JETT LAWRENCE INTERVIEW: 17-YEAR-OLD AUSTRALIAN STAR HEADS INTO THE 2020 SPRING CREEK NATIONAL SEARCHING FOR HIS FIRST PODIUM
Some people refer to Geico Honda’s Jett Lawrence as “The Golden Child.” Maybe like Adam Cianciarulo, and Austin Forkner before him, Jett Lawrence seems to have everyone’s attention. But, with that stated, he has earned it. At just 17 years old, Lawrence is a podium contender in AMA Supercross and in the AMA Nationals. His seventh overall in the 2020 Lucas Oil National Motocross Championship point standings does not reflect his skills. Jett is the real deal, as we witnessed at RedBud #2, he was fighting for the podium spot in both motos and he finished 250 Moto 1 in third place. In 250 Moto 2, Jett was running in fifth with a great shot at earning a podium overall finish, but unfortunately Ty Masterpool fell right in front of him and he had nowhere to go but to crash into him. Just after the double header at RedBud, we spoke with the Australian about his Outdoor season so far, about his bike issues at Loretta’s and about the expectations many have for him.
By JIM KIMBALL
JETT, YOU HAVE BEEN RIDING FANTASTIC. THE RESULTS MAY NOT SHOW THAT, ESPECIALLY WITH TWO DNF’S DUE TO BIKE ISSUES AT LORETTA’S #2, BUT HOW DO YOU FEEL? I feel awesome! Loretta Lynn’s was not the best with two DNFs due to bike failure, but I could have ridden the bike a lot nicer and not punished it as much, but I feel good. I know that I have the pace of the top runners, and I think it showed a bit this weekend. I can get a podium, it is possible, but I just have to make sure that I am feeling it that day and make sure that I push through it and give 100 percent basically. These top three guys are really fast, especially Dylan Ferrandis, and I have to make sure that I am on my game when I am passing them.
YOU MUST HAVE BEEN IN A TOUGH SITUATION AT LORETTA LYNNS #2; YOU HAVE TO SAVE THE BIKE BUT ALSO YOU WANT TO WIN. Yes, if I got a good start and a holeshot it would have been good because you can just ride the bike nicely and not destroy it. My first moto was good, but my goggles got messed up, so I ended up going back for replacements. But with then coming back through the pack, just getting roosted, the bike was getting full of mud and overheating. When you are up front, you do not have all that roosting to worry about. It would definitely would have helped if I got a better start, but I was trying to come through the pack and riding hard because I wanted to win. It definitely puts a little strain on the bike.
IT REALLY SEEMS LIKE YOU HAVE EVERYTHING. YOU HAVE FITNESS, RAW SPEED, THE NATURAL TALENT, AND YOU GET GOOD STARTS. I did have a lot of experience racing, but not as much as any of these other guys. They are a lot older and wiser with some things. I have a lot more to learn with that, but my speed is there, and my fitness is good. I feel strong on the bike and the bike is good. I just need to make sure my race craft is good.
“I actually felt more relaxed after leading (at Anaheim 2 SX), because before, I was like “I am not in the front. I don’t know if I have the speed.””
LET’S GO BACK TO SUPERCROSS FOR A MINUTE. YOU WERE BATTLING FOR THE WIN AT ANAHEIM 2, AND THEN CRASHED. DO YOU PUT HIGHER EXPECTATIONS ON YOURSELF NOW? I actually felt more relaxed after leading, because before, I was like “I am not in the front. I don’t know if I have the speed.” But at that time, I knew that I had the speed. Dylan was catching, but it was only because he could see me when I had my gap the same as the previous lap. It actually took some weight off my shoulders after that because I knew I have the speed to win. I just wanted to make sure that I execute from my start to my laps, to the end of the race.
“I don’t really care if I am “Rookie of the Year,” I want to be the best in the class.”
MANY BELIEVE YOU CAN BE THE NEXT RICKY CARMICHAEL, OR JAMES STEWART, DO YOU FEEL THE HYPE? Well, I am hoping for that. I am definitely working to be the next Ricky Carmichael. Surprisingly, I truly do not feel that hype though. Yes, my fan base is massive now, compared to what it was, but I don’t focus on it too much. I don’t really feel it when I am at the races because I am so focused on what I came here to do.
I KNOW YOU RACED THE IRONMAN NATIONAL LAST YEAR, BUT NOT REDBUD, DOES RETURNING TO A TRACK THAT YOU PREVIOUSLY RACED HELP YOU? It does a little bit. Obviously, the track has not really changed that much from last year, so it always helps a little bit. I know mostly the jumps now because the jumps are massive here, so it always helps. I can get into a groove earlier than other people that just learned the track, so I would have a little advantage.
WITH A COUPLE DNF’S THIS SEASON, YOU ARE A BIT DOWN IN POINTS. DO YOU KEEP TRACK OF POINTS AT THIS TIME? No, not really. I am not really thinking about it too much because I know if I can just go 1-1-1-1-1, and so on for the rest of the season, I will get up there for sure. I am just going to try my best at every round, every race, give it 100 percent and obviously at the end of the season, I will just see how far I go to. A top five hopefully, or maybe even a top three. It is probably going to be really hard for me, because I had that double DNF at Loretta Lynn’s.
YOU MAY BE THE TOP DOG AS FAR AS ROOKIE PRO’S, DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD? It is actually pretty meaningless to me. I don’t really care if I am “Rookie of the Year,” I want to be the best in the class.
IS IT POSSIBLE FOR YOU TO GET AN OVERALL WIN IN YOUR ROOKIE SEASON AS A PRO? It is possible, for sure, it is not impossible. I have to be sure that I am really on the gas that day. If I am on it, I know I have a good chance. Dylan is not going to make it easy for me, but who knows, he might already have a huge point lead from previous rounds. He might just think “okay, I am just going to play it smart here,” but it is possible.