Two-time 250 outdoors champion looking ahead to premier class.
With his proper 450 race debut expected to align with the start of the outdoors season in 2023, the anticipated timing of Jett Lawrence’s advancement to the premier class has been all but formally announced.
The younger Lawrence brother captured the 250SX East regional title in Monster Energy Supercross before dominating the 250MX season outdoors.
Following his Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship triumph last season, Lawrence’s ascension to the 450 ranks has seen few interruptions. However, the 19-year-old’s near future came further into focus as the Fox Raceway finale approached and the Team Australia Motocross of Nations (MXoN) line-up was revealed.
During the Fox Raceway 2 National Staging Area Pre-Race Show produced by American Motocross, Lawrence confirmed the planned start of his 450 career will follow just one more Supercross season on a 250.
“In between Washougal and Unadilla, I did,” Lawrence said, responding to a question from television analyst James Stewart about acquiring seat time on a Honda CRF450R.
“I rode the 450 a lot, then I probably did two days on the 250. And then after this weekend, all next week, we’re going to be testing more motor stuff and more suspension stuff on the 450 to get it more dialed.”
During multiple podium interviews throughout his outdoors campaign, it was clear that Lawrence was thinking ahead to competing on a 450. Additionally, he’ll contest the Open class at MXoN on a 450, with the explicit goal of getting a head start on preparing to race the bike full-time.
Even for the current standout rider in the small-bike class, the transition to the 450 hasn’t been seamless.
“It’s crazy,” Lawrence said. “My 250 suspension feels amazing — I’m so comfortable with that. I know what it does. We took the exact same setting from that and put the forks and shock onto the 450, and it was horrible. It reacted totally different; I had no idea what it was going to do.”
Beyond bike set-up, Lawrence is already thinking about adjusting his riding style to get the most out of the Honda CRF450R.
“I was still, like on a 250, leaning back,” he said. “I almost looped out a couple times.
“Once I got more of that 450 style — staying further forward, being smooth on the throttle, and not just dumping the clutch and letting it go — at the end of the week, I ended up getting a rideable setting I was pretty happy with. But we’ve still got some more things we want to test, especially with the engine, the ECU, and that stuff.”
Lawrence’s first 450 race will occur during the MXoN at Redbud on September 24–25. Fans, the industry, and his competition will watch closely, knowing his full-time debut in the premier class is hardly more than half a year out.