Motocross Statistics | Numbers at Unadilla 3

Facts and figures from round nine of the 2023 Pro Motocross season at Unadilla.

Another season of 2023 Pro Motocross is nearing its conclusion and that means that it is time to dive into more statistics, so settle down and prepare to digest many facts and figures. In this regular Vital MX feature, uncover points of interest that lurked in the shadows at Unadilla in New Berlin.

  • Jett Lawrence is the 450MX champion with a superb run of nine overall victories, plus eighteen moto victories. Lawrence has been the fastest qualifier at eight of the nine rounds too. Yes, qualification at High Point remains the single blemish on his impeccable record and it came at the hands of a wildcard in the form of Ken Roczen. The question that remains now is whether that will hold status as the only blip when the checkered flag waves in Indiana at the end of the month.
Photo
Octopi Media
  • Lawrence was the star and so allow us to rattle off some of his numbers before moving onto the rest of the field. Two hundred and sixty-four out of a possible two hundred and eighty-five laps have been led by the CRF450R athlete (ninety-two percent of the 450MX laps in 2023 Pro Motocross). Lawrence has the strongest average starting spot and qualification rank too – he is sat on an average of first in each of those divisions.
  • It was Chase Sexton who kept close to Lawrence in the timed qualification session; he qualified second for the sixth time in seven starts this term. Prior to Unadilla, he had qualified in fourth more than any other position in his Pro Motocross career (twelve). Unadilla was the twelfth time that he has qualified second, however, so fourth may not be the mode for much longer. Notably, he has taken pole position on ten occasions.
  • Sticking with the qualification theme, Adam Cianciarulo had his worst qualification result since moving into the 450MX division. Eighth was where he sat entering the motos at Unadilla – he had not qualified worse than fifth aboard the KX450 before that. How long has it been since Cianciarulo qualified worse than eighth? It was at round seven of 2016 Pro Motocross, Southwick, which was 2590 days previous and fifty-four starts ago.
  • Qualification must be a sore point for Aaron Plessinger. Although it has been mentioned that the one-lap dash is a clear weakness for him, it is seemingly not getting any better. Plessinger qualified down in eighteenth. It was the first time that he has qualified outside of the top ten this season, but it's not a position that he is that unfamiliar with. Sixteen is the number of times that he has done exactly that. Consider that he has only started thirty-two rounds in 450MX and that is not a pleasant picture.
  • Onto the races and it is of note that Lawrence did not record the fastest time in any of the five sectors in moto one, even though he won. Sexton was fastest in sectors one, two and four – Ferrandis topped the charts in the other two. Lawrence was just 00.017 adrift of Sexton's best time in the fourth sector. It was sector two where he was the furthest adrift, because his best was 00.412 slower than the time that Sexton recorded there.
Photo
Octopi Media
  • Although sector two was Lawrence's worst, quick lap to quick lap, he recorded a better average time than Sexton there in the first stint (19.038 versus 19.145). The data is somewhat skewed as no times were recorded for any rider in sectors one or two from lap nine to fifteen, but it is a necessity to work with the data that is available! It was a mistake on lap six that hampered Sexton's average time in the second sector.
  • Sexton was giving Lawrence all that he could handle early in moto one – the times support that. '23' was faster than Lawrence on four of the first eight laps, which is exposed below. Those laps came in succession, from laps two to five, and then there were five laps in a row where Lawrence was able to reclaim his advantage. Sexton responded with three quicker laps in succession, laps eleven to thirteen, and then he crashed. Odd how the momentum sat with each rider for laps at a time.

 

Jett Lawrence

Chase Sexton

Difference

Lap 2

02:15.008

02:14.959

+00.049

Lap 3

02:15.821

02:14.936

+00.885

Lap 4

02:15.071

02:14.819

+00.252

Lap 5

02:14.696

02:14.536

+00.160

Lap 6

02:16.159

02:16.163

-00.004

Lap 7

02:13.848

02:14.264

-00.416

Lap 8

02:14.517

02:14.538

-00.021

  • It was Dylan Ferrandis who mounted an unexpected charge in the laps that followed Sexton's mistake. It was on the ninth lap that Ferrandis' attack started – he was faster than Lawrence on all but one lap in the second half. The period's highlighted in the table below. Most noteworthy is that Ferrandis was the one with the best average lap of the moto (a 02:16.117 versus Lawrence's 02:16.194). This data leads this scribe to wonder what would have happened with an additional two laps.

