Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda brought the confidence and speed he’s been building up to RedBud MX for Round 5 of the Pro Motocross Championship, claiming his first-ever moto victory on the way to a career-first overall win. The memorable day didn’t come easy but ultimately gave the team its first victory since 2019. Seth Hammaker overcame a tough Moto 2 but finished fifth in the opening moto to score 11th overall (5-15). In his first career professional race, Ryder DiFrancesco put in a great effort in both motos to finish 13th overall after coming through the pack in Moto 1 to finish 14th and held on to 12th in Moto 2 after claiming the holeshot.
It was a day the rider out of Japan will likely never forget as Shimoda stood atop the podium for the first time. It all started with Shimoda claiming pole position in the morning qualifying sessions. His first gate pick served him well, getting out to a great start in Moto 1 in third. He stayed with the front two riders and didn’t let them out of his sight, eventually inheriting second after the leader retired early. He kept the pressure on the new leader and was able to make the pass on Lap 12. Shimoda continued to push and crossed the line 21 seconds ahead of second place.
Moto 2 forced Shimoda to showcase his never-quit spirit as he went down on the opening lap. He got up quickly and came around the first lap in 25th. He was in the top 10 by Lap 6 and continued to push to the front, passing into the needed third position on Lap 14. Shimoda held on to the spot, and his 1-3 propelled him to the overall win.
“I didn’t even realize that I was in third at the end, so I wasn’t even sure that I won when the race finished,” said Shimoda. “It was a tough second moto coming back from that crash, but I’m glad I kept pushing. This is an amazing feeling, and I am thankful to everyone who has believed in me. RedBud is awesome, so to get the win here feels really cool.”
Hammaker used the morning qualifying sessions to get a feel for the track, as it was his first trip to RedBud. When the gate dropped for Moto 1, Hammaker jumped out to a great start and filed into fifth. He stayed there for much of the race, inheriting fourth for a brief time before finishing the moto in fifth. The second moto saw Hammaker nearly grab the holeshot and take over the lead just after the first corner. A few corners later, he made a small mistake that sent him off the track and to the back of the pack. Once he got going, Hammaker was a man on a mission, passing multiple riders a lap. He got inside the top 20 by Lap 8, but it was hard to make up much ground after moving into 15th a few laps later. His 5-15 would push him just outside the top-10 overall with an 11th.
“We had a decent day going, but I made a mistake that cost me a top 10,” said Hammaker. “RedBud is a cool track, and I had fun seeing all the fans that come out. Days like this really do push me to come back stronger, and I can’t wait to get to sandy Southwick next week.”
DiFrancesco was introduced to the fast-paced world of professional motocross at one of the most iconic tracks on the calendar. If he was nervous, it didn’t show as he started the day qualifying 11th. He ended up having two vastly different motos, starting with being collected in a first-turn crash during the opening moto. He got up in 32nd and started to make his move toward the front. DiFrancesco found his way into the top 20 by Lap 7 and continued to push, making it up to an impressive 14th. Moto 2 started completely different with DiFrancesco claiming the holeshot and settling into the top five for the first half of the race. With much of his energy drained as he raced through the pack in Moto 1, he worked hard to hold off the competition, eventually finishing 12th in Moto 2 for 13th overall.
“I’m very thankful to Mitch and the team for giving me this opportunity to get some time under the tent,” said DiFrancesco. “The experience is one I don’t want to take for granted and I learned a lot at RedBud. I can’t wait to come back for another round.”
250MX Class Overall Results: REDBUD NATIONAL
- Jo Shimoda (Kawasaki), 1-3
- Hunter Lawrence (Honda), 2-2
- Stilez Robertson (Husqvarna), 3-5
- RJ Hampshire (Husqvarna), 4-6
- Levi Kitchen (Yamaha), 9-4
- Ty Masterpool (KTM) 8-8
- Justin Cooper (Yamaha), 7-9
- Michael Mosiman (GasGas), 6-10
- Jett Lawrence (Honda), 35-1
- Nate Thrasher (Yamaha), 10-7
- Seth Hammaker (Kawasaki), 5-15
- Max Vohland (KTM), 11-11
- Ryder DiFrancesco (Kawasaki), 14-12
250MX Class Points Standings
- Hunter Lawrence (Honda), 218
- Jett Lawrence (Honda), 211
- Jo Shimoda (Kawasaki), 182
- Justin Cooper (Yamaha), 159
- Levi Kitchen (Yamaha), 145
- Michael Mosiman (GasGas), 141
- Seth Hammaker (Kawasaki), 132
- Stilez Robertson (Husqvarna), 130
- Max Vohland (KTM), 110
- RJ Hampshire (Husqvarna), 98