Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing Injury Update
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Levi Kitchen broke his wrist today in a crash at the team’s training facility in Cairo, Georgia. He will undergo surgery tomorrow to try and return for the final four rounds of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. The team hopes to have their full line-up of riders at the Unadilla National, Round 8 of the 12-round championship, on Saturday, August 13, in New Berlin, New York.
Dylan Ferrandis returned to riding earlier this week for the first time since his surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb. The defending Pro Motocross 450MX Champion injured his thumb riding during press day for the season opener in Pala, California, and is eager to return to action after being sidelined for six weeks.
Also excited to return to racing at the Unadilla National is the 2021 250SX East Champion, Colt Nichols. The Oklahoman has been putting in the hours to return to full fitness from his big crash during the heat race at the Monster Energy AMA Supercross opening round in Anaheim, California.
Matt LeBlanc aims to line up with his team in New York later in August. The rookie broke his collarbone and injured his left arm in a crash in the second moto at last weekend’s Southwick National. He will undergo surgery to repair the broken collarbone and return as soon as possible.
Jensen Hendler – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 250 Team Manager
“It’s definitely a bummer to lose Levi, especially since he was riding great and making progress each week, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. He’s going to have surgery tomorrow and hopes to be back for the last four rounds. We’re excited to have Colt back for Unadilla. He’s been working hard to get back to racing, and we can’t wait to see him out there. Matt also looks to return by Unadilla, so we’re looking to have our full roster back in action in New York.”
Jeremy Coker – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 450 Team Manager
“It’s great to have Dylan back on the bike. Right now, he’s going easy and riding our turn track, but our goal is to have him back for the last four rounds of the outdoor season. We’re looking forward to seeing the No. 1 battling on track.”
Tomac Makes it Three-in-a-Row in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship with Dominant Performance at Southwick
Jett Lawrence Back Atop 250 Class Podium with Fifth Win of the Season
SOUTHWICK, Mass. (July 9, 2022) – Another picture-perfect afternoon of sunny skies and comfortable temperatures provided ideal racing conditions for Round 6 of the 2022 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, as the 50th anniversary season reached its halfway point. The legendary sands of The Wick 338 provided one of the summer’s most unique challenges at the MB Tractor & Equipment Southwick National, where Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Eli Tomac extended his winning streak to three races with a dominant sweep of the 450 Class motos. In the 250 Class, Team Honda HRC’s Jett Lawrence made his return to the stop step of the podium with an impressive 1-1 performance that resulted in his fifth victory of the season.450 Class
The first 450 Class moto of the afternoon got underway with a convincing MotoSport.com Holeshot by Team Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen, followed by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Ryan Dungey and Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Christian Craig. As Roczen sprinted out to a quick lead of more than a second, Craig made the pass on Dungey for second while Team Honda HRC’s Chase Sexton, the point leader, followed in fourth.
Craig started to chip away at his deficit to Roczen and successfully made a pass for the lead a little more than five minutes into the moto. As Dungey looked to apply pressure on Roczen for second the KTM rider went down, but quickly remounted. However, he fell from third to fifth, which moved Sexton up to third and Tomac into fourth after running as far back as eighth.
As the moto reached its halfway point Craig maintained a lead of nearly two seconds, but it was Tomac who started to attract the attention as the fastest rider on the track. He made an easy pass on Sexton for third and put in a charge on Roczen to take control of second. A little more than a second separated the Yamaha teammates of Craig and Tomac with 14 minutes to go in the moto. It took just a lap for Tomac to seize control of the lead. Behind them, Sexton got by Roczen for third.
Once out front Tomac opened up an advantage of nearly four seconds on the field, while Craig and Sexton engaged in a fight for second. These two riders traded momentum for many laps, but Sexton’s patience paid off in the closing minutes of the moto when he pulled the trigger on a pass and made it stick.
It was clear sailing for Tomac the rest of the way as he cruised to his fourth consecutive moto win by 7.3 seconds over Sexton, with Craig in third. Dungey followed in fourth, while Fire Power Honda’s Max Anstie rounded out the top five with a last-lap pass on Roczen.
The deciding 450 Class moto began similarly to the first moto with Roczen at the head of the pack for a sweep of the MotoSport.com Holeshots. Craig slotted into second, while Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Aaron Plessinger followed in third. Tomac started inside the top five, while Sexton emerged deep in the top 10.
As Roczen sprinted out to an early multi-second lead, Craig and Plessinger engaged in a battle for second, from which Plessinger prevailed with the position. A battle for third then unfolded between teammates Craig and Tomac. After the two riders came together, with each avoiding a crash, Tomac reset and made the pass happen.
Roczen, Plessinger and Tomac asserted themselves at the head of the field, which allowed the lead trio to open a huge gap. A showdown soon followed as the moto passed the halfway point. Tomac dropped the hammer and made the pass on Plessinger for second and didn’t let up in his pursuit of Roczen. In less than a lap Tomac moved from third to first and took control of the moto with a little more than 12 minutes to go. As Tomac pulled away, Plessinger went on the attack and took second from Roczen.
As Tomac checked out on the field the attention shifted to Sexton in his effort to fight his way onto the podium. The point leader showed tremendous patience from fourth and bided his time. Soon enough he was within striking distance of Roczen and successfully took control of third. He then moved to within a few bike lengths of Plessinger and with just two laps to go he made the pass for second.
Tomac was in a class of his own out front and capped off a dominant afternoon with his fifth straight moto win by 10 seconds over Sexton. Plessinger earned his best moto result of the season in third.
Tomac’s second consecutive 1-1 sweep resulted in a third straight overall victory and the landmark 30th win of his 450 Class career. Sexton continued his podium streak in second (2-2), while Plessinger’s strong second moto landed him on the overall podium for the first time this season in third (7-3).
While Tomac gained even more ground in the championship battle, Sexton’s runner-up effort allowed him to maintain his hold of the point lead. A single point now separates the riders halfway through the 12-round season. Roczen, who finished fourth (6-4), is third, 41 points out of the lead.
Eli Tomac, Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing
“We’re just doing what we can. This is a gnarly points race and neither of us [Chase Sexton and I] have made a mistake yet or blinked. We’re both riding really strong. I just got better starts today. This track is so difficult. It just takes everything out of you. I’m done [physically], but it makes winning here that much more satisfying.”
Chase Sexton, Team Honda HRC
“That was a tough race. I didn’t get a good start [in Moto 2] and those guys were gone. This place has never been my favorite but today was fun. I’m looking forward to battling Eli [Tomac] for the rest of the summer. We need to start winning motos and races, but it’s been a blast so far.”
Aaron Plessinger, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
“It’s good to be back up here [on the podium]. I could hear the fans every lap. It wasn’t easy there at the end. Hats off to Chase [Sexton] and Eli [Tomac], they were both riding great. Third overall on a KTM, it’s a great, great day.”
Photos: Align Media
450 Class Overall Results (Moto Finish // Points)
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha (1-1 // 50)
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda (2-2 // 44)
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM (7-3 // 34)
- Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda (6-4 // 33)
- Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha (3-8 // 33)
- Max Anstie, England, Honda (5-5 // 32)
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM (4-7 // 32)
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki (8-6 // 28)
- Benny Bloss, Oak Grove, Mo., KTM (10-10 // 22)
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS (13-9 // 20)
450 Class Championship Standings (Round 6 of 12)
- Chase Sexton, La Moille, Ill., Honda – 268
- Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Yamaha – 267
- Ken Roczen, Germany, Honda – 227
- Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Kawasaki – 207
- Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM – 185
- Christian Craig, El Cajon, Calif., Yamaha – 184
- Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., GASGAS – 159
- Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, KTM – 149
- Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki – 125
- Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., Husqvarna – 118
The opening 250 Class moto began with Lawrence leading the way for the MotoSport.com Holeshot, chased by the Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing duo of Justin Cooper and Nick Romano. Several positions behind them, point leader and Team Honda HRC rider Hunter Lawrence started outside the top 10 in his first race carrying the red plate.
Jett Lawrence wasted little time in checking out on the field and built a lead of more than five seconds just a handful of minutes into the moto. Cooper settled into second, while Romano was forced to battle with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s RJ Hampshire for third. Back up front, Lawrence crashed and lost the lead. Cooper assumed the top spot as Lawrence remounted in second and immediately went on the attack to try and reclaim the position. A bobble by Cooper provided the opening Lawrence needed to put the number one bike back out front. As that battle unfolded, Hampshire made the pass on Romano for third.
Things took another interesting turn when Hunter Lawrence crashed while running eighth and dropped outside of the top 10 into 16th place.
As the moto approached its final 10 minutes a three-rider battle started to take shape in the fight for second between Cooper, Hampshire, and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda, winner of the previous round. Shimoda took advantage of a small miscue by Hampshire to take over third and he kept the charge going to Cooper’s rear fender. The Japanese rider was aggressive and made the pass for second. Cooper later lost his hold of third to Hampshire.
