Another day, another announcement of a rider’s plans for the next race season. The latest news pertains to Phil Nicoletti, who has signed a deal with the Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha team to race the upcoming Supercross portion of the 2018 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series and then the entire 2019 schedule of events that will all take place in Canada. Nicoletti stated repeatedly in the closing rounds of the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship that it looked like he would not be able to reach an agreement with teams in the United States for the 2019 season and hinted at moves to Canada or Europe, so the announcement with Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha comes as no real surprise.
2018 was a defining season for Nicoletti, as it showed he had fully recovered from the severe ankle injury that sidelined him for almost all of 2017. The year started with the AutoTrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing team in the 250 West Coast Region of the Monster Energy Supercross Series, during which Nicoletti won a Heat Race in the mud of the 2018 Seattle Supercross, had a SX season-best finish of sixth place in the 250 Main Event at the 2018 Salt Lake Supercross, and then transitioned into a fill-in ride in the 450 class for the opening rounds of the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. Near the midway point in the summer it became clear that AutoTrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing was not going to need Nicoletti for the full summer, so he parted ways with the team and closed out the summer with the Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna team in the 450 class. With the factory Husqvarna team, Nicoletti scored a career-best third place overall finish at the 2018 Unadilla Motocross and finished the series ranked sixth in the championship.
Nicoletti’s first race with Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha will be the 2018 Montreal Supercross, the kickoff of the four-race series. Nicoletti will then race the full schedule of Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series events that run throughout the year in Canada and includes an Arenacross series and the outdoor motocross National championship.
The press release is posted in full below…
Cochecton, New York's Phil Nicoletti has signed with Team Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha to join Matt Goerke and Dillan Epstein in the upcoming four-round 450 Pro SX Tour segment of the Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series. Nicoletti has also been signed to campaign the entire 2019 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown Series for the team.
Nicoletti, who resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, comes fresh off the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team, with which he recorded a sixth-place overall finish in the AMA 450 Pro Motocross National Championship.
Twenty-nine-year-old Nicoletti was a successful amateur before turning pro in 2006. He competed as a privateer during his first few years in the 250 class. Until riding for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna this season, Nicoletti spent five years with Huntersville, North Carolina-based JGR Yamaha. Among his career highlights are more
than 30 top-10 to top-3 motocross nationals finishes.
"Phil will be a great addition to the team. He's a solid motocross and supercross rider and came through for Rockstar USA this summer and we took an interest in him. Due to our Rockstar partnership it was a no-brainer to sign him when the opportunity came up," said Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha team manager Steve Simms.
Nicoletti has very little racing experience in Canada - Walton Transcan GNC (2007); Montreal Supercross (2010) - and is virtually unknown here, something he is intent on changing.
"I'm really excited to have signed with Rockstar Energy OTSFF Yamaha and looking forward to this new opportunity that will take me to Canada to race on a brand of bike I am very comfortable with," Nicoletti said. "I haven't seen much of the country and doing the nationals will allow me to experience what I have been told is a really beautiful place. I like new challenges and meeting new people, making new friends, racing new tracks. It keeps things interesting. We'll see what happens but I definitely want to win some races in Canada."