Justin Barcia | AutoTrader.com/Monster Energy/JGR Yamaha | 3-3 for second overall in 450MX
Racer X: Seemed like a pretty good day for you today.
Justin Barcia: Yeah, I made some changes in practice. First moto was good. I wasn’t perfect, but just was trying my hardest. Marvin [Musquin] rode super good and got around me. I just couldn’t run the pace. It was hard, but he rode really good. Obviously Kenny [Roczen] rode super good. But all in all the first moto was good. Second moto was tough. It was hot today, just dry and hot. It’s not humid like Florida, it’s super gnarly, but this was not fun to be in at all. I got a good start, decent start the second moto and worked my way up to second. Marvin was hounding me the whole moto and he almost got me a few times but I was able to just kind of push a little bit harder and go through.
After what happened last year, and now this year with second overall, does Budds Creek have a special place in your heart now?
I like this track. It’s fun. I raced here a little bit as an amateur a couple times. The track’s good. They do a great job. It’s one of the better racetracks. There are a lot of lines and options. I think a lot of guys would probably agree with that. It was a little sketchy the first moto. There were a few kickers in some of the faces but luckily they fixed that for the second moto. I almost endoed super hard the first moto.
In the second moto it sounded like it was a willpower battle between you and Marvin. You were trying to break him; he was trying to break you?
Oh it was brutal; it was one of the better battles that I’ve had. He always rides super good and it’s a good person to battle with. It was hard. I was giving it my all, for sure. I laid some good laps down and was able to hold onto him. But I was on my toes for sure. The lappers were extremely bad today. It was tough. The first moto I kept up with Marvin for while just because there are just so many lappers.
He got you last week and in the first moto, so when you turned the tide and you beat him in the next one, is that progression?
I’m making dirt bike progress for sure. Today was a step in the right direction. After first practice I was wondering if we could change something to the engine, we need to change the sprocket, we need to change the front forks, we need to change the shock. So we went into the second practice pretty much with a whole new setup. I’m like, I’m sick of this kind of beating around the bush. So we went for it and it was better. Come the second moto we made a fork change, so we went for it today blind and luckily it worked out for us.
Marvin Musquin | Red Bull KTM | 2-4 for third overall in 450MX
I was pretty happy to end up second in the first moto after my two practices in the morning. I was fighting with the bike, with the track. I was really not happy. We tried to make the bike better for me, for those conditions. It worked out in the first moto. I was happy to get around [Justin] Barcia and get second. It was pretty decent for me. Unfortunately that second moto didn’t end up the way I wanted it to. I felt like it was going to be the same as the first moto and I was going to get around Barcia, but I was trying to be patient and try to follow Justin and make it happen at the end. But I was not able to. Justin was able to push at the end. A little bit disappointed. Like I said, practice was difficult. So to end up third today was good.
In the second moto you reeled Justin in and you guys did one lap where you were running basically identical lap times. That’s when he knew you were there. And then all of a sudden he dropped like 1.2 seconds off of that lap time. What was going on with your pace? Was it just the heat? Was it getting roosted? We could see that you were taking a lot of the same lines that he was taking, but we knew that when you were getting up that close it’s pretty brutal on the body.
Yeah, exactly. There were some sections today that were super sandy, and the moisture was still there. I think when you have somebody behind you, you kind of want to get on the gas when you roll it. I knew he was doing that to roost me, which is the way it is. Everybody kind of does that, and that’s his talent, too. So I’m not mad at it, but I knew about it. I was pushing but I was not able to put that extra to make it happen. I thought I was going to be able to, but I felt like I was just the same pace the whole time. I wanted to get better at the end, but I never did. The conditions were tough. It’s the end of the season and after Unadilla it was tough. It was hot there, and this weekend again. That’s tough on the body too. So it’s been a long season. Only missed one supercross and that’s the first time I’ve raced 16 supercross and then 11 outdoors so far. But I’m not complaining. It’s been good. I’m third in the championship right now, so I’m looking forward to finishing strong in Indiana and get third in the championship.
I was talking to Roger [DeCoster, Red Bull KTM team manager] earlier today and mentioned your name, and he said he was pretty impressed with your 450 rookie season. Do you feel you’ve done pretty well?
Yeah, everybody knows there’s a lot of riders got injured this year and obviously I’m third in the points. But to give it a run like last weekend to Eli [Tomac] for example and proves that, yeah, I got better as the year went on, for sure. So first season, when you look at supercross I got some podiums and second place, so I definitely got better and better as the season went. Same with outdoors. Even though the 450 I never raced it and haven’t ridden a 450 that much, it’s been a process and trying to get better and learn the bike. The other guys, they’re really strong. They’ve been racing for now a couple years on the 450. So it’s good to try to get better and try to get closer to those guys like Kenny and Eli.
