Star Yamaha name five 250SX rider line up for 2023
Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing heads into 2023 with a talented five-rider line-up for the Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250 class divisional championships. New to the squad next year are Stilez Robertson and Jordon Smith, who are both eager to go supercross racing aboard the championship-winning YZ250F. Together with returning members – Nate Thrasher, Levi Kitchen, and Nick Romano – the team looks to add to their tally of eight 250SX number-one plates and an impressive run of four consecutive years at the top of the 250 class.
Robertson joins the team for 2023 and is one of the sport’s top up-and-coming riders. Although it’s been a roller coaster start since his pro debut in 2020, with injuries that have sidelined him from a complete season, the 20-year-old has shown speed up front. Over the past two seasons, he notched a pair of runner-up finishes at the challenging Daytona Supercross and earned his first outdoor overall podium this year at the RedBud National. Back to full fitness, Robertson is eager to get back on track and battle for top honors with the bLU cRU.
Also joining the team in 2023 is Smith, who has three wins and multiple podiums in the 250 supercross class and took the runner-up spot in the 2018 250SX East Championship. It’s been a tough few years for the rider from Belmont, North Carolina, who was sidelined with injuries the following seasons. Reenergized and healthy, Smith has been training with the team since the outdoor season and is eager to line up behind the gate and fight for a championship.
Thrasher returns for his third full season with the team looking to take the lead and fight for a championship. He turned a lot of heads during his rookie season in supercross, taking two 250SX wins in 2021 at a very physically demanding track at the Atlanta Motor Speedway tripleheader. 2022 was a building year for the Tennessee rider as he continued to make forward progress. Thrasher ended the supercross season on a high note, winning the East-West 250 Showdown at the final round in Salt Lake City, Utah, ending the year fifth in the 250SX West points standings.
Another one of the team’s fast up-and-coming riders, Kitchen returns with the team for his second full season. Although his 2022 season was interrupted by some injuries, the 21-year-old showed a lot of speed as a rookie, winning his first 250MX moto at Thunder Valley. He also enjoyed a solid supercross debut with a top-10 finish at the 250SX East season opener in Minneapolis but unfortunately was sidelined after a crash at the following round. The Washington State rider is ready to return to racing and looks to keep building on his forward progress.
Romano also returns with the team in 2023 and is excited to make his Monster Energy AMA Supercross debut. The New Yorker joined the pro ranks this year for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, and although he too was sidelined with an injury, the 17-year-old showed strength and earned a career-best fourth-place finish in the first moto at his home race at Unadilla.
The Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 250 team would like to thank its partners for their support: Monster Energy, Yamaha Racing, Yamaha Financial Services (YMFUS), Yamalube, GYTR, bLU cRU, Yamaha Bicycles, Thor, Parts Unlimited, Rekluse, FMF, Dunlop, Motion Pro, Works Connection, VP Fuels, Kite, Twin Air, KYB, Cycra, Alpinestars, 100%, Toyota of Escondido, Light Speed, ARC Levers, Race Tech Titanium, Mechanix Wear, Boxo Tools, Antigravity Batteries, CWI, Neken, D’cor Graphics, Vortex ECU, Vortex EK, Braking, Matrix Concepts, ProTaper, Excel and G2 Ergonomics.
Jensen Hendler – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing 250 Team Manager
“We’ve got a bunch of fast guys, a bunch of fast young guys, and we’re looking forward to seeing them continue to grow and battle up front. Everyone has been working hard to get ready and we’re excited to get going!”
Jordon Smith – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“I’ve got a new team this year, and my wife and I have a new baby, so life’s changing a lot for me. I’m just excited to get the season going. I’ve been training for what feels like forever. I trained all throughout the outdoor season and worked with the team, so I’m ready to get racing. I’ve been riding well and I’m feeling good on the bike. I’m looking to win a championship. That’s what Star hired me to do. It’s always the goal to win a championship, but you can’t win it in the first round, so I’m going into the season looking to be smart, get some good starts, and let the cards fall.”
Stilez Robertson – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“I’ve been at the GOAT Farm putting in the work and getting ready for the season with Swanie (Gareth Swanepoel) and everyone with the team. It’s been good so far. There are a lot of new, exciting things and it’s been a lot of fun getting used to those new things. I’m really excited to go racing with this team and to try and put the YZ250F where it belongs – up front. I can’t wait to get behind the gate!”
Nate Thrasher – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“It’s been a good off-season. Everybody says that they’re the fastest they’ve ever been in the off-season, but we’ve been making a lot of progress. I’ve just been trying to improve every week, and I feel like I’ve got a good pace this year; it’s definitely better than last year. It’s my third year with the team and we’ve got more experience coming into this season. I feel like this year we can be a podium guy consistently and contend for a championship, and that’s what we need to do.”
Levi Kitchen – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“I’m really looking forward to the supercross season. I’ve been putting in a lot of laps during the off-season and everything’s been going really well. I didn’t get to race that much last year because I got hurt, so my main focus for supercross next season is to learn a lot and shoot for some podiums, and maybe get some wins.”
Nick Romano – Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing
“The off-season’s been good. This is my first full off-season riding supercross. It was kind of tough getting back into the swing of things after that injury from Unadilla, but it’s been awesome lately, and I’m getting faster and stronger every day.
“I’m super stoked to get my first supercross season started. My main goal is to get all of the rounds under my belt to learn the stadiums, the tracks, and the dirt. Obviously, I have standards for myself, and I want to win, but you’re not going to learn much unless you’re at every round. I’m looking forward to supercross and getting into the outdoors after that.”
Words: Press Release
Image: Yamaha Racing