Craig Salvages 11th at Foxborough Supercross2018-04-23 10:26
Foxborough, Massachusetts, played host to round 15 of the AMA Supercross series, where Team Honda HRC’s Christian Craig overcame a crash on the opening lap of the main event to turn in an 11th place finish. Craig launched his CRF450R out of the starting gate with the holeshot and early lead, but the Californian made a mistake on the opening lap, landing on some trackside Tuff Blox before hitting the ground. He remounted and rejoined the race in 19thplace. Craig began chipping away at his deficit and advanced to 11thby the checkered flag.
For the second time this season, riders and teams were on a daytime schedule due to the Foxborough Supercross airing live on the Fox network. The program started four hours earlier than normal, with track walk taking place at 6:30 a.m. and the racing being completed by 6 p.m. “The early schedule is kind of rough,” Christian Craig said. “It’s nice being done earlier in the evening, but waking up and getting to the track so early isn’t fun, especially for those of us who are on West Coast time—it’s basically 3:30 a.m. I definitely drank a good amount of coffee this morning!”
During the morning qualifying practice, Craig was 10thquickest with 55.165” time, which was secured in the day’s second session. Smartop/Bullfrog Spa/MotoConcept’s Justin Brayton was once again the top Red Rider, landing eighth overall with a 54.709” lap.
Brayton and Craig were both slotted in 450SX heat 1, and they launched their CRF450R race machines down the start straight in fourth and fifth places, respectively. Craig made a mistake on the second lap, losing one position. He maintained sixth through the remainder of the race, transferring directly into the main event. Despite being under pressure for much of the second half of the heat, Brayton stayed cool and collected, crossing the finish in fourth.
The Foxborough track posed an interesting challenge for riders, as the conditions changed substantially from qualifying practice to the evening program. “It was like a completely different track than what we had earlier,” Craig said after his heat race. “In practice, there was way more traction. The dirt was softer and it was really rutted. Now it basically went from a normal East Coast track to something we’d see on the West Coast—super dry and slippery.”
Race mechanics often build a close bond with the riders they work with, which could make things strange when they must work with a fill-in rider. Although Rich Simmons and Cole Seely have been working together for nearly 10 years, Simmons also has a close relationship with Christian Craig. “I don’t approach working with a fill-in rider any different than I would if it was Cole, but yes, it is different, especially if you don’t have any relationship with the rider,” Simmons said. “However, I’ve worked with and around Christian since 2010, so I know him. He’s a friend and I’ve been around him in racing, so I know his personality on and off the track. That makes it easy for me to work with him. Obviously, we all wish Cole were here racing, but Christian is here and wants to get better, so when you give him information, he applies it. I’m having a lot of fun with him.”
In the 250SX East class, GEICO Honda’s Jeremy Martin dominated the competition most of the day, posting the fastest time in qualifying before nabbing the win in 250SX heat 2. It looked as though the Minnesotan was going to continue his recent hot streak, but an unfortunate crash on the first lap of the main event left him dead last. He remounted his CRF250R and began hammering out blazing-fast laps as he charged through the pack for the remainder of the 17-lap race, taking the checkered flag in an impressive fourth—a mere219seconds off the podium. Martin’s fastest lap time of 55.183” was unmatched by the competition. He currently sits third in the championship standings with one round remaining.
This Saturday, Team Honda HRC will take on the penultimate round of the 2018 AMA Supercross series in Salt Lake City. On Friday, Craig and GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton will make an appearance at Honda World to sign autographs for fans, beginning at 6 p.m.
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Christian Craig 32
“The day started off pretty good. I qualified first in the free practice, and while that obviously doesn’t matter, it just shows that I was comfortable right away. I went into the rest of the day happy with my bike. I didn’t have that good of a gate pick going into the main, so I ended up picking the first gate on the inside, but was confident in it because the rut was prime. I got the holeshot, which I haven’t done in a while, so that felt good. I led for about half a lap before making a dumb mistake on my part—I cross-rutted off a double and landed on some Tuff Blox. Once I got going I was in dead-last, so I just put my head down, focused, and tried to push forward the best I could all the way to the end. I probably could’ve ridden better toward the end and made up a few more positions, but it could’ve been worse. I’m happy with my start and am going to take what I learned into these last two races.”
“Christian got an awesome start and rode strong for the first half of the main event. He made some good passes and worked his way up to 13th by the halfway point. Unfortunately, when he got behind Chad Reed, it seemed like his momentum stopped. He really should have gotten around him, but he began making a lot of mistakes. Overall though, 11th is good and Christian is doing a great job for us. We’re looking to finish the last two supercross races this season strong.”
Mechanic (Christian Craig)
“Overall, I think the day was good—better than last week. Christian rode looser and had his breathing a little more controlled, so he was able to keep his heart rate down throughout the day. He made quite a few mistakes in his heat race, but the track was a lot different than any of the riders had seen so he kind of had to slow down to be smoother and minimize mistakes. His holeshot from the very inside gate in the main event was pretty amazing. It’s good to see him get his starts back, but I think it’s just confidence for him. In that position you have to get a good start, which he did, but unfortunately he crashed later in the first lap. He did a good job working his way through the pack and salvaging as many positions as he could. Bike-wise, he was happy all day. We tried a different tire in the last practice, but he didn’t like it so we switched back to what we started with. Then we also went a little bit softer overall for the main event, just because it was so dry and hard, but other than that there were no big changes.”
450 Main Event Results
Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team Time/Gap
Marvin 25 FRA 26 Red Bull KTM
Eli 3 USA 23 Monster Energy Kawasaki
Jason 21 USA 21
Source: Honda Racing Corporation
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