Des Nations, I know you put it on Facebook and you explained that you’re not on the team. Everybody’s like, how could that be? He was on last year and they won. So just talk about Des Nations and why you’re not on the team this year.
Well, it’s been a few years that the team didn’t pick me. We’ve been racing Motocross of Nations in Europe on the GP track and I feel like the French Federation likes to have GP riders racing that track that they know. It is a bummer. At the same time it’s been a long season, but still if the French Federation really wanted me to go, I’d be like heck yeah. Represent my country, and it’s something really special. At the same time, they did contact me but it was a couple weeks ago and they were going to announce the team a few days later, so they knew already who they wanted to pick. So that’s the way it is. The thing is they don’t want to talk about it and tell the people why they picked those guys or why they didn’t pick me. I also understand that it was my first year and they were not sure on me on the 450 and if I would have been that good. So to look back to last year, it was just awesome to ride the 250 and be able to win Motocross of Nations. Maybe next year it’s in Glen Helen so they might pick me because it’s almost home for me.
You said in the first practice the bike was uncomfortable. Just elaborate on what kind of changes you guys made?
It’s the balance of the bike and the way the suspension worked. Trying to make it more comfortable or more stable. Last weekend we had a tough track but it’s not like here, this is different. I feel like every track is different. It was really tacky last weekend, and this week was a little bit sandy and still bumpy and rutted. It is difficult. And then you go back home and you have a practice bike that you put a lot of hours on it. Then you jump on the race bike that’s brand new. You’ve got to make yourself happy to feel comfortable on it and make a lot of changes. But I’m really happy to have Mark at WP Suspension and everybody at the team that listens to me. They have more ideas and experience and they can help me.
Did your bike get a fork change or a shock change?
Yeah, a little bit of everything. It’s the position of the forks, it’s the balance of the bike. Little things. It makes a big difference when you ride.
Alex Martin | Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha | 1-4 for second overall in 250MX
Coming off Unadilla, I think it was the first race this year where I didn’t get a podium at all in either moto. So it provided a little motivation for sure just to kind of redeem myself. First moto I got off to a great start and I settled down in there. Made a little mistake and Adam [Cianciarulo] was able to get like five seconds on me, so he had has a good lead, bummer for him he just unfortunately went down on his own. I came around the corner and was like, Sweet that makes my life easy. So just kind of tried to ride out the rest of the moto. It was hot. In my mind I’m like, save it for the second moto. Literally same case scenario as last weekend where it was really hot and humid and a lot of people dropped off in the second moto. So I just tried to save some energy. A couple lappers got in my way there towards the end and I almost lost it. So, fortunately I was able to hold onto it. Second moto I got tangled up with Cooper and Aaron, I think, on the start. All three of us were almost dead last. So I think I was around 15th or 16th and just tried to pick off people and try and be in contention for that overall. I wasn’t really sure where… Forkner and all those kids were still far ahead. I didn’t know where anyone was. Once I passed Adam and I passed Joey I kind of thought the overall was in my grasp but I had no idea that Zach was leading. So that really put a wrench in my plans. It was like two laps to go and the pit board said second overall. I need to pass Cooper but at that point in time I’d been riding behind him for maybe two or three laps and we were almost running a similar pace so it was too late to pass him. And then when that board came out I was like, well I kind of wasted an opportunity here.
It was too late in the race at that point when that came out?
Yeah, it was literally on the two laps to go, the white flag was out. Not much you can do.
Was there anything that you could point to last week or was it just bad circumstances? I know you had a crash in the first moto. Did you feel like you rode okay last week?
No, physically last weekend was a big struggle for me. Just my stomach was killing me, and it just so happened to be the hottest race we had all year. So that was a really bad combo, just to have some stomach issues. I really couldn’t keep anything down. So the energy levels there, I was telling Swanny [Gareth Swanepoel, trainer] between motos, I just wanted to go take a nap. I was so exhausted. Just had to line up for moto two and try to make the best of it. Obviously I benefited from Joey pulling off there, so I’m glad that I did tough it out and finish it. Points-wise even today really helped me out, these last two hot motos.
You mentioned that you’ve been happy with second overall most of the time. Can you believe that you’ve got to this point where moto wins are like no big deal, and now you’re here to get overalls? Or you’re here to get second in points? It’s come a long way in a pretty short amount of time.
