With Davi Millsaps announcing his retirement yesterday, Monster Energy/Knich/Factory Yamaha has upgraded Justin Barcia to full-time status with the team. Barcia was originally contracted to race six Monster Energy Supercross races for Yamaha while Millsaps healed up from an off-season crash. Of course, Barcia's superb early-season results (three podiums in five races) would have likely forced Yamaha to keep him even if Millsaps returned. Back in December, Yamaha team manager Jim Perry told us that if Barcia is putting the bike on the box consistently, Yamaha would find a way.
Today's announcement also indicates Barcia is locked in for Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. Overall, this is one of the most sudden career turnarounds in recent memory and arguably the greatest injury fill-in pickup ever. In just three months, Barcia has gone from out of work to legitimate 450SX title contention!
Monster Energy/Knich/Factory Yamaha's full press release is below:
Cypress, CA — Justin Barcia, who is currently ranked third in the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Championship, was signed by Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. (YMUS) to continue racing his #51 Yamaha YZ450F for the Monster Energy/Knich/Yamaha Factory Racing team throughout the remainder of the supercross season, as well as the 2018 AMA Pro Motocross Championship, which begins in late May. The announcement was made by Keith McCarty, Motorsports Racing Division Manager for YMUS.
According to Keith, “We’re delighted to extend Justin’s contract through the completion of both the 2018 supercross and motocross seasons. Justin’s results aboard the all-new 2018 YZ450F have been as great as we hoped they would be. We knew when we signed him to the original six-race deal and saw how well he rode the new bike in testing, that it was the start of something special. We believe in Justin, and all of us at Yamaha are looking forward to his continued success with our factory team.”
Justin commented, “When I first threw my leg over the 2018 factory YZ450F, I knew that I had a weapon with which to go for the championship. I'm just super happy and grateful to be with Monster Energy/Knich/Yamaha Factory Racing, and I’m glad that it’s now full-steam ahead for the rest of the supercross season, and through the motocross season as well. I get along really well with everyone on the team, and knowing that I have the best team behind me gives me a ton of confidence.”
Justin and his Monster Energy/Knich/Yamaha Factory Racing teammate Cooper Webb (#2) are getting ready for the sixth round of the 2018 Monster Energy Supercross Championship, which is this weekend in San Diego.