The chess pieces have fallen for the factory rides and if you’re a rider who didn’t get on one of those teams, well there is always next year! Keep chasing the dream, bros. We’ll get there when it’s time. It’s always awesome to see what a rider looks like on a different OEM. I went ahead and gathered up 5 of the biggest silly season moves (so far) right here for you and broke down what to expect heading into the 2024 SuperMotocross Championship.
Chase Sexton | Red Bull KTM
I feel like I’ve heard rumors about Sexton to KTM for over a year and a half now. The photos are out and the PR has been dropped, so it’s official! Had Sexton joined this team a year or two ago he may have had some issues adjusting to the new model of bike like AP and Webb. However, we’re now a couple years into development and Webb was putting in a serious run at the SX title. So, I’m thinking this is going to be a copy and paste moment for Sexton. He’s going to win races and some more championships before his prime days are behind him. The KTM is also a rebrand for him as he switches to a Red Bull athlete and his new number 4 will be with him come the Pro Motocross Championship. Honda was also a great team for Sexton as he won a ton of races and a championship for the brand. Sometimes you just need a change. Life is good for Sexton and this move will only benefit his career in the long run.
Cooper Webb | Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha
The two-time Supercross Champion Cooper Webb makes the move from KTM to Yamaha, which was the brand that Webb began his pro career on. It’s crazy to think that over ten years ago Webb really didn’t have a pro deal in place even after giving Adam Cianciarulo fits through the amateur days. Star Yamaha stepped in and brought Webb to the pros and he delivered championships and race wins. Now he’s #HOME with a full offseason ahead of him and some SMX Playoff races under his belt. He got better each time he was on the bike as well. I’m looking forward to this version of Webb with a heavy chip on his shoulder. For anyone to count him out of the championship contention would be asinine.
Jo Shimoda | HRC Honda
This one isn’t official yet, but we all know it’s coming. The journey that Jo Shimoda has been on since signing his first pro deal with the GEICO Honda team has been full of highs and lows. The team folded before he was able to truly show his potential. Then he got a chance to fill-in at Pro Circuit and through his results he chipped away and became the team leader. The past two seasons have ended with Jo having some of the highest stock in the 250 class. This move to Honda is happening at the right time. Jo is a championship favorite no matter what coast he is on. The defending 250 champions have moved out of the class, which means that it can be Jo’s for the taking.
Levi Kitchen | Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki
Kitchen moving over to the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team wasn’t the best kept secret in the pits, however it will be strange to watch him on a brand other than Yamaha. He did ride Husqvarna’s two seasons in the amateur ranks, but that doesn’t count right now, okay? I’m high up on the Kitchen hype train because he has the potential to be a multi-time champion in this sport. His riding style is one of a kind and that last SMX Playoff moto truly showed him that he is capable of winning any race. Kitchen is forecasted to win a lot of races this year and to take a title or two down to the home stretch.
Ryder Difrancesco | Troy Lee Designs /Red Bull GasGas
The Team Green days are over for Ryder D and it’s going to be difficult to comprehend that. It looks like he’s a great fit for the vibe of the TLD team. That was evident with the outstanding intro video the team put out. This move will be great for Difrancesco. He’s been riding Kawasaki’s since 2015, so a fresh start won’t hurt. He’s also starting to figure out this pro thing a bit by getting some good starts and running up front. He’s going to be a sleeper heading into 2024. The potential here will put him as a top five guy more often than not, some podiums here and there, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he grabbed his first win.
Main image: GasGas