Kitchen had a solid qualifying result in 10th, but then came out swinging with a brilliant holeshot in the first moto. The Washington rider kept a hot pace up front to lead from start to finish for his first moto win in the pro ranks. He didn’t get the start he was hoping for in the second moto and found himself 11th after the first lap. Kitchen put his head down and tried to make his way to the front for the overall victory, advancing to fifth by Lap 6, where he would ultimately finish. He tied his teammate Justin Cooper in points, but his stellar moto victory would be the tiebreaker and land him his first overall podium. The teammates are also tied with 100 points in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 250MX Championship, with Kitchen sitting fourth and Cooper fifth at this early stage in the title chase.
Cooper got a great start in the first moto from the fifth gate pick and was battling up front in second. He tried to hold off the series points leader but was shuffled to third on Lap 2, where he would finish to join his teammate on the podium. The New Yorker got another great second-place start in Moto 2, but it was a bit of deja vu as he found himself third on the second lap. Undeterred, Cooper kept pushing and tried to make his way back to the runner-up spot but came just shy in the end. His 3-3 moto score put him fourth overall.
LeBlanc had a standout performance at the Thunder Valley Motocross Park. After qualifying 13th, the young rookie got a good start in ninth and rode a solid moto to finish 10th. He got an even better start in the second moto in sixth and put in the laps to cross the line ninth and end the day eighth overall.
The team’s other rookie, Nick Romano, also enjoyed a top-10 result. Although he struggled in the second qualifying session and was 19th, he got a great start in the first moto and was sixth. He kept pushing in the challenging conditions and eventually finished ninth. The New Yorker got another good start in the second moto, in seventh but unfortunately was unable to find his comfort zone in the rough conditions of the final moto of the day, and crossed the line 13th for 10th overall.
Thrasher had a tough start to his first moto, finding himself 23rd after a tip-over on the first lap. The Tennessee rider quickly got to work and made a heroic charge back to eighth. He got a good start in the second moto, but unfortunately came together with another rider and was unable to finish the race, ending the day 16th overall. Thrasher will seek evaluation from his doctors after the weekend and an update on his status will follow at a later time.
The Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing team heads east next weekend for the High Point National, Round 4 of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, June 18.