With two races left in the season, the battle for the red plate between Jett Lawrence and Justin Cooper has gotten a lot of attention. Despite a Moto 1 holeshot attempt by the Monster Energy/Star/Yamaha Racing opponent, the Australian’s dominating performance switched the red plate to the Team Honda HRC rider.
However, Jo Shimoda of Japan achieved his second podium of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season at Ironman Raceway with a strong 2-3 finish.
It’s still a second but an improvement,” said the No. 30 rider. “Thank you to the team, and fans at the podium was amazing. I have so much motivation for the last two rounds. Let’s keep pushing.”
Shimoda remained in the top five throughout the grueling 90°+ heat. He pushed his way up from sixth place in the first moto to second place, 8.320 seconds behind Lawrence. It gave gave him the confidence he needed for Moto 2.
“The starts helped definitely,” Shimoda shared. “That’s my goal just to do the race like that. Get up in front and fight as much as possible. Today was a good day for me because from the qualifier, I was feeling good. Second in Q1 and fourth in Q2 was better than usual. I was going up to the gate more confident.”
Shimoda took the holeshot for Moto 2 right out of the gate and led the first lap before Lawrence passed him coming back around the starting gate. After a better start the second time around, RJ Hampshire, who placed 13th in Moto 1, was able to battle with Shimoda. When the checkered flag flew, Hampshire finished second, but not without Shimoda being just a few seconds behind him to keep him honest.
“My preparation was better,” said the 19-year old. “I know what to expect, and we train hard every day. Mentally and physically, I was not quite as ready as this year, so just having the races last year helped me a lot to prepare for this year. Just getting as much experience (as I can). Learning each race, and the second time around, you know the track. Some parts, you have an idea. For example with the rollers, it was faster to jump two instead of rolling over each one. Those kinds of things help me as the season goes.
“I’m just happy I made the improvements on the bike and myself. I just want to keep going this way.”
Shimoda also finished 3-4 at The Wick 338. Hunter Lawrence, the other Australian, was also swept 1-1 by it. Shimoda is currently in sixth place in the standings, but he has closed the gap to Hampshire, who is in fifth place. With two races remaining, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider has plenty of time to get into the top five in the championship standings before the season ends.
The next race for the 250 class will be held at Fox Raceway in California on Saturday. The opening motos will be shown live on MAVTV Motorsports Network at 1 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. ET. The second motos will be broadcasted on NBC Sports Network on tape delay at 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET. Beginning with qualifying at 10 a.m. PT/1 p.m. ET, Peacock TV will provide an all-day live feed. For more information on tickets, go to the Pro Motocross website.
The uniforms of MOTOCROSS racing drivers are currently available at the following websites for a reasonable price: