Justin Barcia confirmed he has his eyes fixed on going for the supercross title this year and that he expects to stay on with Yamaha – all while reigning his aggressive attitude.
Speaking in the press conference, the man who only had six race deal with Yamaha but lies second in points, said: “It was a good rebound (from last weekend) and shows I am going to be running up in the top five and battle for this championship. Ken was coming and kept the pressure on and Eli was riding great out front but at the end we were all pretty close and it was pretty exciting.”
Barcia then said he hopes (unsurprisingly) to continue on the Yamaha for the rest of the season and admitted it was working out great for both parties. “I plan on being with the Monster Energy Yamaha team for the rest of the season. It was a great opportunity to show I still had that fire from a couple of years ago. I think it’s worked in Yamaha’s favour and mine, so it’s great, I hope to continue the relationship.”
It would be almost unthinkable for Yamaha to not extend Barcia’s contract now especially when he is in a prime position to finally go for the title he has always dreamed of.
And Barcia, on his side, says he even thought about retiring, admitting he could have live an, “alright life” with the money he has already made, but he wanted to continue racing.
“I’m 26 now, for me I needed figure out if this was what I wanted or if I wanted to retire, I could have had an alright life retiring,” admitted Justin. “For me I had to take a little break, clear my head and think about things. I was going to race on my own but luckily this Yamaha thing came up.”
“It just shows if you get your mental game back in check and a strong team behind you and a new, strong motorcycle, it’s like I was given all the puzzle pieces and had to glue them together. I changed everything but mentally going through those tough years made a tougher person mentally. What I thought was tough back then is really not that bad.”
Barcia also revealed a change in attitude to the riders around him and made the entire press room, including Roczen and Eli, laugh when he acknowledged his past mistakes while talking about an altercation with his teammate, Cooper Webb, at Anaheim two.
“After the finish, I was going to jump to the inside but he tucked inside last minute and I rear-ended him a bit and he thought I did it on purpose,” explained Justin. “He was mad at me and yelled some stuff and I was yelling back telling him I didn’t do it on purpose but when we got back to the truck I said, ‘ dude, if I’m going to hit anyone it wouldn’t be my teammate.’
Barcia then sent the room into fits of laughter by adding: “Maybe back in the day I would have sent it in there! But I have honestly smartened up quite a bit” admitted a frank Barcia in front of the assembled media and some of his rivals. “Racing is far more fun when it is clean, aggressive racing. I have done some stupid stuff – Kenny can vouch for that, Eli too – probably everyone!” At that points the whole room was laughing in agreement, including Tomac and Roczen.
Barcia then admitted he is trying to right the wrongs of his past. “I am rebuilding lots of relationships around the races. Today I was mad at Marvin, because he got in the way but then I yelled at him too much and said, ‘sorry dude!”
Right now, Justin appears to be a reformed character and it is showing in his results. The test will be when the pressure is on – will he still be able to control his emotions if the title comes down to the wire? But at this stage, it’s great to see Barcia back at the front and enjoying his racing.