Another Moto Victory on His Way to Second at MXGP Unadilla

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Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Justin Cooper put together another strong performance to earn the runner-up spot at his home state track of Unadilla as the 2022 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 250MX Championship hit its final stretch. Nearly mimicking his Washougal performance, the New Yorker earned the second moto win after a top-five finish in the first moto, taking another second overall finish. Cooper’s teammates would run in the top 10, with Nick Romano returning to the series with a career-best moto finish of fourth to end the day seventh overall (4-9), while Nate Thrasher collected ninth overall (10-7).

Even with two weekends off, Cooper brought the momentum of his first moto win of the season at Washougal into the race at Unadilla. He started the day on top of the board, ultimately finishing second in combined times. The New Yorker just edged out his teammate Romano to claim the moto one holeshot, leading the pack around the opening lap. On lap two, he went down but remounted quickly in eighth and rode on with twisted handlebars to make his way to fifth. In the second moto, Cooper grabbed the holeshot and held off the advances of the series points leader. After the competition went down, he continued to ride his own race and built a comfortable gap up front to notch his second moto win of the season.

It might have been his first race at the pro track at Unadilla, but Romano instantly looked comfortable on the extremely tough circuit as he rounded the first turn in front of his teammate only to barely miss out on the holeshot. He battled with the championship front-runners throughout the moto and kept his No. 411 Yamaha in second for over half of the race and would cross the line in fourth for a career-best moto result. Romano was once again near the front in fifth at the start of the second moto but ultimately finished ninth in the challenging conditions to earn seventh overall.

The day started off on a good note for Thrasher, who qualified seventh, giving him a good gate pick for the opening moto. When the gate dropped, he got hung up with another rider and came around the opening lap in 16th. The Tennessee rider never quit as he pushed forward to break the top 10. Thrasher got a better start in the second moto in 11th and made his way to seventh, earning ninth overall.

The Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing team is back in action next weekend for Round 10 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship at Budds Creek MX Park on Saturday, August 20.

Jensen Hendler

Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 250 Team Manager


“We had a good start to the day in qualifying and had all three guys in the top 10 to give us some good gate picks for the first moto. After the Moto 1 start, Justin pulled the holeshot and was riding well. Unfortunately, he had a crash early, which twisted up his handlebars pretty bad, but he ended up with a pretty good result in fifth. In the second moto, he ripped an awesome holeshot and I think at one point he had a 15-second lead on second place. It was a great ride, and we couldn’t be happier to see him back up front.

“Nick ended up fourth in that first moto for his career-best result, which we’re extremely happy with. In the second moto, he had an okay start but made some passes early and found himself in the top five on the first lap. He was maybe a little bit spent from that first moto and ended up ninth for seventh overall. That’s amazing and we’re happy with that.

“Nate got hung up with another rider off the gate in that first moto and didn’t fare so well. He had to fight his way back to 10th place, which was solid because he was buried after the first lap. He had a much better second moto and was ninth overall. These are tracks that these rookie guys haven’t ridden before, so to see them do well, we are very happy with that. We are happy with all the guys and how they rode. We’ll just keep building and keep fighting for wins.”


Justin Cooper

Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing

“It was a good day overall, I just had the one mishap in the first moto while leading, and that kind of threw away my chances to win the overall. The bike was pretty messed up from that, so I just tried to salvage what I could in the first moto. Then in the second moto, I got the holeshot and was able to manage the race. It was a good day overall. I’m just bummed about the little crash I had that cost me the overall. I’m feeling good though and looking forward to Budds Creek next weekend.”

Nick Romano

Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing

“My first Unadilla was an awesome time. I ended up 4-9 on the day for seventh overall and had some really good battles in that first moto with the top guys. The second moto was a solid ninth, so I’m super stoked on how it went, and I’m already excited for Budds Creek next weekend.”

Nate Thrasher

Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing

“Unadilla was a fun one. I didn’t have my best ride, but we will keep building for the next three races.”

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