Monster Energy Factory Yamaha got the jump on Silly Season. The team announced today that they have signed multi-year contracts with Justin Barcia and Aaron Plessinger to ride Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross in the 450 Class in 2019 and beyond. The exact number of years the contracts specified was not announced.
Barcia joined the team prior to the 2018 season as a fill-in rider and was later signed through the rest of the year when Davi Millsaps announced his retirement. After struggling the last few years, Barcia turned his career around in 2018 and returned to podium form both indoors and out.
“I’m really excited to extend my contract with the team. It’s an honor and a pleasure working with everyone at Yamaha,” Barcia said in a team statement. “It started out as just a fill-in ride and it turned into something a lot more. I can’t ask for a better team; it’s just been awesome. We’ve really turned my career around. I was in a really tough place, struggling a lot, and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do next, and Yamaha gave me the opportunity to ride a really good motorcycle and I went out there and gave it my all and put in some really good results. It’s just been a pleasure working with all the guys on the team and riding the new Yamaha 450. I’m really excited for the future and I hope to finish out my career at Yamaha; that’s definitely my goal.”
The team also announced that Aaron Plessinger, who is coming off a 250SX West Region title and a 250 Class Pro Motocross title, will move to the 450 Class full-time starting next year. His last race on a 250 will be at the upcoming Motocross of Nations, where he is riding the MX2 class.
“Signing with Yamaha for the 450 Class is amazing! I've been with Yamaha since 2008 and we have had an awesome relationship ever since. I feel like it's going to go really well for me next year, just being on a great team with good people around. I can't wait to start testing and get my bike dialed in!”
Cooper Webb and Yamaha’s time appears to have come to an official end. Webb, who has ridden for Yamaha his entire pro career, is expected to sign with Red Bull KTM this off-season.