Cooper Finishes Fourth in Daytona
Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper overcame challenges to finish just shy of the podium Saturday night at Round 2 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250SX West Championship in Daytona Beach, Florida. Jarrett Frye finished 12th to improve his result from the season opener. Fellow rookie Nate Thrasher also showed progress, but unfortunately, his race ended early with a technical issue and was credited with 20th.
For the second race running, Cooper set the pace from the start as the fastest qualifier. In his heat race, the New Yorker did not get off the gate as he planned and had to work his way from ninth to fourth. Cooper got a much better start in the Main Event. Unfortunately, he went down in the third turn on the opening lap after a tough block was knocked out in front of him. Rejoining near the back of the field, the red-plate holder quickly went to work and advanced to 15th before the start of the second lap. Cooper put in consistently fast laps to move into fourth but ran out of time to try for a podium.
The Supercross track at the iconic Daytona International Speedway is known for being one of the most challenging tracks on the series’ calendar. Both of the team’s rookies struggled to find their flow in practice, but Thrasher put in a solid effort to earn his best heat race result thus far in sixth. Although Frye still worked to find his comfort zone in the demanding conditions, the young rider from Mechanicsville, Maryland, once again qualified for the Main Event with a ninth-place finish. He got a decent start in 14th and crossed the line 12th to earn his best result in his second professional supercross race.
Thrasher found himself back with Cooper after the start and put his head down to make another charge through the pack. He worked his way up to 15th until a technical issue had him switching to conservation mode. Unfortunately, he was unable to finish, ending the night 20th.
The Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing 250SX West team heads to AT&T Stadium for the first of three Monster Energy AMA Supercross rounds in Arlington, Texas, on Saturday, March 13.
Wil Hahn – Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing 250 Team Manager
“We had a tough night in Daytona. Our starts weren’t very good and to be honest, our riding wasn’t the best either. We’ve got some homework to do. We’ll go to work and come back stronger in Texas.”
Justin Cooper – Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing
“The day started off really well. I was fastest in both practices. I spun off the gate in my heat race, and that didn’t go too well. I just kept pushing to get the transfer and brought it home in fourth. In the Main Event, I got a top-five start, and then in the third turn, a hay bale got kicked out in front of me, and got stuck under my bike and put me on the ground. So I started around 21st. I did what I could. It was really hard to pass out there. I only made it up to fourth, but I charged the whole way, and my lap times were pretty consistent. It’s not what I was hoping for, but that’s all we had tonight. We definitely got challenged here in Daytona. We’ll learn from it and come into these Texas rounds ready to win again.”
Jarrett Frye – Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing
“I struggled all day in practice. I couldn’t really find a flow and put the track together. In the heat race, I finished ninth to transfer into the main, but I still had a hard time finding my flow and ended up 12th. It’s not where we want to be. We’re going to go back to work and try and be better next weekend in Arlington.”
Nate Thrasher – Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing
“It was an okay weekend in Daytona. We struggled a bit in qualifying, but in the heat race, we rode well. I felt like we had good speed. I came from way back and ended up sixth, so I was happy with that. In the main, we got a decent start and started moving through the field, but then we started to have an issue. I was trying to baby it, but we didn’t finish. We’ll do better next weekend.”