 

Jett Lawrence

Dylan Ferrandis

Difference

Lap 9

02:15.226

02:14.902

+00.324

Lap 10

02:14.164

02:15.522

-01.358

Lap 11

02:15.947

02:14.770

+01.177

Lap 12

02:16.723

02:16.296

+00.427

Lap 13

02:18.531

02:17.437

+01.094

Lap 14

02:19.049

02:19.061

-00.012

Lap 15

02:18.175

02:15.913

+02.262

Lap 16

02:19.412

02:17.233

+02.179

  • The above makes it seem as though Sexton and Ferrandis had plenty in the tank to threaten Lawrence, and they did exactly that. Glance at the individual lap times though and it becomes apparent that '18' posted the two fastest laps of the race – his quickest was 00.416 than the best time that emerged from his competition. What's perplexing about this is that he was not the quickest in any individual sector, yet he was so effective over the course of an entire lap.
Photo
Octopi Media
  • Lawrence, Ferrandis and Sexton were the class of the field in stint one. The trio were lightyears ahead of the competition. How much so? Well, they accounted for the thirty-two quickest times in that moto. The star with the thirty-third fastest lap, Plessinger, was 02.711 slower than Lawrence, fast lap versus fast lap, which is simple fascinating. The gulf was almost identical in the second moto, so that appears to be an accurate representation of how the land lies.
  • The second moto was a Lawrence clinic, but his advantage on one lap was not as significant as in the first. Curious how that works, no? Lawrence was faster than Sexton on thirteen of the fifteen laps; the pendulum was that weighted in the '18' direction. Impressive considering the pressure that he must have felt with the title on the line. That is the sign of a true champion, no? Lawrence had an average (02:18.345) that was much quicker than Sexton (02:18.905).
  • The average times were so sporadic in moto two. Those clearly convey just how superb the elite riders are versus those who are floundering on the cusp of the top five. Peruse that table below for a visual cue but note that Plessinger (fifth) had an average that was 02.887 slower than Lawrence. Plessinger was the rider with the fourth-fastest average, despite finishing fifth in the stint. Jason Anderson (fourth in the moto) had an average that was 00.011 slower.

#18

02:18.345

#23

02:18.905

#14

02:19.664

#7

02:21.232

#21

02:21.243

#9

02:22.811

#953

02:23.520

#81

02:23.598

Photo
Octopi Media
  • In contrast to moto one, where Lawrence was not the quickest in any sector, he was the best in three of the five in moto two (those being the first three). It was sector one where '18' was dominant – he had the three quickest times, and his best was 00.246 quicker than anyone else. Sexton and Anderson were the fastest in sectors four and five, in the interest of full clarity. Lawrence ended second in sector four and fourth in sector five.
  • An interesting note to emerge from Unadilla is Sexton's 450MX average leapt from fifty-three percent to fifty-four percent. '23' has had twenty podiums in thirty-seven starts aboard a bigger bike. Unadilla was his twenty-fifth podium across both divisions, because he only secured five trophies in thirty-two starts. Another random fact is that Sexton's most common result in 450MX, both overall and in motos, is second.
  • Adam Cianciarulo has just finished his twenty-fourth event as a 450MX athlete, which is the equivalent of two 'full' seasons; he has missed eighteen rounds since moving into the premier division. With just one podium across the first nine races, his podium percentage has taken a hit and dropped from fifty-three percent to thirty-eight percent. Unadilla marked his fifteenth top five in the 450MX division and that matched his 250MX total.
  • Who secured a season-best finish at round nine of Pro Motocross? Phil Nicoletti (eighth), Bryce Shelly (tenth), Jeremy Hand (eleventh), Anton Gole (sixteenth) and Ryder Floyd (nineteenth) achieved that. It is still a shock that so few riders have secured season-best results recently, but that is a testament to how much weaker the field was at the very beginning. A lot of strong names have been added in the last two months!
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