Hunter Lawrence's season starts in San Diego

SAN DIEGO, California: Hunter Lawrence hopes the third time will be a charm as his 2024 Monster Energy Supercross season begins in earnest this week at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, California.

A crash not of his making in Lawrence's season opening heat at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California and last week's mudder at Oracle Park in San Francisco contribute to a slow start in 2024 but his points position is of little concern for the 250 SX East and Pro Motocross champion.

Lawrence just needs some clean, dry laps on the track in order to start the slow climb toward a top-10 or -five position in the standings - something that is still well within reach.

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"(San Francisco) was an extremely rare occasion of events on the track and how it developed," Lawrence told NBC Sports while waiting to practice on Media Day for Round 3. "No one jumped anything - the whole main event. It was just first gear.

"When's the last time the riders never got out of first gear. It was pretty special, and honestly I was just laughing at myself in some sections of the track. We're the best in the world and we look like amateurs in first gear, paddling through stuff. It was pretty comical to some of us."

Even though there was not a lot to learn in those muddy conditions, Lawrence still got more out of Round 2 than in the opener because of the track time.

Chase Sexton and Aaron Plessinger are the only two riders to sweep the top five this season. Dylan Ferrandis has come close, but the majority of the field has alternated strong and disappointing runs. Even after missing the main in Anaheim, Lawrence is 15th in the standings with nearly all of the riders ahead of him struggling to finish on the cusp or outside the top 10 in at least one of the two rounds.

Instead of giving up two races, Lawrence is effectively down just one.

And there is still a lot of racing to be done. Heat races may not pay points, but they contribute to rider experience and Lawrence needs his reps against the 450 division superstars.

Realistically, Lawrence needs the remainder of the field to continue and show the high degree of parity that has resulted in eight different heat winners and two unique round winners.

Lawrence knows that he doesn't hold anyone's fate in his hand but his own.

"Myself, is the only factor I can control," Lawrence said. "I go out there and do the best I can to give 100% Hunter Lawrence - the most performance out of myself and that is all I can control.

"Anaheim 1, arguably a bit out of my control and 'shit happens', so onto the next. San Fran weather. Everyone's delt the same cards so you just have to do the best you can, and we'll continue to do the same this weekend."

With a 50 percent chance of rain still predicted for opening ceremonies, the field has to accept that Saturday could prove to have a third set of track conditions as the course starts out dry for preliminary action and then gradually deteriorates. That will contribute to Lawrence's mental notebook as he takes one more step in his 450 career and is likely to move up several positions in the standings. After all, 10th-place is only 12 points away.

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