Star Yamaha confirm 450SX rider line up – Cooper to contest selected rounds
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing heads into the 2023 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season armed with returning champions and an all-new YZ450F looking to take a fourth-consecutive premier class title for the team. Reigning 450SX and 450MX Champion Eli Tomac and 2021 450MX Champion Dylan Ferrandis lead the charge, with 2021 250SX West Champion Justin Cooper joining the duo for select rounds before switching to the 250 class for the outdoor season.
Following a stellar debut season with the team, Tomac returns looking to defend his crown in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross 450SX Championship. 2022 was a landmark year for the multi-time champion who lays claim to the winningest rider currently active in the premier class. He notched seven wins, including a record-breaking sixth victory at the legendary Daytona International Speedway, to seal the deal on his second 450SX title a weekend early in his home state of Colorado. Tomac tasted triumph again in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross 450MX Championship, coming out on top in a thrilling down-to-the-wire title fight with 14 moto wins and five overall victories en route to his fourth title in the class. He was also the captain of the victorious Team USA at the Motocross of Nations, took some more supercross wins overseas during the off-season, and was honored with his first ESPY Award in the Best Athlete, Men’s Action Sports Category.
Ferrandis returns for his seventh season with the team. The Frenchman has enjoyed a successful tenure with the Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing squad, earning back-to-back 250SX West Championships in 2019 and 2020, the 2020 250MX Championship, and the 2021 450MX Championship. He won his first premier class title in dominant fashion, putting himself in elite company by clinching the crown during his rookie season. In 2022, Ferrandis showed speed during his Sophomore season in supercross, scoring a podium finish with his teammate in San Diego. Unfortunately, he was sidelined with injuries and did not get the opportunity to defend his number-one plate in Pro Motocross. Back to full fitness, Ferrandis is hungrier than ever and eager to return to the top aboard the new YZ450F.
Stepping up to the premier class to race select rounds on the calendar, Cooper returns for his sixth season with the team and is eager to get some seat time on the YZ450F and battle with the best in the sport. Although 2022 got off to a tough start with an injury that ended his supercross season before it started, the New Yorker finished the year on a high note. He played an important role in Team USA’s Motocross of Nations victory and scored the overall win in the MX2 class. When it’s time to go racing outdoors in the Summer, Cooper will move over to the 250 team to make a run at the Pro Motocross 250MX Championship aboard the YZ250F.
The Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 450 team would like to thank its partners for their support: Yamaha Racing, Monster Energy, Yamaha Financial Services (YMFUS), Yamalube, GYTR, bLU cRU, Parts Unlimited, CWI, Rekluse, FMF, Dunlop, Works Connection, VP Fuels, Kite, Twin Air, KYB, Cycra, ProTaper, Excel, Vortex, DID Chain, Vortex ECU, D’Cor, Braking, ARC Levers, Mettec Titanium, Motion Pro, Lightspeed, G2 Ergonomics, Antigravity Batteries, and Matrix Concepts.
Jeremy Coker – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 450 Team Manager
“It was a phenomenal year for our team, and we’re looking to carry that momentum into 2023. We’ve got an all-new bike, which the guys were really happy with straight away. The entire team has been working hard to get everything ready, and we’re excited to start the season at A1. Both Eli and Dylan are looking great, and we’re looking forward to seeing Justin on the 450 for some rounds. We’ve got the riders, the bike, and a great team behind us, and we’re looking to win races and bring home another championship.”
Eli Tomac – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“We’re into the first week of December now, and it’s been a good off-season. We’ve been going to work on the new motorcycle – the 2023 YZ450F – and so far, it’s been good. When I first jumped on this bike, the first thing I noticed was the weight savings. That’s one thing I really love about it, and for supercross, that’s really good to have for the change of direction. It’s been awesome to start with that, and then now we’ve just been fine-tuning the bike with some suspension settings. We are also well into our training, and so far, so good. We’re staying healthy and should have a good chance at defending this number one plate.”
Dylan Ferrandis – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“The off-season’s been going well. We have this new Yamaha YZ450F in 2023, which was a big change. From week one, we already felt much better on the new bike. It was a big change, and for me, it was very good, especially in supercross, where I struggled a little bit. We had a lot of testing to do with the new bike and all the new parts, but it’s been going well. It feels really good, and I think we are in a way better spot than last year. We have big expectations for the new season, and everybody’s ready; everybody wants to win, and we are going to do everything for that.”
Justin Cooper – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“It’s been a good off-season. We took some time off after RedBud (Motocross of Nations) before getting back to grinding away. I got on the 450 a few weeks ago to try and get my feet wet there and learn the bike. There’s a lot to adapt to, but the process has been fun. I enjoy riding the 450. I’ve always felt like I’ve been a better 450 rider, and I’m looking forward to racing it. It’s a new group of guys, and obviously, the power delivery is different from a 250, so there are going to be a lot of things to get used to, but I’m ready for it. I’m just looking to get my feet wet and learn the bike, learn the class, and get the experience. I think that’s the most valuable thing right now.”
Words: Press Release
Image: Yamaha Racing