Cooper Extends Points Lead with Perfect Night at Atlanta 2
Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing’s Justin Cooper put on another masterclass performance last night at the second round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross tripleheader in Atlanta. The 250SX West points leader led every session en route to his third victory of the season, extending his points lead in the title fight. Nate Thrasher had another good night, finishing fourth in a very physically demanding Main Event. Fellow rookie Jarrett Frye bounced back from a heat race crash to win the LCQ and ended the night 16th.
Tuesday was much hotter than the first round on Saturday, putting riders to the test with an already physically demanding track at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Cooper showed strength straight away and topped every session, earning the fastest qualifier honors for the sixth time this season. He didn’t get the start he was looking for in his heat race but charged back from fifth to take the lead on the final lap. The New Yorker got a much better start in the Main Event behind his teammate Thrasher and quickly passed him for the lead. Unfortunately, the race was red-flagged after two laps, resulting in a complete restart.
Despite the second start not going as smoothly as the first with more riders in the mix, Thrasher was able to grab the holeshot, with Cooper once again quickly moving to the front. He put his head down and built a comfortable gap on the competition, crossing the line with a seven-second lead. With three rounds remaining, Cooper holds a nine-point advantage in the championship.
Fresh off of his first career win in the pro ranks, Thrasher got his day off to a solid start, qualifying sixth and finishing third in his heat race. The rookie came out swinging with two stellar starts in the red-flagged main and was holding down the runner-up spot behind his teammate for the first three laps. He was passed with three laps to go and battled for the final podium spot but ultimately had to settle for fourth.
After a tough first round in Atlanta and not qualifying for the Main Event, Frye got off to a good start with his best qualifying result thus far in his debut season, sitting eighth on the timesheets. He got a good start in his heat but unfortunately crashed early in the race. Another good start in the LCQ delivered better results and he was able to bring home the win. With a short turnaround between the two races, the 20-year-old lined up for the Main Event but didn’t have much energy left for the longer than usual 250 race and finished 16th.
The Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing team returns this Saturday, April 17, for the final round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross tripleheader at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Wil Hahn – Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing 250 Team Manager
“It was a great night for us, gaining more points in the championship. Justin rode awesome today, he led every session and won both the heat and Main Event. Nate also had another good night in fourth, and Jarrett came back from another tough heat race to win his LCQ. We will get back to work and be ready to fight Saturday.”
Justin Cooper – Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing
“It was a good day starting with being fastest in every practice again. I got a pretty bad start in the heat race and got shuffled back to fifth, but I came back and made a last-lap pass on Hunter (Lawrence). We had a pretty good battle there. The Main Event got red-flagged a couple of laps in, which made it pretty tough. It was hot out there. Honestly, sitting on the line before the restart, I was like, ‘wow!’ I had to take my goggles off because I was sweating, and then we had to do the whole 15 minutes again. It was really physically demanding tonight, especially with not having a lot of rest after last Saturday’s race. It was good to get out of this one with a win and extend our points lead. We’ll recover for Saturday and try to do the same thing again.”
Nate Thrasher – Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing
“It was a good weekend, I felt good all night and we put in solid laps in the main. I was sitting in second pretty comfortably, but it ended up being red-flagged, which I’m pretty bummed out about. I ended up pulling a good start again and was sitting third for most of the race; we were fighting for it until the end, but ran out of time and finished fourth. We wanted another podium, but I can’t be mad about that, we’ll get them Saturday.”
Jarrett Frye – Monster Energy Star Yamaha Racing
“Atlanta 2 was a better day for me. I had my best qualifying result so far and qualified eighth. Then I had a good start in the heat race but went down and had to go through the LCQ. I got another good start there and was able to win that. I lined up for the main, but I just didn’t have any energy left. It was pretty hot today, and I was just flat. It’s still not the result I’m looking for, but it was a better day, so we’re going to build on that and be ready for Saturday.”