When Shimoda moved into second 5.7 seconds separated he and Jett Lawrence. Shimoda continued to run the fastest laps on the track, which allowed him to cut the deficit to just over three seconds. Lapped traffic slowed Lawrence even further and helped Shimoda close in even more, dropping the deficit to 2.2 seconds. Lawrence responded and picked up the pace in the closing stages of the moto to stabilize the lead.
Lawrence closed strong to secure his fifth moto win of the season by 10.8 seconds over Shimoda, while Cooper made the pass back on Hampshire for third. Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory Racing’s Michael Mosiman rounded out the top five, while Hunter Lawrence put in a resilient ride to salvage sixth.
The final moto kicked off once again with Jett Lawrence leading the way for the MotoSport.com Holeshot, followed closely by the Star Yamaha duo of Levi Kitchen and Cooper, who slotted into second and third, respectively. Shimoda started seventh, with Hunter Lawrence in ninth.
With the clear track, Jett Lawrence looked to inch away from the field but Kitchen refused to let it happen. Their early pace allowed the pair to pull away from Cooper and the rest of the field by four seconds. Despite heavy pressure from the Yamaha rider, Lawrence withstood the challenge and inched away to about 1.5 seconds. Soon enough, the leaders enjoyed an advantage of more than 10 seconds on third.
As Lawrence and Kitchen controlled the moto a battle for third took shape between Cooper and Shimoda. The Kawasaki rider was faster and continued to close in on the Yamaha. With 10 minutes to go Shimoda made his move and got around. Cooper responded initially, but Shimoda quickly solidified the pass.
Despite the early pressure, Lawrence never put a wheel wrong and brought home a wire-to-wire moto win by 9.4 seconds over Kitchen. Shimoda followed in a distant third.
Jett Lawrence’s second 1-1 performance of the summer resulted in his fifth overall victory of the season and cemented his rebound from the heartbreak of the previous round. It was also the milestone 10th career victory of the Australian. Shimoda followed-up his winning effort from last week with a runner-up finish (2-3), while Cooper finished on the podium for the second time this summer in third (3-4).
Lawrence’s dominant afternoon allowed him to reclaim possession of the point lead from his brother, Hunter, who finished seventh (6-8). A 22-point swing saw Jett go from seven points down to 15 points ahead of Hunter, while Shimoda now sits 37 points out of the lead in third.
Jett Lawrence, Team Honda HRC
“I have to be pumped [with the win]. Hunter [Lawrence] had a rough one today. I’d rather not do it [get the point lead] that way and would have rather raced him for it, but the track was brutal. It was a really good day and my starts were good, so I’m happy.”
Jo Shimoda, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
“The track was really difficult. I’ve never practiced in conditions like this. I was just holding on so tight. I’m happy, but we just have to keep improving.”
Justin Cooper, Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing
“It’s cool to be back on the podium. I always love coming here. It always beats my butt and we always come back for more. We made progress today and are getting closer to where we need to be, so I’m happy, but still have more work to do.”
Photos: Align Media
250 Class Overall Results (Moto Finishes // Points)
- Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda (1-1 // 50)
- Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki (2-3 // 42)
- Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha (3-4 // 38)
- Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha (8-2 // 35)
- RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna (4-5 // 34)
- Stilez Robertson, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna (7-7 // 28)
- Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda (6-8 // 28)
- Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., GASGAS (5-9 // 28)
- Nate Thrasher, Livingston, Tenn., Yamaha (15-6 // 21)
- Jalek Swoll, Belleview, Fla., Husqvarna (12-10 // 20)
250 Class Championship Standings (Round 6 of 12)
- Jett Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 261
- Hunter Lawrence, Australia, Honda – 246
- Jo Shimoda, Japan, Kawasaki – 224
- Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 197
- Levi Kitchen, Washougal, Wash., Yamaha – 180
- Michael Mosiman, Sebastopol, Calif., GASGAS – 169
- Stilez Robertson, Bakersfield, Calif., Husqvarna – 158
- Seth Hammaker, Bainbridge, Pa., Kawasaki – 151
- RJ Hampshire, Hudson, Fla., Husqvarna – 132
- Max Vohland, Sacramento, Calif., KTM – 129
The second half of the 2022 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship will commence next Saturday, July 16, with the series’ annual visit to Minnesota and Millville’s famed Spring Creek MX Park. The Frescados Tortillas Spring Creek National will feature comprehensive live broadcast coverage on MAVTV Motorsports Network in addition to live streaming coverage on “MAVTV on FloRacing,” beginning at 11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET.
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