Features 17 Aug 2021

Conversation: Jett Lawrence

Pro Motocross 250MX title prospect on returning to the top step at Unadilla.

With 2-1 results, Australian Jett Lawrence returned to the top step of the podium with an overall victory at Unadilla, keeping the 18-year-old right in contention for the 2021 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 250MX crown. The Team Honda HRC rider spoke to the media post-race in this Conversation.

Image: Octopi Media.

Jett, is this a kind of a race where the result will give you the mental edge to win this championship?  

No, not really, I mean it’s obviously nice but I think a champion always thinks about the end goal and I just came in feeling pretty good because I really like this track – it’s more of a European track with all of the ruts and that. But no, I don’t think this has changed much of my mindset. I’m still gonna try my hardest and make sure I have a run for the championship and even if I don’t win it, I’m gonna try and make [Justin] Cooper’s life like hell on the track, but no it doesn’t change much, to be honest.

You obviously got the ball rolling today, staying up front getting the moto win and the overall win, kind of staying out of trouble. Was there anything that you did differently during the break, did you focus on one thing or can you talk about anything you did that may have lead to this? 

No, not really. I just stuck to my same program – the program that Johnny [O’Mara] gives us is pretty good, so I kept sticking to that. My starts got better over the break which was good, and yeah like I said this kept me out of trouble and was actually able to have a good fight with the front runners. It was definitely really nice to get those starts.

Is there anything you actually did for the starts or is it just a matter of don’t over-focus on it and just keep trying and eventually it will work? 

I think it was just not believing in myself just knowing what you need to do and like kind of vision it, I think that really helped because the last few rounds I’ve been overthinking it so much and I keep screwing myself because I wanted to get such a good start. I think I just relaxed more and envisioned what I needed to do and it just kinda paid off.

Your first moto wasn’t terrible, but Cooper straight up beat you in that one, the second one you turned it up to another level and beat Justin by a minute. Was there anything you changed in between or just with the track being that rough you started feeling more comfortable? 

Yeah, that first moto Justin rode really well, I had some different lines and he had his lines sorted from the very first lap and he stuck with them every lap. I think he had a better and better flow throughout the race and I had some different lines, trying to see which lines could be faster. Those lines ended up blowing out so I was trying to find some other lines without trying to follow and yeah Justin just got away. Once you get that bit of a gap it’s really hard to try and close that in because we are all so close in speed. In the second one, I had really good lines that I was able to stick to, and because it was a little drier the ruts stayed a lot more. I just felt really good in that second one, I felt really strong and it kind of worked out in my favour.

Image: Octopi Media.

Can you talk about what you do when you are off the moto, when you have a break like the last two weeks? Do you take time off and do something that’s not moto-related and is completely fun or is it all focused on your body and getting yourself ready for the next race? 

My break was actually pretty busy, I went back to Cali and we did Alpinestars launch and did some testing to try and critique little things to try and get just that bit more. The second week I went back to Portland and did the 2022 bike launch and rode two days there, and then ended up going back up home on Thursday and trained again. I didn’t get much time off but I played some golf with my brother, my manager and Jeremy Malott from Red Bull for my brother’s birthday and played a little bit in Portland also. I get paid to win, so I’m definitely going to keep training through that break and make sure I can come to the race and know that I did the work.

This year we are going to a lot of race tracks where it’s sort of your first time there, you haven’t been able to go there in previous years and you haven’t got a setting for your motorcycle compared to your other competitors. How is that for you seeing that track the day before for the first time and going out there and putting it together, where in years previous a lot of your competitors have raced on the track before? 

Well, actually in 2019 I raced Unadilla, Budds Creek and Ironman, and obviously Pala I know, and I did some amateur races at Hangtown. So all of these tracks are pretty familiar to be honest, there’s not really much setting changes that we have to drastically change at all. I’m looking forward to these next few races, Budds Creek is a really sick track so I’m excited to go there.

With the last couple of rounds probably not working out the way you wanted – you hadn’t won an overall since the opener – were you getting down on confidence or down overall mentally at all or did you feel like eventually things would work back out your way? 

I didn’t think I was getting down, I was just kind of getting more so frustrated in myself because I know I’m supposed to be up there with those guys and I just wasn’t giving myself the best opportunity. I was more so just disappointed in myself but I try and stick to my program that Johnny gives me and I know he’s done it and been through it many times with Ricky Carmichael winning his championships so I just stick to that and make sure I keep doing it every day. Even that just builds my confidence because I know I’m putting the work in.

You had a chance to ride a CR500 – you mentioned that Alpinestars press release that you guys did, what was that experience like, obviously it’s a step back in time and can you imagine racing one of those things today?

All I can say really is that I’m very thankful for the technology and all the mechanics and that stuff nowadays because I was scared when I first hopped on that thing, it rattled my brains out! That thing was really cool to ride, to go back then, I’m pretty sure Johnny raced them so it was really sick to kind of get a feeling of how they raced that back in the day. Whoever raced those back in the day, you guys are crazy man that thing’s wild.