Yamaha returns to the Top at Thunder Valley

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Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper scored his second-straight Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 250MX overall victory at the Thunder Valley Motocross Park with a pair of runner-up finishes yesterday in Lakewood, Colorado. His fellow 250 Supercross Champion, Colt Nichols rebounded from another tough start to the day, finishing fifth overall with a 9-5 result. Jeremy Martin fired the first shot with a win in Moto 1, but unfortunately had a crash early in Moto 2 and was unable to finish, ending the day eighth overall (1-40). The team’s young guns continued to make progress with Nate Thrasher finishing 12th (11-10) and Jarrett Frye 13th (12-13).

The 250 team came out swinging with Cooper, Martin, and Thrasher qualifying 1-2-3. In the first moto, it was the veteran who had the advantage after the gate drop, with Martin grabbing the holeshot and battling with his fellow red-plate holder. The race was red-flagged however, calling for a complete restart. This time around it was Cooper who took the holeshot with Martin right behind. The pair set a blistering pace and rode up front, with the two-time 250MX Champion waiting patiently in second. Before the clock reached the halfway point, Martin was on his teammate. Cooper tried to hold him off, but the Minnesotan got a great drive to take over the lead going up the hill. From there on, Martin managed the gap up front, ultimately crossing the line with a three-second lead.

Cooper got another flying start in Moto 2, grabbing his second holeshot of the day and set some fast times but was unable to make a break for it out front. The New Yorker led the first four laps and tried to counter to reclaim the lead, but ultimately rode a smart race to earn a consecutive runner-up finish for second overall, also advancing him to second in the point standings.

It was another tough start to Round 2 for Nichols who found himself 20th a few laps into Moto 1. Undeterred, the 250SX East Champion made another impressive charge through the pack to finish ninth. Nichols got a better start in the second moto in 12th and quickly broke his way into the top 10. The Oklahoman advanced to seventh before the halfway mark and continued to battle in the tough conditions. He lost a position but then made his way to sixth on Lap 10 and continued his charge to fifth three laps later, where he ultimately finished, securing fifth overall.

Unfortunately, the second moto did not go better for Martin. The moto 1 winner had a difficult start off the gate and was 17th after the first lap. He made his way to 12th on Lap 2, but then crashed hard and pulled into the mechanic’s area. The team worked to get him back on track, but not feeling 100% Martin retired early, ultimately finishing eighth overall. He will be evaluated further after the weekend.

Thrasher came back from a tough first round at Fox Raceway, backing up his great qualifying effort with a good start in the first moto inside the top 10. Sitting in seventh, the 18-year-old advanced to sixth early but ultimately was shuffled back to 11th in the challenging conditions. Thrasher had another decent start in the second moto and worked his way to eighth. The Tennessee rider went on to earn his best result so far this season in 10th, for 12th overall.

Frye also continued to make progress on his starts. The Maryland rider was in the top 10 after the gate drop in the first moto and crossed the line 12th. He got an even better launch in Moto 2 and was in the mix in fifth. Frye advanced to fourth on Lap 2 and was running a solid race in that position, but riders started making their way through after the halfway mark and he ultimately finished 13th in the demanding 30-minutes-plus-two-lap moto.

The Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing team heads to Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania, on June 19 for the High Point National, Round 3 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.

Wil Hahn

Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing 250 Team Manager

“Honestly, it’s always bittersweet to lose a guy with a crash in a moto, but all in all it was a solid day for the team. Justin had a great ride, getting a pair of holeshots and another overall win at Thunder Valley. Colt is getting back on track with a solid top-five and Nate and Jarrett, both made progress as well. We’ll get back to work and get ready for High Point.”

Justin Cooper

Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing

“We got to where we wanted to be today, on the top step of the podium. It wasn’t easy out there, but I got two holeshots and gave it my all. We had some really good battles up front and had a lot of fun. The track got pretty rough by the end of the day with some hot weather, so it was physically demanding but as I said, I had a lot of fun racing my dirt bike today!”

Colt Nichols

Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing

“I made my life really difficult today with two bad starts but my riding was much better this weekend so I’m happy about that. I just need a better start and to have more pace at the beginning of the race. We have something to build on during our weekend off and look to keep building going into High Point.”

Jeremy Martin

Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing

“We had a great first moto, but unfortunately I crashed in Moto 2 and was unable to finish. I’m really bummed. I hit a soft spot when I landed off a jump and the front end just knifed on me. I’ve been managing a Scaphoid fracture on my left wrist for months and a bum left shoulder. I still felt like I could be competitive to win races and contend for this outdoor championship. Unfortunately, stuff happens, and it’s time to get healthy!”

Jarrett Frye

Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing

“Our results didn’t show it, but I rode better this weekend. We will go back to work and use this weekend off to be ready for High Point.”

Nate Thrasher

Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing

“I had a great time out in Colorado but had to fight for the results. I had some pretty good starts in both motos, but I’m looking to clean up some things and be ready for the East Coast rounds.”

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