Advertisement

Jo Shimoda is riding well and making smarter decisions with consecutive podiums

One of the most anticipated moves for the 2024 Monster Energy Supercross was the signing of Jo Shimoda to the Honda Racing Corporations 250 West team vacated by Jett Lawrence.

It took a few races to make the right decisions on his new ride, but with back-to-back podiums at Glendale and Seattle, Shimoda is living up to expectations.

Shimoda's season started respectably enough with a fourth-place finish in the Anaheim 1 season opener after finishing a modest ninth in his heat. After all, expectations hold that riders often take a race or two to get comfortable.

SX 2024 Rd 11 Seattle Cooper Webb.jpg
SX 2024 Rd 11 Seattle Cooper Webb.jpg

Cooper Webb wins fierce 450 Supercross showdown in Seattle, Levi Kitchen claims home state 250 win

Follow along for live coverage on Round 11 of the Supercross season from Lumen Field in Seattle, Washington

  • Dan Beaver

    ,

  • Dan Beaver

    ,

The next week, Shimoda both heated up and cooled off in San Francisco. It appeared Shimoda would pick up where Lawrence left off and regularly pace the field. He handily won his heat. Unfortunately, Shimoda tipped over in extremely muddy conditions, could not get his bike to refire and retired in last place.

It was not the debut Honda fans anticipated, but given the extremely muddy conditions in San Francisco, no one would form a judgment from that poor showing.

Far more concerning was Shimoda's inability to score a podium in his next two starts. But he came close with fourth-place results at both San Diego and in the overall results of Anaheim 2's Triple Crown.

And buried within that second statistic were signs everyone sought. Shimoda had a poor Race 1 to finish ninth, but back-to-back podiums in the next two features contributed to fourth-place points and started his uphill climb.

More to the point, Shimoda knew where he needed to work.

"My riding has been pretty good since the beginning of the rounds but I can't get the starts," Shimoda said in the post-race news conference after finishing third in Seattle. "I feel like I haven't gotten one good start and today I had a decent one and crashed out multiple times but still somehow, with this track being super-difficult, ended up on the podium tonight. It was a good one for me, so I'm stoked on this one."

Since his trouble in the first race of Anaheim 2, Shimoda has swept the podium and started the slow rise through the standings. Dropping to 13th because of his failure to finish in San Francisco, Shimoda improved to seventh after San Diego, sixth following Anaheim 2 and fifth entering a long break in 250 West action once Glendale was in the book. He remains there after his second consecutive podium.

"I feel like I can still win but the class is getting tighter and tighter," Shimoda said. "You can't have any mistakes. Like for me, I lost like 10 seconds because of the crash."

SX 2024 Rd 10 Indianapolis Cameron McAdoo.jpg
SX 2024 Rd 10 Indianapolis Cameron McAdoo.jpg

Mindfulness turned Cameron McAdoo’s Supercross program around

Cameron McAdoo: “I’m the same person whether I have success on Saturday night or not” and that has been a hard lesson to learn.

  • Dan Beaver

    ,

  • Dan Beaver

    ,

Starts are part of the equation. In fact, on wet tracks like San Francisco, San Diego and Seattle, they can often be critical. But starts do not tell the entire story and Shimoda is continuing to write his 2024 notebook.

Seattle was not a full-blown mud race, but like Daytona in the 250 East division earlier this season heavy, persistent rain before the Main created soft conditions and massive ruts.

And that is where the second part of Shimoda's improvement comes into play.

"You have to adjust what you expect," Shimoda said. "On race day, you have to figure out shortened segments. [Seattle] was hard because we had Free Practice canceled so we had to go right away. It was stressful, but I think it's the same for everyone. We have to be, not only with riding good, but smart with your own decisions."

Pre-season expectations also need to be adjusted, but a top-three points' showing is in reach.

Shimoda sits 37 points out of first and with four rounds remaining — two of which are highly competitive East-West Showdowns — it's unlikely Shimoda can catch 250 West points' leader Levi Kitchen or second-place RJ Hampshire at +29, but Jordon Smith's pair of crashes in Seattle dropped him to within 16 points and has him in reach for third. Fourth-place Garrett Marchbanks is only 11 points above Shimoda.

More Supercross News

Cooper Webb wins fierce 450 Seattle Supercross showdown
Mindfulness turned Cameron McAdoo’s SX program around
Jett Lawrence sweeps Indy Triple Crown
Coty Schock returns to SX only five days post-surgery
Michael Mosiman joins Star Yamaha
Robbie Wageman reprises retro gear
5 things to watch for in Indy
Haiden Deegan penalized for second time at Birmingham
Jett Lawrence extends points lead with Birmingham win
Haiden Deegan almost ends Coty Schock’s Cinderella season