Features 12 Jun 2024

Quotebook: 2024 Pro Motocross Rd3 Thunder Valley

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

Round three of AMA Pro Motocross at Thunder Valley featured many strong rides throughout the field in both classes. Quotebook features compiled comments from riders over the weekend.


Image: Octopi Media.

Jett Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – First:
The second moto was much harder than the first for me; my legs were shot late in the moto. When I was in third, I had to make a decision whether I was going to push past the top two or just settle. I knew we had to make up some points, so I put my head down and kept charging. I’m happy to get out of here with a win and a chunk of points. Let’s head east!

Hunter Lawrence (Team Honda HRC) – Second:
It was definitely a great day, but I almost wish I left here with the overall instead of the red plate, as weird as that sounds. We made some big changes on the bike this week, and today it showed. It’s always a good feeling when you do some testing that pays off. The 450s are beasts to hold on to compared to 250s, especially off the start, so setup plays a huge key in being competitive.

Justin Cooper (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – Third:
It was a really good day. I qualified third and got off to two great starts today. The bike was definitely going up that hill, and it came pretty easily. I was able to lead a lot of laps today and pretty much just tried to run away, but eventually got caught there at the end in both motos, which is a bummer. I definitely got tired there at the end. I need like five more minutes in each moto. It’s something to build off of, though. We’ll just keep working.

Justin Barcia (Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas) – Fourth:
Thunder Valley was a pretty good day! I qualified decent in the top 10, which I wasn’t thrilled about, but it was okay. I got off to two good starts, charged really hard all day, and the bike was really good. We made a change after the second practice and it was really consistent, so I was able to adapt to different lines today and felt comfortable. We came away with a solid fourth, so it’s good. We want more, so we’re going to keep pushing, and we’ll get there soon!

Chase Sexton (Red Bull KTM) – Fifth:
It was nice to have the red plate today, and I felt like we had speed on our side, but it just didn’t come together in the motos. Considering the results, we’re still right there in the championship, so look forward to rebounding at High Point next weekend.

Aaron Plessinger (Red Bull KTM) – Sixth:
Thunder Valley was kind of a struggle in practice, and then I felt better in the first moto. I got a really good start but fell back and wasn’t really gelling that much until I started clicking off some good laps around halfway and through to the end, so ended up fifth. In the second moto, I royally messed up the start, so that cost me, and I paid for it. I came from around 20th place, which in conditions like that being hard and slick, it’s tough to come through the pack. I’ve just gotta put myself in better positions early on and we’ll move on to High Point.

Jason Anderson (Monster Energy Kawasaki) – Seventh:
It was a decent weekend, all things considered. I started the day qualifying fourth which was good for us. In Moto 1, I found myself just outside of the Top 5 at the start, but quickly made it up to second. I ran there for a bit and then late in the race, my rear end slipped out and I clipped the medical light and went down, so we finished 10th. Moto 2 was better for me. The start wasn’t the best, but I made it up to fourth and rode there all race. A huge thanks to everyone at Monster Energy Kawasaki for the support this weekend and keeping my KX450SR feeling dialed. Let’s head east.

Malcolm Stewart (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – Eighth:
Thunder Valley treated me well. Practice was okay considering it’s been 10 years since I’ve been here – I’m probably going to keep saying that for my next few quotes until we get to Unadilla! – and I’m having a good time so far. We went 7-7 for eighth overall, so at the end of the day, all we can do is keep moving forward. I felt like I was in some good battles between sixth to eighth, so we’ll try to be in with those guys and moving forward. I honestly feel like we’re in a good spot and I’m stoked with the team – we made some changes for that second moto, and they made the right decisions to help me feel more comfortable again. We’re here to race hard and have fun, then we’ll see where the results are towards the end of the season.

Christian Craig (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 10th:
Today was a positive day. I didn’t have the best qualifying result but felt pretty confident with my bike and set-up. First moto, I made some quick passes into the top 10 and was battling with my teammate for much of the moto to finish ninth – my best of the season so far. Second moto was similar, I was in ninth for most of it until I was passed toward the end, but overall my speed was better, and strength is slowly coming around in my elbow. We’ll keep doing this and improving each week.

Shane McElrath (Twisted Tea Progressive Suzuki) – 18th:
The third round of Outdoors was a little bit better day today. We made some positive changes,, but we’re still struggling with the speed and trying to get comfortable to go the pace. We’re definitely working and figuring things out, so we’re going back to work this week and we are going to keep making progress.

Kyle Chisholm (Twisted Tea Progressive Suzuki) – 20th:
In the first moto we had a good jump out of the gate, but I shifted quick and actually wheelied, so I ended up having a bad start. In the second moto, I ripped another good jump out of the gate and nailed my shift and went through the first turn pretty well; I was really excited about that, I rode too timidly, and lost few positions in the first few laps. I tried to work my way back up and I passed as many people back as I could. We’ll take the positives and learn from the negatives, and we’ll get back to work this week.

Max Miller (Toyota Redlands BarX Suzuki) – 22nd:
I had great starts today. I struggled to find my flow during the motos, but we had big improvements on the starts and my Suzuki ran great all day!


Image: Octopi Media.

Haiden Deegan (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – First:
It was a solid day at Thunder Valley. I’m happy to ride so well at a track that I don’t really get along with that much. Another overall win and more points gained; let’s keep the ball rolling!

