat race. Did you see that start I got on my KX450? That thing is a beast! I was able to gain some confidence heading into the main event from leading that heat from start to finish. In the main, I got another good jump and in the opening laps, I thought I could get second place at one point, and I thought I might be able to get both of those guys in first and second, but as the race went on the lapped traffic was a real challenge to find safe and efficient passing lanes, so we settled for third. I am looking forward to getting away from these tight tracks and sand sections that we had here in Houston and excited to carry the momentum to Indy.”
Justin Barcia – P4
“I felt good going into the Main Event. The track was pretty rough and beat up and I came off the line a little bit late and didn’t get the best of start but I worked my way up to fourth. I was behind third and made a mistake in the sand and went down. All-in-all, I should have been on the podium but we’ll regroup and be ready for Indy. We are in a good spot, the bike feels great, I’m feeling good and the speed is definitely there, I just need to keep it on two wheels, keep nailing the starts and put myself in a good position to be in the fight.”
Eli Tomac – P5
“Overall, my day was alright. This morning I was able to find the right setting and as a result, I was able to qualify fastest heading into the night show. I didn’t get the best jump in the heat race and Adam (Cianciarulo) was riding well. I could see that I was catching him, but just ran out of time, so I knew my speed was good going into the main event. I had a decent jump out the gate in the main event, but that tricky right-handed start made some riders near me bobble and resulted in me getting shuffled back. Again, I was able to charge forward, but the track broke down and was pretty gnarly tonight, so we just had to manage for fifth. We are leaving Houston healthy and just six-points down from the leader in fourth. We’ll spend the few days off we have getting ready for Indy.”
Malcolm Stewart – P6
“I guess I’d say H3 was not bad, actually. Throughout the day, we didn’t have the best qualifying, but the lap times were right there with the top guys. For us, it was more about riding smart and picking the right lines. I struggled a little bit in practice, but then in the Heat, I actually rode really well. I just tried to keep that same mentality going into the Main Event. I had Eli (Tomac) right there but made a few mistakes. We ended up sixth and AP (Aaron Plessinger) was right behind me. So hats off to him. He rode excellent. I feel like we made a lot of improvements with the bike and are getting it in the right direction. I’m really excited for Indy. It’s going to be a completely different track, dirt, and everything. I’m really looking forward to that and to see how that goes. But for now, I’m going to go home and watch some football, get a couple of days off, and get ready for the week.”
Aaron Plessinger carded P7 ahead of Jason Anderson and Zach Osborne while Justin Brayton rounded out the top ten.
Aaron Plessinger – P7
“I think it was a better day overall than Houston 2. It started out well. I qualified 10th and then in the Heat race, I got an okay start. I got passed by (Jason) Anderson and kind of got stuck there. I didn’t really go forward until the last lap, and then it was too late. The track was really, really sticky going out for the Main. I got a great start in fourth until a few guys got me and I went backward a little bit. The whole race I was feeling good, but towards the middle, I kind of tightened up a little bit. I think I just need to keep charging. Overall, it was a good day and I’m happy with it. We’ll keep moving forward. The next race is Indy, a hometown race for me. We’re going to bring the heat.”
Justin Brayton – P10
“Its easy to be disappointed with a 10th after you’ve just finished in 3rd the race before but you need to put it in perspective. I am three points from 4th and 9 points from 1st and its been 6 years since I sat inside of the top 5 this early on in the championship. Its a really positive position to be in. We are competitive and I am confident we will be racing for more podiums.”
Dylan Ferrandis – P12
“It was a difficult track. Nothing really crazy, but it was hard to do everything correctly and make no mistakes. We struggled a little bit with the bike and tried some different settings today. We wanted to give it a chance and try some stuff, but it didn’t work. We came back to what we had at the last race, but I just didn’t feel good on the bike today. I was a little tired from the past two races with the lack of training this winter. It was a hard day. In the Main, I was doing what I could to finish in the top 10 but then I crashed alone at the end of the race and lost some places. It was not a good day of racing for me. We’re going to try to rebound at the next race.”
The 450 Championship is so close at the top.Ken Roczen leaves Houston as the series leader but only by a single-point over Cooper Webb and Justin Barcia, who are both tied on 59-points.Defending champ Eli Tomac is currently fourth on 54-points followed by Adam Cianciarulo, Justin Brayton and Malcolm Stewart with that triumvirate all on 51-points.
