Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing Team’s Justin Barcia battled back to finish ninth at the penultimate round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship. His teammate Aaron Plessinger crossed the line 14th at the final Wednesday night race of the series at the Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
With rain the night before, practice was cut down to two qualifying sessions due to the track conditions. When it got rolling, it was Plessinger that led the way for the team, qualifying sixth. Unfortunately for Barcia, he went into the day not having 100% movement with a stiff neck and struggled a bit with setup but was able to make improvements in time for his Heat. The pair had solid results there with the sophomore supercross rider continuing to make progress in third and his veteran teammate recovering from a less than ideal gate pick to finish fourth.
In the Main Event, starts continued to be an issue for both riders. Barcia found himself back in 16th and had to make his way through the pack. He quickly worked his way into 13th, passing his teammate and then advanced to 11th by lap six. Around the halfway mark Plessinger passed him, but Barcia retook the position three laps later and continued his forward progress to ninth, where he would ultimately finish the race. Although not the result he was hoping for, it was a decent result on a tough day and he still sits fourth in the standings with one round remaining.
Plessinger fared slightly better on the start in 14th and moved forward a spot, but then lost a few positions, including one to his teammate. He kept fighting and made some gains, but ultimately was shuffled back to where he started.
The team returns on Sunday, June 21, for the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season finale at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
Jim Perry – Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“Today was another step in the right direction. Although the results didn’t show how well the guys rode, they definitely rode better than the positions they finished. Practice was much better for Aaron, and Justin struggled a little bit, but he got that turned around with a few changes in the bike setup. Both guys rode solid in their Heat races, finishing third and fourth. However in the Main Event, we struggled with the starts again and that set us up for a poor result. We’ve got a couple things that we need to work on to get better starts. We’ll come back Sunday and look to fight up front.”
Justin Barcia – Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing
“Unfortunately the other day I woke up and my neck was fully stuck and I couldn’t move it. So I only had a day to try to get that better and it really didn’t get better. The beginning of the day did not go well for me at all. I just rode around trying to get used to the track and loosen up my neck a bit. Luckily, it got a little bit better throughout the day. The Heat race went pretty well, I ended up fourth in that, but it was another one of those not so great starts again in the Main Event. I got a little tangled up in the second corner and then ended up fighting my way back from 16th to ninth.
“I think you can make excuses about not being able to go faster on the track because it was one-lined, but I just didn’t have any more speed than that. I got through it and I’m healthy. I’m just going to keep trying to loosen up my neck. I’m looking forward to Sunday and hopefully will get a run on a solid result.”
Aaron Plessinger – Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing
“I had a great Heat race, a great qualifying, I just couldn’t put it together for the Main. I got an okay start. The track was pretty slick and I just got held up by a lot of people, and I just rode tight. Yeah, the bike’s starting to work better, but I just need to put it together. There’s no excuses. I shouldn’t be finishing outside the top 10 or even the top five. I just have to put one race together. I get one more shot this year. I’ve got to send it. I just want to get out there and ride my dirt bike, have fun and do the best I can at the last race.”