Chance Hymas (Team Honda HRC) – Second:
It feels great to do this for the team. They’ve seen me at my lowest, and they’ve seen the work I’ve been putting in. We figured some stuff out with the bike and with my diet lately, and that’s been a huge key. I feel like I’m back to where I was last year, before I got hurt.

Tom Vialle (Red Bull KTM) – Third:
Overall, the speed was good, just too many mistakes. I crashed in the second moto, then I was catching again, and I tipped over in a corner, so I was really mad. But that’s racing and the track was really good, a lot of fun today, so it was pretty nice and I’m excited for next weekend.

Jo Shimoda (Team Honda HRC) – Fourth:
This weekend was another improvement. This felt like the first time I was riding my style. We did a lot of bike work over the past month, and it’s starting to come together. Today was a big confidence boost, to know I can run the pace. We just have to figure out our starts. And congrats Chance!

Levi Kitchen (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – Fifth:
It was a decent weekend overall, but I am looking for more. The day started out with an average qualifying session, but quickly turned around in the first moto. I was able to make a late charge and finish third. Just before Moto 2, a thunderstorm rolled through and made the track so technical. I was able to make my way back up to a podium spot, but a mistake made me go down and that was that. We have my KX250 feeling great, and I cannot wait to turn this around on the East Coast next weekend at High Point.

Jalek Swoll (Triumph Racing) – Sixth:
We’re inching closer and closer to where I know we should be. We didn’t know what to expect coming here with the bike being all-new, but the Triumph TF 250-X delivered and passed the first test of what we knew would be a hard start to the outdoor season. I’m looking forward to heading back east and getting some bigger points on the board.

Ty Masterpool (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki) – Seventh:
A lot of progress for me and my Monster Energy® Pro Circuit Kawasaki team. I started the day with a great lap and secured the top spot in qualifying which was a great confidence booster. That was my second time being the fastest qualifier in my career, so it was cool to do it again. During Moto 1, I was buried in the pack early and had to fight my way back up to eighth. In Moto 2, I had a better jump out of the gate in seventh and found myself there until I made a late pass on my teammate to finish sixth. This is definitely a step in the right direction, and we will keep building from this.

Pierce Brown (Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas) – Eighth:
It was another mediocre day on paper, but we made some steps forward, riding-wise. In the first moto I ended up sixth, then second moto I was near last and came back to ninth. It felt good, but obviously not where we need to be, and we need a start. I feel like everything else is coming together, so I’m excited to see what we can do at High Point next week.

Julien Beaumer (Red Bull KTM) – Ninth:
Really good riding for me today, but bad starts and early crashes slowed my results down. I’m happy with the progress we made this weekend, so now we’ll get ready for High Point!

Jordon Smith (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 10th:
It was pretty tough. I was under the weather all week. I started feeling a little bit better yesterday and felt okay this morning, but then once I got out there riding in the elevation, I just had no energy. So it was a struggle all day. I had the holeshot in the first moto, but I kind of washed out and came together with another rider and went down, which made it even tougher. In the second moto, I got a bad start and just really had nothing in the tank, so I ended up 11th again for 10th overall. It’s not the riding we had the first two weekends, but we’ll get rested up, back to 100%, and come back swinging at High Point.

Nick Romano (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 11th:
It was a lot better day for me. I ended up 12-12 for 11th overall. I can’t be mad about that. It doesn’t sound great, but it was major progress for how long I had off last year from racing, and especially these first two rounds for me. The team and I put our heads down last week, tested a lot, and made improvements. I’m getting more confidence every race, and we’ll keep trucking along for High Point.

Joey Savatgy (Triumph Racing) – 12th:
Honestly, I’m just frustrated, disappointed and a bit spun out. My speed is good. My fitness is good. I just can’t get off the gate and there’s just too many good guys in the line-up for me to be starting back where I am. I’ve always been a good starter in my career and my Triumph TF 250-X feels good – that’s not holding me back. It’s when I get away mid pack, I spend so much time passing people and then it’s hard to get into a rhythm. I know I have the speed, I just need to be able to showcase it. Believe me, the work won’t stop until I’m where I should be.

Dilan Schwartz (Toyota Redlands BarX Suzuki) – 14th:
Moto one was great! I didn’t have the best start, but made some quick passes and worked my way forward to finish in P10. In the second moto, I had another average start and struggled with my wrist; but I toughed it out for a P18.

Ryder DiFrancesco (Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GasGas) – 15th:
This weekend was okay. I fell in the first turn of Moto 1 and came back to 18th, and then in the second moto I got a better start, ran eighth for around 20 minutes, and then went backward from there. It was better than Hangtown, so we’ll keep improving and get ready for next weekend.

Casey Cochran (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna) – 16th:
I struggled all day, really, and never got too comfortable with the track. Never being here before and learning it, that kind of showed, so we’re going to keep our heads high and get ready for next weekend at High Point. We’ll make some progress and come out swinging.

Daxton Bennick (Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing) – 17th:
It was definitely a tough day. It was my first time at Thunder Valley, and in the first moto I had a decent start. I just got some arm pump and went backward. In the second moto, I came out about last and worked my way back to 17th. It’s not the result we are looking for, but we’ll keep working. I’m excited for next weekend.