Suzuki's World MXGP team drew the MX2 world championship season to a close with youngster Hunter Lawrence winning the final moto of the year in tricky conditions at the Grand Prix of France onboard his RM-Z250.
Lawrence, who qualified on pole for the final Grand Prix of the year, took fourth in the opening moto of the weekend, before the win in the final race of the season in what is his rookie year in the class. It gave him second overall for the weekend and was also his second podium in the last three rounds.
He said, "I came into the races really happy because I had first gate pick after winning qualifying. In the first moto it was quite wet, as a lot of rain fell so it was really muddy and slippery. It was really difficult conditions. I got a decent start though, and made some passes to come up to fifth and then fourth quite quickly. However, I couldn’t make a dent in the guys in front and finished fourth.
"In the second moto I went for the start, put it all in, and my RM-Z250 came out well on the inside and I held on to come out in the lead. I just then put my head down, put in my own laps and increased my lead and was really happy with how it all went. I’m really happy for the win and to end the season on a high note. Leading a race is a whole different ball game from coming through the pack but I enjoyed it."
Lawrence was almost joined on the podium by his teammate, Jeremy Seewer, who made a last-ditch effort to win the Grand Prix. Seewer finished second in race one, but was pushing to take the overall win when he made a small mistake and finished fourth overall. However, it cemented him as the championship runner-up.
He reflected on the weekend and 2017 season, saying. "We had another mud race this weekend, a really bad one for us as there was a lot of rain yesterday and today again this morning. I wasn’t feeling right with the track, with all the hills and the mud and all the ruts. I got a good start in the first moto though which really helped; Covington was a bit faster, he made no mistakes so I was happy with second place.
"Then in the second moto I got too much wheel-spin on the mesh. I was far back on the start-straight because of this but I made a lot of quick passes and got it back to fourth and then set about passing Covington. I got up to second before Covington passed me back after a couple of poor laps. I kept pushing though and at the end of the race I saw an opportunity to win the GP, so I gave it everything I had to pressure him into a mistake but coming down the steep downhill my front wheel slipped away and I had a crash. I didn’t hurt myself, but the bike made a couple of flips. I thought it was worth it to try and win the GP, it just didn’t quite work out ok.
"A big thanks to the whole Suzuki World MX2 Team, they put in a lot of work to get me to the front of the pack each weekend and get me challenging for the title. I’m disappointed with second overall in the championship but Jonass rode great all year, so congratulations to him. I went to him after the first moto just to say to him “well done” because he did really well with the pressure and rode consistently fast the whole season long."