|The ninth round of the 2021 AMA Supercross series was also the 51st annual Daytona Supercross at Daytona International Speedway, where Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen took a heat-race win before charging to a fourth-place finish in the 450SX main event, while teammate Chase Sexton finished eighth in his return from injury. In the 250SX West class, Hunter Lawrence also earned a heat-race win (his first) before finishing in sixth in the main event.
Roczen enjoyed a strong main-event start aboard his CRF450R but was pushed wide in the second turn and lost several positions as a result. The German charged up to fourth place by the third lap but made a mistake in a rhythm section on lap 12 and lost a spot to Malcolm Stewart. Roczen regained the position four laps later and challenged Cooper Webb for third, but he ran out of time before the 18th and final lap. Roczen maintains the lead in the title chase, with a two-point edge on Webb. Meanwhile, Sexton was happy to be back in action after missing the last six rounds with a shoulder injury, but he struggled to re-find his pace. Following a decent main-event start, he lost several positions and settled for eighth place.
In the 250SX West main event, Lawrence completed the first lap in fourth place but went down in the sand section on lap 2 and slipped back to 10th. The young Australian secured seventh on lap 11 and moved up one more spot on the 14thand final lap.
- With all four Team Honda HRC riders having home bases in Florida, the squad tested and prepared south of Daytona during the week following the Orlando 2 round.
- Tickets were sold-out for the event, where many experiences were modified in accordance with COVID-19 protocols. The garages, paddock and pit road were closed to fans, as were the post-race activities.
- The media day riding session for Daytona took place at the speedway on Friday, with Team Honda HRC riders Ken Roczen, Chase Sexton and Hunter Lawrence all participating.
- For his return to action, Sexton wore custom NASCAR-themed Alpinestars gear to race under the lights at the World Center of Racing.
- Track viewing was postponed due to weather in accordance with the speedway’s rule; for every lightning strike within 8 miles of the speedway, there is a mandatory 30-minute operational hold. Free-practice sessions were canceled, and the qualifying schedule was revised, giving each group one sighting lap during its first session.
- Roczen posted the fastest 450SX time, at 1’08.019”, and Sexton was sixth-fastest, with a best of 1’08.808”. SmarTop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda riders Benny Bloss, Vince Friese and Broc Tickle were 13th-, 14th– and 18th-best, respectively, with times of 1’10.144”, 1’10.251” and 1’11.003”. Muc-Off Honda rider Justin Brayton missed his second race, as he continues to recover from a practice-crash injury, but his teammates Mitchell Oldenburg and Shane McElrath had the 17th– and 19th-best times. TiLube Honda rider Grant Harlan had a 24th-best at 1’12.966”.
- In the 250SX West class, Lawrence posted the fifth-fastest time at 1’10.486”. Muc-Off Honda’s Mitchell Harrison was 13th, while FXR/Chaparral Honda riders Carson Mumford and Coty Shock were 15th and 20th, respectively.
- The 250SX West class saw Lawrence ride to a flawless win after a restart in heat 2, while Harrison was 17th. Shock finished eighth in heat 1.
- Roczen took the holeshot in 450SX heat 2 and rode to a solid win, while Bloss, Oldenburg, McElrath and Austin Politelli were sixth, 11th, 13th and 20th, respectively. Sexton finished fourth in heat 1, while Friese, Tickle and Gardner were sixth, seventh and 15th.
- In the second qualifying session, Sexton made a mistake on the wall jump and landed on the following jump face. Though his injuries—a broken tooth and hole in his bottom lip—did not keep him from racing, he did require stitches before the heat race.
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