Top-5 Finishes for Monster Energy Kawasaki at Round 3 of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship

2022-06-13 02:53
Round three of the 2022 AMA Pro Motocross Championship brought riders up to over 6,000 feet in elevation for the Thunder Valley National in Lakewood, Colorado. In the 450 Class, Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Jason Anderson earned a Moto 1 podium on his way to fourth place overall (3-6), while Joey Savatgy claimed his second consecutive top-10 result with 8-9 moto scores for ninth overall. In the 250 Class, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Jo Shimoda secured fifth overall (7-6) and Seth Hammaker overcame second moto adversity for ninth overall (5-15).

In preparation for exceptionally hot and dry weather, the Thunder Valley MX track was heavily watered prior to the first qualifying practice session of the morning. With the event hosting a reversed moto schedule, the 450 Class took to the track first and the premier class riders were met with deep, muddy conditions that added another challenge to the already demanding elevation changes and a variety of new jump sections added throughout the track. Anderson and Savatgy showed they were up for the task as they recorded the fourth (2:16.741) and sixth (2:17.202) fastest lap times, respectively.

In 450 Class Moto 1, Anderson rocketed up the start hill to emerge from the first turn in fourth and Savatgy trailed just outside the top-10. Anderson quickly found his rhythm in the front group as Savatgy mounted a charge forward through the field. On Lap 3, Anderson made a pass around the former MXGP World Champion, Antonio Cairoli, to gain control of a podium position while Savatgy looked for a way through to eighth. As the race neared the halfway mark, Anderson made a crowd-thrilling dash down the inside of the sweeping downhill corner in the center of the track to take command of what had been a multiple lap contest for second place. Anderson continued to press forward toward the leader until a collision with a track marker in the late stages of the moto led to him surrendering his second place position. Meanwhile, Savatgy moved into eighth and closed the gap between him and the riders ahead as he maintained his intensity through the sweltering heat. When the checkered flag flew, Anderson claimed his third moto podium on the season and Savatgy followed with a hard-fought eighth place.

In the second 450 Class moto, both Monster Energy Kawasaki KX™KX450SR riders got out to great starts as Anderson and Savatgy battled for top-five positions heading into turn two. Anderson quickly made his way into a podium position on the opening lap while a couple of non-optimal line selections shuffled Savatgy back to 11th place. On Lap 2, as Anderson looked to make a pass for second, a brief loss of traction caused the No.21 rider to fall in a long right-hand corner. Anderson remounted his bike just ahead of Savatgy, in ninth place, and the duo charged back up the running order in tandem. Anderson proved his race craft with savvy passes as he picked off the riders ahead one at a time. Shortly after the 15-minute mark of the race, Anderson charged around the outside of the downhill after the mechanic's area to move into sixth place. Meanwhile, Savatgy found himself in an intense battle over eighth. The Kawasaki duo continued to race forward, pressuring the riders ahead until the finish. Anderson finished sixth in the moto to secure fourth overall and Savatgy claimed ninth at the checkered for ninth overall.

“I believe me and my KX450SR were capable of winning today but, that mistake early in Moto 2 really cost me. It was good to grab another podium in Moto 1 and shows that we’re in a spot to compete consistently at the front of the field so that’s encouraging as we head into next weekend.”
- Jason Anderson

“I ended up with the same overall result again this weekend but, I definitely feel better about my riding today. Overall, it was a strong day for me on the track and I’ll look to get more seat time this week so we can improve the result at Highpoint.”
- Joey Savatgy
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The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team came into Round 3 of the AMA Pro Motocross Championship with momentum after an impressive two opening rounds for stablemates Shimoda and Hammaker. When the 250 Class qualifying sessions concluded, Hammaker logged the fourth fastest lap with a 2:17.434. His teammate Shimoda had a more gradual start to the day while managing cold symptoms and recorded the 11th fastest lap (2:19.733).

At the start of 250 Moto 1, the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki duo raced their KX™250 machines up the first big hill climb of the track inside the top-10. Hammaker charged forward in the opening laps to move his way up to fourth place and close in on the rider ahead. Meanwhile, Shimoda dropped back to 10th on the opening lap before finding his rhythm and regaining several positions in the early stages of the race. At the halfway point of the race, Hammaker was racing strong in fourth place as he fended off pressure from behind and Shimoda had advanced his way into eighth. In the closing laps, Hammaker was overtaken for fourth place but, continued to race hard in a top-five position. Shimoda stayed true to his unrelenting character as he pushed all the way to the end of the 30-minute plus two lap race, taking control of seventh place just before the two lap card came out. At the checkered flag, Hammaker secured fifth place and Shimoda raced his way to a respectable seventh.

The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki riders were once again both in the top-10 off the start of 250 Class Moto 2 as Hammaker came around in fourth with Shimoda close behind in seventh. While the top-five riders jockeyed for position throughout the first lap, Hammaker found himself involved in a collision with another rider that left them both on the ground. Hammaker was quick to remount his bike but, would pay a visit to the mechanic's area before resuming the race. The No.47 KX250 rider then began a hard fight through the field from 37th position. Meanwhile, Shimoda was a benefactor of the multi-rider crash on Lap 1 as he seized the opportunity to move into fifth place. While Shimoda had a smooth and consistent race in fifth, Hammaker was passing multiple riders per lap to claw his way up into the points-paying positions. When the second moto came to an end, Shimoda crossed the finish in sixth to earn fifth overall (7-6). Meanwhile, Hammaker had passed 22 riders to claim 15th in the moto and salvaged a lion-hearted ninth overall (5-15).

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