Before the 250 Main even got underway there had been some interesting twists and turns that unfolded over the course of practice.
Austin Forkner went down heavily during practice and would take no more part in this third round of the season.Many had Forkner down as the favourite to take out the 250 East series this season but that now looks unlikely. It looked as though the Kawasaki rider injured his shoulder in the tumble and was in a great deal of pain and anguish.
RJ Hampshire was another rider in title contention that would take no points from this round. The Husqvarna rider crashed in qualifying and did not make his Heat or the Main after injuring his wrist.
Jett Lawrence had been second fastest in qualifying but had a big crash in the whoops during the session that had many fearing that he would not be back on the bike again this round, or perhaps might have hurt himself badly enough to actually be out for a few rounds. But not only did the youngster front up on the gates for the opening Heat race, he won it.
Christian Craig won his Heat ahead of Max Vohland and Colt Nichols. The series leader was showcasing some great speed through the whoops sections and looked on fire.
250 East Championship leader Christian Craig got away well in the 250 Main ahead of fellow Star Yamaha rider Colt Nichols and that pair cleared out somewhat from their pursuers over the first five minutes of the moto.
Michael Mosiman was in third place ahead of Jo Shimoda before Jett Lawrence moved up to take that fourth place from the Kawasaki man in what was a determinedly forceful move. Fellow youngster Max Vohland was again looking impressive in sixth.
At the halfway mark it was still Craig up front from Nichols and Mosiman third.
Jett Lawrence and Jo Shimoda eventually got around Mosiman while up front Christian Craig and Colt Nichols were tussling over P1.
Colt Nichols eventually got the better of Craig to secure the victory while Jett Lawrence was on the podium in third, but 16-seconds behind the race winner.
Colt Nichols – P1
“It felt just like another day at the Yamaha test track out in California with me and Christian just kind of trading laps. I got a good start. I’ve been struggling with my starts all day, so I’m glad we turned that around. I really just tried to be patient. I knew where he was a little faster, so I tried to pick up on a few lines. It felt great to finally get a win. It has been a while so I’m going to soak it in. It’s awesome to have the red plate, me and Christian will be sharing it so that is cool for the team. I’m looking forward to Indy and ready to keep the momentum rolling.”
Christian Craig – P2
“Houston 3 went pretty well. I qualified fastest again which was great. In the Heat, I don’t know how but I was in third gear so I had a terrible start. I worked my way up from almost last to win it. In the Main, I led most of the laps but Colt was right on me the whole time. He ended up getting me with a few laps to go. I was bummed but nothing I can do now but learn from my mistakes and keep trying to get better.”
Jett Lawrence – P3
“The day wasn’t bad. I qualified strong; I was a little sore after my crash in the last qualifying session, but I felt okay in the heat race and knew I had to improve in the main event. Unfortunately, I messed up the start and had to make my way through the pack, and by the time I got into third the leaders were gone. I’m happy to salvage a podium, but we’re much better than that. I’m looking forward to Indy, to get back on top and start chipping away at these six points.”
Jo Shimoda – P4
“My main event start was better than the first two rounds, but I should have made a few better decisions on the first two corners because it cost me a few spots,. I did feel much better this race from the start, but I couldn’t get comfortable in the whoops and it was causing a little arm pump. It takes a lot of energy out of you so that will be something I need to fix for the next race.”
Michael Mosiman – P5
“I was just a little bit off all day but I brought it together for the night show. In the heat race I was really frustrated; I feel like Jett kind of walked away from me. I made a couple little mistakes but I think I had the speed. In the Main Event, I made some adjustments, got a better start and then there was chaos. I was in third and things were looking good, I got into some lapped traffic and Jett caught up to me and absolutely plowed me. There is blood in the water and it’s going to be an exciting season.”
While there are 17 rounds in this Monster Energy Supercross Championship, the 250 category is split into two separate championships, 250 East and 250 West. This was the third round of what will be a nine-round 250 East Championship. Colt Nichols leaves Houston tied on points at the top of the table alongside team-mate Christian Craig. Aussie teenager Jett Lawrence is six-points behind that leading duo with an eight-point buffer over Jo Shimoda.
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