Features 29 May 2024

Quotebook: 2024 Pro Motocross Rd1 Fox Raceway

Riders detail their weekends after the opening round of the series.

Round 1 of AMA Pro Motocross kicked off the great outdoors this past weekend as riders battled to find their footing at Fox Raceway. Quotebook features compiled comments from riders over the weekend.


Image: Octopi Media.

Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – First:
Two good starts, led every lap, won both motos—I basically hit every goal I set for myself today. I still have to work on some stuff on myself and the bike, but overall, it’s good to keep the streak going—24-0 so far! I’m looking forward to Hangtown.

Hunter Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – Second:
It was a good day—second overall in my 450 outdoor debut! I just went when the gate dropped, and that led to two starts near the front. I’m happy to be leaving here like this.

Chase Sexton (Red Bull KTM) – Third:
The bike has been really good outdoors and I think that comes from KTM’s experience in MXGP. We’re happy with this finish to be on the podium, and we still have some work to do, but it will be an evolution throughout the season. We’re looking forward to Hangtown now.

Justin Barcia (Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas) – Fifth:
Had a good qualifying practice, fourth in the first one and seventh overall, so we had a good gate pick for the races. First moto, I got off to a good start and it was a good one. Second moto, also got off to a good start and was about to have a holeshot but was bumped from behind, so that cost me a few positions. I fought really hard, charged the whole moto, and I have a lot of building to do still. It’s going to be a long season, the bike was really good today, and I’m looking forward to more.

Justin Cooper (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Sixth:
We got the first 450 outdoor national out of the way, and it went well. I had good starts in both motos. In the first moto, I got passed on the last lap for fifth, and in the second moto, I got tangled up in the first turn and came from last to eighth. So overall, it was a good day with two consistent motos and something to build on for next week.

Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki) – Seventh:
Round 1 is done and the weekend did not go as planned, but that is racing. Qualifying went decent, but I knew there was more speed for me. In the first moto, I got tangled up in the first turn with a rider that cut down. When I remounted my bike, I was running 38th. I put my head down and managed to make it into the Top 10. Moto 2 was much better for me. The track was way gnarlier, but I found my flow and latched onto the Top 3 all race. 10-4 finishes is not how we wanted to start the season, but mistakes happen and my entire Monster Energy Kawasaki team and I are ready to fight again next weekend.

Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM) – Eighth:
Pala was okay and it was how I expected myself to be coming into it. The first moto was really, really good, I got off to a great start and was right there on Jett [Lawrence]. I started riding tight but loosened up toward the end and got third. Second moto, unfortunately, had a crash in the first corner, so I did what I could and salvaged 12th. Seventh overall isn’t the end of the world, I’ll take that and we’ll go to Hangtown swinging – I’m excited!

Malcolm Stewart (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – Ninth:
For being 10 years of not racing a season opener for outdoors, it treated me well. We said we’d be happy with a top eight, or to be around there, and we were. When you have a season-ending injury like I had last year, it makes you miss the little things, and so far I’m just having a heck of a time here! Overall, I’m happy, we made a lot of improvements event from Moto 1 to Moto 2, and we’re enjoying the moment.

Christian Craig (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 15th:
I didn’t know what to expect coming in, but just wanted to get some gate drops, and to put my best effort in. I had a couple of crashes, a first turn pile-up in the first moto, and then in the second moto I fell on the first lap, so I made it hard on myself but I was able to come through the pack, and score some points. I am happy to be at the races again, to be back with the team, and it’s a good vibe being around everybody. We’ll go back to work this week and get ready for Hangtown.


Image: Octopi Media.

Haiden Deegan (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – First:
It was a good day here at Pala. In the first moto, I made my way to the lead with two laps to go, which was cool. Then, the second moto was a statement ride. I holeshotted and led the whole thing. So yeah, 1-1 on the day, and the red plate… We’re looking forward to next weekend.

Levi Kitchen (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – Second:
It was not a bad way to start the 2024 AMA Pro Motocross season. 2-2 on the day and a lot more in the tank for the rest of the season. I was happy to get first in qualifying with a great lap and then in Moto 1, we were going good all race, until a track marker got caught in my boot, stabbed my shin and so I had to reach down and grab it while (Haiden) Deegan was right behind me. In the second moto, my KX™250 started strong again and I got right behind Deegan. We battled the entire race and I finished second. Ultimately, we are in a good spot. I feel good and ready for some more battles next weekend.

Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM) – Third:
I had a great start in the first moto, was able to lead a few laps, and I got a little tight with some arm-pump, so I finished third. Second moto, I had a crash early in the moto, so I was around sixth and came back to third. At the end of the day, of course, I wanted to do a little bit better, but we started the first round of the podium overall and I think we can only do better in the next races. I feel good with the bike and physically, so I’m really excited for Hangtown.

Chance Hymas (Team Honda HRC) – Fourth:
The first round of outdoors was really good. We had a great start to the day, qualifying first in the first session and fourth overall. Then I had a third and a fourth on the day, for fourth overall. I’m feeling confident on the bike; it’s been working really well, and the team is doing awesome. I’m excited for next weekend.

Jalek Swoll (Triumph Racing) – Fifth:
It’s a good day to leave here in the top five. Although we reached our goal, I’m also kind of annoyed as I wanted a little more. But we leave here in a position we wanted. There’s another round to go in this county and then the season really gets going. I just need to keep crushing those starts, putting myself in good positions and we will eventually be on the box, fighting for those wins.

Jo Shimoda (Team Honda HRC) – Sixth:
I really wanted to carry momentum from Supercross into this weekend. My starts meant I had to climb through the pack, but I feel like I showed some good speed. Overall, sixth on the day isn’t where I want to be, but I’m looking forward to Hangtown.

Nate Thrasher (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Seventh:
It definitely could’ve been better. I think my speed was decent, but I was dealing with some arm pump. I felt good, though. I felt like I had top-three, top-five speed, but I was just riding about 60% in the motos. I was glad to get a top 10 riding like that but bummed because I want to ride to my full potential. We’re going to go back to work and come back stronger at Hangtown.

Pierce Brown (Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas) – Eighth:
It was a decent day with 10-8 results for eighth overall. It’s somewhere to start and we know where to build from now, so I’m excited to start building some momentum from here.

Joey Savatgy (Triumph Racing) – Ninth:
“I think the day went well. Top five was the goal coming into this, so I’m a little bummed with the overall result. The speed was good in qualifying and considering I haven’t had a gate drop in a while, fifth in the first moto was equivalent to par for me. I would have liked a better start and pace in the second moto, but we just need to stick to our program and we’ll be ok. The results will come.

Ryder DiFrancesco (Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas) – 10th:
Round 1 was good for me at Pala. The first moto was good and the second one was okay as well, but all-in-all I’m satisfied with 10th overall. It was better than last year, but I’ve got a couple of things to work on with 10 more rounds to go!

Julien Beaumer (Red Bull KTM) – 11th:
It was a tough first round for me. I didn’t ride the best and wasn’t the comfiest, so we’ve got some work to do this week, and we’ll come back out swinging at Hangtown.

Jordon Smith (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 13th:
I rode really well and qualified in fifth. So it was pretty solid for a first round of outdoors for me. My speed was good in the motos. I just had a washout in the first moto and came back to seventh, which I was pretty happy with. In the second moto, I got caught up in the first turn pileup. Then it was just chaos trying to get through these guys in the back, and I went down a couple of times. So yeah, it was a bummer in the second moto, but I’m happy with my riding and to have something to build on.

Ty Masterpool (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – 15th:
Today I had a lot of nerves, but overall it was a pretty good weekend. I started the day qualifying in sixth which I was stoked on. In the Moto 1 I got a good start, but when I switched up my lines, I took an outside rut and went down in a flooded area which caused me to lose significant time. I went down again, which was all my fault, but the second moto was definitely a step in the right direction. I had a pretty bad gate pick, but managed to come around in the Top 15. In the second corner, that is where we really got tangled up, but worked my way up to 10th. I took my time in the second moto. I am really looking forward to getting more and more comfortable on the bike this season. A huge thank you to the entire Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki team, Mitch and Iain. God is good and I cannot wait for more racing.

Daxton Bennick (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 17th:
Yeah, it was definitely a little bit of a struggle. I don’t ride here, and I’ve never really raced here, so it’s always tough when I come to the West Coast, but we’re chipping away at it. The second moto was a lot better, so I’ve got some positives. I had some really great starts, and we’ll bring that into next weekend and just try to improve little by little.

Casey Cochran (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 19th:
It was a tough day with going down on both starts, so I had to fight from the back in the motos and ate a lot of roost today. It ended up alright, we rode pretty decent, and if we can get a good start we’ll be up there in the top 10 with those guys. I will work on some starts and come out swinging again next week!

Nick Romano (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 21st:
It was a tough day at Pala. I struggled all day, and then a first-turn pileup in Moto 2 ended my day early. I’m going to rest up and be ready for Hangtown.