Features 5 Jul 2022

Debrief: 2022 Pro Motocross Rd5 RedBud

Overall winners Tomac and Shimoda recall fifth round.

A perfect scorecard for Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Eli Tomac at RedBud enabled him to claw back valuable ground in the 450MX title race, as Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda scored a historic 250MX overall victory at the fifth round of the 2022 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Both riders were available to the media after the races for this Debrief feature.


Image: Octopi Media.

Two moto wins, the first one dominant, the second one looked like you had to be a little cautious there to get around the 94 [Ken Roczen]. Walk us through your day.

Yeah, it was a great day for us, from practice, we had super good starts both motos, the first one especially. Second one had it close, and Justin [Barcia] got the inside in that second one. Just a good day. It was fun track to ride this time, and I think the prep was pretty good here. The whoops were harder, the sand whoops, and it was nice to do the [LaRocco’s] Leap this year. There have been a couple of years where there has been only one guy jumping it, so we got to do that. Not much to say, a great day for us.

Moto two, you were behind the 94. Looked like you tucked in there and just waited a bit. Were you being patient, or were you really hammering it for 30+2, what were you doing there?

Yeah, Kenny is very good in the first few laps. We went back and forth I think once in those early couple of laps, he’s just really good there. We were laying down a great pace and I was just outside of his roost range there. Somewhere around halfway, I tried to pick it up around that time and was able to make the move on him. It was good to move forward.

You had your family with you. Your great grandma was here?

Yeah! My great grandma, and then daughter’s and son’s great-great grandma, I think it’s five generations, so it’s pretty special. That’s my dad’s side of the family, they’re from Michigan. It was cool to have them here.

To have that kind of family support here, it had to be gratifying. Then the moment where your daughter was questioning whether she should come and be with you on the podium, that was really touching to see them celebrate with you. 

Yeah, like you said, it was cool to have them there. There’s no place like RedBud, the energy up there is obviously super cool to have the family there.

The RedBud fans, they are crazy here, it’s electric and everything that a moto rider would want. I’ve talked to other people, and they say there is no other motorsport podium like a RedBud podium. 

That’s right, and it’s America’s birthday weekend, 4 July, so it’s a cool weekend.

You had the pace to be up front, obviously, but the two moto starts were really solid. How did they help you go about it? Not having to charge through the field and you had a little bit of clean air. 

Well, I finally got a holeshot! That was nice, first one of the year, and moto two was close again, really close. As these guys have been saying, when you’re in middle of the 450 class, you are eating a lot of roost and it’s a big deal to be upfront, you have clean vision. This track is sandy so you’re pulling a lot of tear-offs,  so it’s a big advantage to have clean air.

Did you change anything with your starts? I know you mentioned the gate pick [first moto] and then you went with that one again. Was it just confidence and trajectory going into the first turn? 

It was just a gate that I liked, period. I can’t even say why.

You said this might be your last year racing Pro Motocross possibly, so it could be your last national here. But is there a chance we could see you here for Motocross of Nations if you’re presented with the opportunity? Can we talk about that?

Yeah, we can talk about that. If I’m selected, I’ll be here.


Image: Octopi Media.

What a day, you couldn’t have written the script any better in moto number one. You were tenacious in moto one and the celebration was unbelievable. How did you feel in the first moto?

Yeah, good! Can’t do much better than first! A good start, that’s all I was looking for at first and after that I think I was behind Hunter [Lawrence] for a little bit and then Jett [Lawrence] passed me, and then his bike broke. I wanted to battle with him, too, but you can’t do too much about it. I just never gave up, just kept pushing and pushing and happy to take that first win.

You had great speed in the first moto, and from someone watching the race it was just awesome. You won a lot of fans over today, even before you took your shirt off. You had ‘I love USA’ on your chest. What was that all about?

I don’t know, to be honest. Before I even raced, I’m just happy they gave me the opportunity to stay here. I just love to show that I love USA and I hope everyone gets that.

You’re the first Japanese rider to win a moto in America. That also has to be really gratifying that were able to represent Japan and win. 


Yeah, first Japanese rider to win at an AMA national. Okay then moto two came about, things weren’t so good at the beginning, walk us through what happened.

Yeah, I got a bad start like I always do and I tried to make up as much as possible on the first lap, but then I think it was RJ [Hampshire] that crashed on the roller, then I landed on his bike. After that I just tried to catch up as much as possible. At one point I was running third with about five laps left. But from that crash I had bent my front rotor. So the last three or four laps my front brake was locking. I had to back down for a little bit, just enough to keep third position for the overall.

We saw the replay where you were looking down and pointing down around your number plate. I think that’s when you went through the mechanic’s area.

Yes, it was acting a little weird so I just wanted to see what we can do.

What does it mean to put Mitch [Payton] back on the box? Been a long dry spell for Mitch.

It feels good! I think he’s stoked about it. I hope he’s stoked about it!

Hunter Lawrence: I have one thing. It’s a special day for Jo, his first win, it might be a little out there but I think he should get that ‘I heart USA’ tattoed on his stomach. It’s a special meaning, I think it would be a good look. 

No! No! [laughs] I like USA, I love it, but tattoo here [stomach] USA, no.

After the chaos in the second moto, you were trying to get as many guys as you can. Did you have any idea where you were? Could you keep tabs on people and kind of tell what was going on?

To be honest, not really. I didn’t really look at the pit board. Last time I looked at it was seventh place, so after that I was just charging and charging. Just put my head down and go.