Yeah, absolutely. It’s been for sure kind of a dream scene for me, especially coming out of supercross. I don’t think really anything was expected of me. So to come out swinging at Hangtown and basically carry that momentum all the way through the season, and here we are. I’m second still behind Cooper with one round left, and looking to make the best for next week. For sure my mindset now has changed. I think that’s the biggest thing for me, when you’re like an eight-year veteran and you’re riding around in fifth, tenth, or wherever it’s hard to change that mindset. I wasn’t even expecting to win. So I think it’s something that you can learn, just like anything else. I think towards the end of the season that mindset’s come around and even when I get fourth I’m mad at that!
You won a moto here last year and they were like partying for you. It was like, yay, Alex got a moto win! But I don’t think that was the reaction after this first moto win. It’s just like, oh, another moto win.
Yeah, the feelings in-between motos were a lot different this year compared to last year. Last year I was kind of in shock and awe and this year I’m just like, all right, one more moto today, let’s get it done.
How cool is it now holding a solid second in the points?
Obviously the main goal is to win but Cooper wrapped it up today, so congrats to him. To finish second this year is a huge accomplishment for me, especially for where I’ve been in my career. Last year I think we were sixth or seventh, so it’s a huge turnaround and nothing to be ashamed or bummed about. To lock up second in the championship, I’m pretty pumped about it.
Austin Forkner | Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki | 5-2 for third overall in 250MX
It was pretty brutal. It was hot and humid and it takes a lot out of you. The first moto was pretty good. I got actually a really good start and was up there with those guys pretty early. Adam [Cianciarulo] and Alex [Martin] both kind of got away real quick. I was kind of back there battling with [Joey] Savatgy. He ended up getting me and I was in third for a while. And then [Zach] Osborne ended up getting me. Then it was probably around the 25-30 minute mark that they started inching away. I knew where the guys behind me were, so I just kind of put it on cruise control and tried to save a little bit for the second moto. I would have had to push really, really hard to catch those guys, and I might not have even caught them. So just backing down, it was fine and saved some for the second moto. The second moto I got probably fifth or sixth place start. Got in third in the rollers right before the finish line. Just wanted to get going and not let the guys in front of me get away like they did in the first moto, and keep them close. Then Joey made a mistake and I caught him. Adam was probably four or five seconds in front of me and I just kind of started chipping away at his lead. As soon as I caught him I basically got around him pretty quick. Tried to lead as long as I could. Then it was probably the 20-minute mark or so that Osborne started catching me and made the pass on me. I put down two laps that I charged really hard and tried to get him back. He kind of got hung up with some lappers. I charged really hard for a couple of laps trying to get back and kind of just settled in at that point. I had a pretty decent sized gap back to third and I just tried to kind of follow him for a little bit and see what he was doing, if he was doing anything else. If he was doing anything different, like line choice and stuff. But it would have been tough to catch him; at that point I was pretty tired. Just kind of rode it home and got third overall.
Obviously you’re a rookie this year. How many of these tracks have you seen or been to, let alone ridden or raced? Has it been difficult for you to get used to the tracks?
This one today was actually one of the harder ones to get used to. I felt like in practice the lines were changing kind of and going up the hills, you pretty much go up into the turn blind. So you only see the rut right as you’re going into the turn. So in practice I kind of struggled with that a little bit. The motos came around and I was pretty much fine for that. Maybe a little bit in the first moto, maybe I was still getting used to the track a little bit, but not bad. This one was probably the hardest track for me to learn. It was just a little bit odd. I don’t know what it was. It seems like the tracks that I haven’t been to—I haven’t been to Washougal, Unadilla or here—I got podiums at all of them. So it looks like I’m learning tracks pretty quick.
With you being a rookie and the progression you’ve had over the season, with a third place finish are you still happy with that or are you starting to get like third’s not good enough right now?
I feel like third is good. I actually didn’t expect to be on the box overall today. There’s so many guys out there that I think could get it done. But I got it on my pit board I think two or three laps to go it said third overall, so I was pumped on that. It’s always nice to win motos and with how stacked the class is right now it’s going to be tough to get an overall for me. I think just second in a moto is really big for me right now. Really I led for a while today and just leading, just getting experience with that was really good. I think I’m fourth in points right now. I think I have a decent sized cushion on [Aaron] Plessinger now. I’m probably not going to get into third, but fourth I think for my rookie season in the championship is pretty good. Just need to keep getting podiums. The last three races have been really good, podium in all of them. I’d like to have a first or even another second. In the overall it seems like it’s like third, third, third. But we’ll see what happens.