Last Wednesday we heard amateur Nate Thrasher would be a “guest rider” and make his pro debut for the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM team at the Spring Creek National. Then only a day later, the post on the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM team’s Instagram page disappeared. The Tennessee native’s debut was off, and then rumors of a team switch came to light. Rumors were that an unofficial trade would take place between the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM team (who will officially make the switch to Gas Gas motorcycles next year) and the Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha team (who we hear is taking over the 450 factory Yamaha effort in 2021).
As Jason Weigandt explained a week ago in a breaking news post, the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM riders’ contracts have to be redone because of the anticipated brand switch for next year. Thus, Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha stepped in to talk with amateur stud Thrasher. With everything up in the air, Thrasher—although healthy and ready—did not debut at the Spring Creek National last Saturday. Weigandt hinted towards Thrasher moving to the Star Racing Yamaha team:
All we know for sure is that Nate Thrasher won’t be making his pro debut this weekend. But we think this all points to Thrasher racing for Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha next year, and Justin Barcia riding for Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull Gas Gas next year.
Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha was talking to Thrasher, and Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM (soon to be Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull Gas Gas) was talking to Barcia. As Weigandt explained last Friday:
Consider this, in some way, almost like a trade—the TLD team would take the veteran win-now-450 guy (Barcia) and Star takes the future prospect (Thrasher).
If you missed Weigandt's initial reporting on the Thrasher incident from last week, you'll want to make sure you read it.
Well, last night, Thrasher made the news of his switch to Star Racing Yamaha official in an Instagram post.
“I’m am super excited for the future and the opportunity to ride for @starracingyamaha,” he captioned the post. “Can’t wait to get behind the gate on this beast!"
As for Barcia, throughout this off season we had heard a deal with Barcia to Gas Gas next year was looking good. Then we heard he was going to be back at Yamaha with Monster Energy/Star Racing—which would keep him on a Yamaha YZ450F. On Monday night's PulpMX.com show, Steve Matthes reported that Barcia will race for the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull Gas Gas team for 2021 and 2022, but nothing official has been confirmed from either the team or Barcia himself. We will continue to provide the latest on this situation as more information is made public.