“You know, if you would have come to me a couple of years ago and said that I’d be in this situation right now, I would have laughed,” Justin Barcia said, leaning against a broom in the pits of Sam Boyd Stadium. “I guess this is just the way it all worked out.”
Welcome to the 2017 Monster Energy Cup, a race Barcia won back in 2012. But five years ago, Barcia rode a full-on works Honda; today, he’ll race a Honda CRF450R bought from the a dealership floor in Morgantown, West Virginia.
After a three-year stint with the North Carolina-based Joe Gibbs Racing team, Barcia, now 25, is unemployed. The day after September’s Monster Energy MXGP of USA in Jacksonville, where Barcia had a lousy day, he issued an open letter on Instagram stating that he and JGR had parted, adding, “For now I am going to take a little break to allow for my mind, body and spirit to heal and then it will be back to work prepping for 2018 so when an opportunity arises I will be ready.”