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Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing Captures First Double Podium of the Outdoor Season

Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing Captures First Double Podium of the Outdoor Season

Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing’s Justin Cooper was a fixture at the front on Saturday during the second round of the Pro Motocross Championship at the Hangtown Classic in Rancho Cordova, California. The New Yorker rode to a 2-2 moto finish for his first 250MX podium of the season in second overall. Teammate Haiden Deegan backed up his Round 1 performance by joining Cooper on the podium in third overall (1-4) after starting the day with his first-career moto win. Guillem Farres improved his result from last weekend, racing to seventh overall (6-8), while Levi Kitchen put a fourth Yamaha YZ250F inside the top 10 with his eighth-place overall result (10-7). Jordan Smith battled back from being collected in a first-turn crash during Moto 2 to finish 14th overall (12-17).

For the second-straight round, Cooper found his way to the top of the leaderboard in qualifying, giving him the first gate pick for the opening moto. The starts practiced during the week paid off, and Cooper was second around the first turn. While the track was tough, the New Yorker kept his teammate Deegan honest and crossed the finish line only two seconds back in the runner-up position. With one good start under his belt, Cooper grabbed the holeshot in Moto 2 and led the field for the first two laps. After getting passed, he stayed close to the leader and once again was only a few seconds shy of the winner. His 2-2 moto score earned him valuable points and pushed him into third in the championship standings.
While 13th in qualifying might have been an unexpected result from the rookie, Deegan used the two practice sessions to familiarize himself with the new track. The opening moto was all about the No. 238 as Deegan grabbed the holeshot and led from start to finish, holding off threats from his teammate until the end. The 17-year-old had a little more work to do in the second moto after starting seventh, but he never gave up and found his way through to finish fourth, which placed him third overall for the day. Deegan’s second-straight podium helped him maintain second overall in the championship standings.
Happy with his improvements from the opening round, Farres kicked off the day with a sixth overall in qualifying. Like his teammates, the Spaniard also enjoyed a great start in Moto 1, coming around the first lap in fifth. He made a few mistakes during the hot and grueling moto but still managed to race his Yamaha YZ250 to sixth. In the second moto, he had to come through the pack after a start of 10th, making it up to eighth to earn a season-best seventh overall.
Kitchen has historically done well at the Hangtown circuit and continued his top-10 streak at the track. His day started with a ninth in qualifying and after an eighth-place start in Moto 1, the Washington State rider was struggling in the tricky conditions and finished 10th. Determined to make it up in Moto 2, Kitchen got around the same start in ninth, but this time made several passes on the single-lined track to finish the moto seventh for eighth overall.
Smith showed improvement in comfort throughout the day on the fast-paced track. After qualifying 12th, the rider from North Carolina started the first moto just outside the top 10 in 11th, and while he tried to make passes stick, he ended up 12th. He was ready to go after a better finish in Moto 2 but was caught up in a first-turn pile-up, leaving him last as he came around for the opening lap. He never quit and made it from 35th up to 17th at the end of the moto. His 12-17 awarded him 14th overall.
The Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing team starts heading east on Saturday, June 10, for Round 3 of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship and the 20th round of the SuperMotocross World Championship at Thunder Valley Motocross Park in Lakewood, Colorado.

2023 Pro Motocross 250MX Hangtown Classic Results
2023 Pro Motocross 250MX Results Championship Standings

Justin Cooper

Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing

“I’m probably the most happy about my starts. I was second in the first moto and grabbed the holeshot in the second. It was a major focus this week. We did about 60 starts, and I put a lot of pressure on myself to execute there. The track was really tough. It was really high speed - I would say a lot faster than years previous. I think that caught me off guard a little bit, to begin with, and I did make a few mistakes that didn’t help me, but overall I was second best today. We got some good points today, and we’ll keep fighting.”

Haiden Deegan

Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing

“It was a good day. Qualifying was good to get familiar with the track. I focused on getting my lines down and learning what we needed to do for the race. In the first moto, I pulled the holeshot and stayed out front for the full 35 minutes. I stayed strong the whole moto, which is what we train for, and was super amped on that. In the second moto, I made a mistake on the start and had to work through to get up to fourth. Third was so far ahead that I couldn’t really do anything, but getting up to fourth helped with another podium, and I’m hyped.”

Guillem Farres

Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing

“The weekend started out well. In practice, I was feeling good and ended up sixth overall. That gave me a good gate pick for the first moto, and I got a good start. I made some passes and was running third for a while, but I ended up sixth. In the second moto, my start was not that good, and I made my way back to eighth. Overall I’m happy with my progress so far.”

Jordon Smith

Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing

“It was a hard-fought day, and the results don’t show the improvement in my riding this weekend. We will get back to work and try to be a little better in Colorado.”

Jensen Hendler

Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 250 Team Manager

“Hangtown was an improvement over last weekend, with Justin and Haiden both ending on the podium and also with Haiden getting his first moto win! We put in a lot of work last week to help improve our starts, and it paid off. We will continue to work with the others to help them make improvements as well. I’m proud of the team, and we will continue to work hard for wins.”