Jett Lawrence proved worthy of the hyperbole that surrounded his rookie Pro Motocross season. He was rarely challenged for the win in 11 rounds and never seriously in jeopardy of failing to win an overall. He ended the 2023 with the first perfect season for a rookie in Motocross.
As the outdoor season gives way to the three-round playoffs, it is fair to question to ask how he will run on the hybrid tracks. He was strong enough in the 250 class to win the 250 East title in 2022 and the West division in 2023, but he was not with the same level of perfection then as in this year's Motocross campaign. With the unique points' system in play for the SuperMotocross World Championship, a bobble at the wrong time could cost him.
Meanwhile, Chase Sexton is the defending Monster Energy Supercross champion, and is undoubtedly telling himself that gives him a distinct advantage. If not for the buzzsaw that was his teammate Lawrence and three missed rounds to injury, he would have won several overalls this year instead of scoring podiums in all but one of the races he started. Sexton has not failed to score a top-five since Supercross Round 9 at Indy.
Having made all of the rounds this season Aaron Plessinger has more top-fives than Sexton, but an eighth-place finish at High Point was enough to drop him below Dylan Ferrandis in Motocross championship points. The good news is that he enters the SMX Playoffs seeded second and will start the battle with 22 points. Unfortunately, he scored only five top-fives in 14 Supercross rounds. He's known as a strong rider on the hybrid tracks, but failed to finish better than sixth at Daytona and Atlanta.
Jason Anderson swept the top 10 in the seven rounds of the outdoor season he entered and scored two podiums in the last four races. That gives him some momentum entering the playoffs, but he hasn't really looked comfortable on the bike and it's been difficult to string two motos together. The next three races revert to the Supercross formula of heats and features, so he really only needs to get hot at the right time to be included in the title conversation.
Still struggling with a nerve issue in his hand, Adam Cianciarulo has nevertheless finished in the top 10 in every feature or overall since Indy. His consistency keeps him near the front of the pack, but Cianciarulo will not be happy until he consistently podiums and challenges for a win. With one week off between Motocross and SuperMotocross, he will have a chance to rehab his injury.
Rider (SMX points rank)
1. Jett Lawrence (3)
Last Week (gain/loss)
Hunter Lawrence spotted the competition two rounds with a ninth-place overall finish at RedBud and a 13th the following week at Southwick. Both of these disappointing rounds came with a DNF in one of the motos. He finished fifth in the final round at Ironman but in that race, he felt the need to race at 90 percent to ensure he did not crash and hand the title to Justin Cooper. Honda won all five regular season titles in Supercross and Motocross; Lawrence is favored to give them one more in SuperMotocross.
Cooper missed High Point after being injured at the start of that weekend, but it bears noting that Lawrence also failed to score points in two motos. As a result, the two title contenders were racing on an even playing field. If Cooper and his fans can take consolation in anything, it is that he scored one more top-five overall finish than Lawrence and an equal number of podiums.
Jo Shimoda saved his best for last and won both motos at Ironman. Along with Haiden Deegan's performance at Washougal, that was the only time this was accomplished in the frenetic 250 series. Shimoda wasn't perfect in 2023 but he never finished worst than seventh and closed out the year with three consecutive top-fives.
Max Vohland moved up a position as Levi Kitchen fell four. This was a learning season for the third-year rider who missed almost all of the 2022 Supercross season to injury. It was important to get all of the laps in and he did that with top-10s in all but two rounds. Seeded seventh in SuperMotocross points, he faces an uphill battle in the championship, but his goal remains to same: to learn all he can on his KTM.
Tom Vialle surged at the right time with top-five finishes in the last two Pro Motocross rounds. Perhaps more importantly, he scored his second podium at Ironman to give the French rider some momentum entering the playoffs. Seeded sixth, he is not in much better shape overall than Vohland and the hybrid tracks will be unfamiliar to the rider who cut his teeth in the Motocross World Championship, but since this is the first year they've featured the SMX Playoffs, no one really knows who is favored.
Rider (SMX points rank)
1. Hunter Lawrence (1)
Last Week (gain/loss)
* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner in Supercross and overall winner in Motocross. It awards 90 points for each Moto, Heat and Triple Crown win. The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of starters in the field until the last place rider in each event receives three points, (five in fields of 22 riders). The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days.
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 27 BUDDS CREEK: Hunter Lawrence reclaims top of 250s
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 26 UNADILLA: Jett Lawrence clinches MX title in style
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 25 WASHOUGAL: Haiden Deegan improves two spots in 250
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 24 SPRING CREEK: Chase Sexton closes competitive gap
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 23 SOUTHWICK: Halfway home and Jett Lawrence is still undefeated
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 21 HIGH POINT: Lawrence brothers still perfect in overall finishes
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 20 THUNDER VALLEY: Lawrence brothers dominance continues
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 19 HANGTOWN: Jett Lawrence pulls away from the field
POWER RANKINGS AFTER MX OPENER AT FOX RACEWAY: Jett Lawrence debuts in first place
POWER RANKINGS AFTER SX FINALE AT SALT LAKE CITY: Chase Sexton ends with win
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 15 AT NASHVILLE: Eli Tomac back on top
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 14 AT NEW JERSEY: The top 20 settle in
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 13 AT ATLANTA: Justin Barcia leapfrogs the Big 3
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 12 AT GLENDALE: Eli Tomac gains momentum
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 11 AT SEATTLE: Cooper Webb, Eli Tomac overtake Chase Sexton
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 10 AT DETROIT: Chase Sexton narrowly leads Webb
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 8 AT DAYTONA: Chase Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 7 AT ARLINGTON: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Eli Tomac
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 6 AT OAKLAND: Perfect night keeps Eli Tomac first
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 5 AT TAMPA: Chase Sexton, Cooper Webb close in
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 4 AT HOUSTON: Eli Tomac rebounds from A2 crash, retakes lead
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 3 AT ANAHEIM 2: Consistency makes Ken Roczen king
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 2 AT SAN DIEGO: Ken Roczen moves up, Chase Sexton falls
POWER RANKINGS AFTER WEEK 1 AT ANAHEIM 1: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence gain an early advantage