The following is from American Honda:
During his 2016 debut with Team Honda HRC at round 10 of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship, Fredrik Noren led the charge for the factory squad, putting together two solid sixth-place rides to earn sixth overall at the Unadilla National in New Berlin, New York, August 13.
In the opening moto, Noren launched his CRF450R to a decent start, completing the first lap in eighth place. Through the early portion of the race, Noren worked his way into sixth, which is where he would finish. In moto two, the Swede scored another top-10 start and was running in sixth on the second lap when he went down after an incident with another rider, falling to 10th. He quickly remounted and put together a charge, working his way back to sixth by the halfway mark and staying there to the end.
“I’m excited to be back with Team Honda HRC for these last three races,” Noren said. “I really like everyone over here—the whole program and the bike—so today was great. It was a good day overall and I’m happy with 6-6 for sixth overall. I feel like I rode pretty solid most of the day. There were a few sketchy moments for me but I think everyone had those at some point because the track was so gnarly. I got two pretty good starts and just tried to keep things consistent in both races, which worked out. I did have a little mishap in the second moto because Marvin [Musquin] and I were both coming into a corner in the back section and neither of us wanted to let off going into a rut. We banged bars a little bit and I tipped over, losing three spots, but I was able to regroup and get the positions back. It’s a good starting point but obviously I want to do better, so we’ll keep working toward that in the last two rounds.”
Prior to the Unadilla National, Fredrik Noren and crew traveled early to New Berlin in order to participate in Thursday’s press day. After interviewing with the local Fox News station, riders took to the track for two 20-minute sessions. During Saturday morning’s timed qualifying practice period, Noren was sixth fastest with a 2:22.136 lap time, posted during the second session.
The Unadilla track showcases some unique elements, including the Skyshot tabletop jump, “The Wall” and Gravity Cavity, which add an element of excitement.
“I’ve always really enjoyed this track,” Noren said. “I think it’s a very European-style track, which suits my riding. There are also a lot of fun obstacles and jumps, and I think it makes it fun for the fans and riders to have different things out there. My favorite is the Skyshot because you can throw some good whips off it.”
Team Honda HRC will return to action on August 20 for round 11 of the AMA Pro Motocross series in Mechanicsville, Maryland, the Budds Creek National.
Although the all-new, highly anticipated 2017 Honda CRF450R was only unveiled to the public on Thursday of last week, Team Honda HRC has already begun the development process in preparation for next season.
“Our testing has been kind of limited due to the earthquake that damaged our factory in Japan back in April,” said team manager Dan Betley. “We only really have one test bike and a spare parts bike, so it’s been a slight challenge. I’m trying not to be overly optimistic or too excited about anything too early, which is common in this sport every time a new bike comes out, but I’m happy with where we are at this point.”
Betley explained that the team is taking a different approach to testing compared to past years.
“Instead of jumping right into supercross testing, we’re attacking it from more of a motocross standpoint,” he said. “We’re getting the bike set up for that and then transitioning to supercross, which I think is good.”
When asked about the bike’s characteristics, Betley said that the 2017 CRF450R has a lot of positives.
“It’s more confidence-inspiring and overall is going to be a much better race bike for us,” he said. “Everyone who has ridden it feels that the base settings are better, meaning the overall setup package is larger. Everything is positive as of now, but of course things will come up as we test more. We just have to find the balance. We’re really happy with engine performance at this stage in the game, and what really stood out to me the most was starting performance, as far as straight-line traction and propelling forward. I think it’s going to be great when we get more time to dial things in.”