Robertson and Smith join returning Thrasher, Kitchen and Romano for 2023.
Monster Yamaha Star Racing’s complete five-rider 250SX line-up has been named ahead of the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross Championship, with Stilez Robertson and Jordon Smith joining the returning Nate Thrasher, Levi Kitchen and supercross debutant Nick Romano.
Although injuries have impacted Robertson throughout his professional stint, he achieved a pair of seconds at Daytona Supercross in the past two seasons.
He also scored an overall podium at RedBud in 250MX this year before an ankle injury sustained in Millville forced him to the sidelines. Making the switch from Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing, the freshly minted YZ250F rider is motivated for a strong 2023.
“I’ve been at the GOAT Farm putting in the work and getting ready for the season with Swanie (Gareth Swanepoel) and everyone with the team,” Robertson explained. “It’s been good so far. There are a lot of new, exciting things and it’s been a lot of fun getting used to those new things. I’m really excited to go racing with this team and to try and put the YZ250F where it belongs – up front. I can’t wait to get behind the gate!”
Smith also is a new addition to the outfit’s 250SX roster, and has three wins and multiple podiums in 250 supercross to his credit. He was second in the 2018 250SX East Championship but has suffered injuries in the following seasons that have hampered his charge. Smith has been training with the team since outdoors this year and is eager to be in title contention.
“I’ve got a new team this year, and my wife and I have a new baby, so life’s changing a lot for me,” said Smith.”I’m just excited to get the season going. I’ve been training for what feels like forever. I trained all throughout the outdoor season and worked with the team, so I’m ready to get racing. I’ve been riding well and I’m feeling good on the bike.
“I’m looking to win a championship. That’s what Star hired me to do. It’s always the goal to win a championship, but you can’t win it in the first round, so I’m going into the season looking to be smart, get some good starts, and let the cards fall.”
Returning for his third full season with the squad, Thrasher ended this year’s supercross on a high note with victory in the East-West Showdown at Salt Lake City, taking two 250SX wins in his rookie season the year prior.
Kitchen enters his second 250SX attempt with the organisation, unfortunately having his debut season cut short last year following a crash at Arlington. The 21-year-old returned for outdoors and won his first 250MX moto at Thunder Valley, before injuries brought a premature end to his 2022 Pro Motocross assault.
Competing with the outfit this year in 250MX, Romano – who scored a best result of P4 in moto one and Unadilla – is set to make his Monster Energy Supercross debut in 2023, with the talented teenager completing the potent Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing quarter-liter line-up.
“We’ve got a bunch of fast guys, a bunch of fast young guys, and we’re looking forward to seeing them continue to grow and battle up front,” shared Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 250 manager Jensen Hendler. “Everyone has been working hard to get ready and we’re excited to get going!”
A staple in the team’s 250 line-up in recent years, Justin Cooper will compete in select 450SX rounds in 2023 alongside reigning champion Eli Tomac and Dylan Ferrandis.
Cooper isn’t eligible to continue in the 250SX ranks after winning the 2021 western regional title, despite being injured in the pre-season and unable to contest supercross at all this year. He will step back to the 250 class when Pro Motocross commences outdoors this coming summer.