Vurb’s 2023 Team Previews: Honda HRC

Welcome to the offseason and our new ongoing “Team Previews” column. Every week from now until the Monster Energy Supercross season starts in January we will be profiling a big team in the sport. We’ll go through the changes that have been made, analyze results, and give each team a grade on all of their offseason moves. This week we have HRC Honda and you will find the full schedule below.

Who’s In:
#18 Jett Lawrence – 250SX/450MX
#23 Chase Sexton – 450SX/MX
#45 Colt Nichols – 450SX
#96 Hunter Lawrence – 250SX/MX
#TBD Chance Hymas – 250MX

Who’s Out:
#94 Ken Roczen

Last season’s Supercross Results:
Jett Lawrence- 1st 250SX East
Chase Sexton- 6th 450SX
Colt Nichols – Injured/Did not race.
Hunter Lawrence- 2nd 250SX West

Last Season’s Motocross Results:
Jett Lawrence – 1st 250MX
Chase Sexton – 2nd 450MX
Colt Nichols – Injured/Did not race.
Hunter Lawrence – 3rd 250SX

Offseason Grade:  B

The Rundown:
It pained me not to give Honda a better grade this offseason. How could I give them anything other than an A since they will be in the mix for wins and championships all 2023? Well, the loss of Ken Roczen in the program is the biggest issue. Any time a team loses a big superstar like Roczen, it’s a big blow to them. Kenny is the most profitable well known rider in the industry at the moment. Roczen chose to race the World Supercross Championship and in return Honda said you can’t sit with us anymore. Now, here we are with Roczen riding every brand trying to weigh his options for next season.

Now, losing Kenny is a big deal, but with a team of superstars like Chase Sexton and Jett and Hunter Lawrence, it’s not really the end of the world for HRC Honda. They had a great run with Roczen, had plenty of wins, but never were able to get that elusive championship(s) that they originally hired him to win. For 2023 all eyes will be on Chase Sexton to bring home both 450SX/MX championships for the brand…but wait a minute! Jett will be riding a 250 indoors (the obvious favorite to win) and he will be stepping up to the 450 outdoors. Even in Jett’s first outdoor season on the big bike he’s already a favorite to win that title too. So, with Chase and Jett duking it out for the top dog at HRC this summer where does that set us up for 2024? Sexton has been rumored to other teams for 24’, but in his mind he has to think with Roczen gone that he’s now the top dog on the team. No matter how it pans out, having Sexton and Jett as your 450 team is quite scary for other teams in the pits, especially since Tomac is SX only now.

Meanwhile, 2023 is shaping up to be the year of Hunter Lawrence. If he’s going to have a championship year in the 250 class then it’s going to come this season. He’s one of the favorites to win indoors and out. With another year of experience under his belt, Hunter could be on another level when the season kicks off. 

With Roczen’s spot up for grabs, the team brought in Colt Nichols for a Supercross only deal. For Colt this is a perfect opportunity to show what he can do on a 450. He’s a 250SX Champion, so you know that he’s got the skills, but sitting out a year with injuries is a big setback no matter who it happens to. Team consultant and legend Trey Canard told me that he thinks that Colt is going to do great on this bike next season and who am I to disagree with Trey? I believe him. The biggest goal for Colt this season is to just be in all the main events and make it through the season injury free. If he can do that then he will be in the top ten mix. He’s coming in under the radar and doesn’t have any pressure on him, so that could be a dangerous combination.

With Jett moving up to the 450, it’s time for Chance Hymas to make the leap into the Factory truck full-time. The highly touted amateur will make his debut with the team at the start of the Nationals I believe. With the HRC Honda program backing him he will have a good transition into the pro ranks and will give him the perfect starting point to be a race winner in the coming years.Thanks for reading my series of team previews for the coming season. If you’d like to talk about these or any of the other stories that I’ve written you can email me at [email protected] You can also reach me on Twitter/Instagram: @troydogvurb.

Team Preview Schedule:
10/27 – Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/ GASGAS Factory Race Team

11/3 – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing

11/9 – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Team

11/16 – Monster Energy Kawasaki Factory Racing

11/25 – HRC Honda

11/30 – Bar X Suzuki

12/7 – Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki

12/14 – H.E.P. Motorsports Suzuki

12/21 – Muc-Off FXR ClubMX Yamaha

12/28- Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

1/3 – Team Solitaire

Written by Troy Dog

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