At the Monster Energy Cup Chad Reed appeared to be a real, full-time member of the Autotrader /Yoshimura Suzuki team, as he was the lone racer for the squad. He got great starts all night and steadily progressed in speed until he was able to nail down third in the final race. But this could be the end for U.S. racing for Reed and JGR—Chad will race this bike in Australia a bit, but a deal is still not in place yet for the 2019 season. If this is the end, at least he ended it with a standard Reed podium-level result.
A year ago Justin Barcia was in an even more desperate spot, bringing his own Honda to the Monster Energy Cup as a privateer. Later, he picked up a Monster Energy Yamaha deal and hit the rejuvenation button. He was fast at Monster Energy Cup but starts plagued him.
Steve Matthes caught up with both after the race.
Justin Barcia | 4-2-7 for fourth overall
Racer X: Went down in the first turn third moto. Probably would have had an overall podium if you’d been able to pull any kind of start.
Justin Barcia: Yeah, for sure. I think I would have been up there. Bummer. It’s a super bummer. Started out a little slow at the beginning of the day. We’ve been on the Motocross of Nations train, so I had two days of supercross before this, but I felt fairly comfortable. A little tight all day, but as soon as the motos hit I picked up the pace up and was right on par with everyone. The last moto was a bummer because even when I got up, I was moving through the pack super good. It’s a lot more positives than negatives because compared to where I was last year going into supercross, this year I feel like I can win.
You were on a Honda last year here.
And I was on a privateer Honda last year. So, I feel good. Super happy with little, little preparation for this race. Came out all right.
You crashed early going into the first turn, so did somebody clip your front tire and you had to step off kind of?
Yeah, I just didn’t have great starts today and got pinched a little, and then just got caught up with a couple guys and went down. So that was kind of all she wrote. Charged through the pack good and was happy with my riding for sure in the main events. The second one was awesome. I feel like the third one should have been good, too.
I thought you were one of the better guys in the sand. That’s probably not a surprise.
Yeah, I can ride the sand.
Even guys would hit bottom, bog out, and you never seemed to. You seemed to be able to keep light.
Yeah, in practice I was bogging down a little, but in the motos I just was sending it as far as I could and getting big air time. I was definitely doing sand. We’ve got Assen next year for Motocross of Nations. I’ll probably be the better sand riders [in the U.S.] , so I assume I’ll probably go next year, but that place will be nuts.
I didn’t get a chance to ask you about des Nations. I’m sure you don’t want to talk about it, but let’s talk about it. You’re 0 and 4 at this race. For the most part, you’ve ridden your balls off at this thing. It looks like you’re trying hard. I don’t know what the hell happened this year, dude. I really don’t know. It’s got to be super frustrating for you.
I don’t have no issue talking about Motocross of Nations. I think when I got a good start, I rode second behind [Glenn] Coldenhoff in the qualifying race and that was solid. Then in the real deal races I didn’t have good starts and kind of was buried and had to charge through the packs. Had a mechanical the last race that held me back and got me passed by a few guys. I don’t want to be that guy that’s like, it’s not a fair race. I don’t want to be that guy that says that, but I’m going to say it because it’s an MXGP race.
You have a point, absolutely.
We should have had an advantage going to RedBud but it wasn’t because they changed the whole track. They changed the soil. The start gates are very unique. Eli got full sideways on one because it was painted [and more slippery]. We don’t know that. There’s a ton of little things that get in our way. I think we need to, as a team and if Roger’s team manager again next year, I think we all need to really sit down and be like, what do we have to do? Next year is going to be no easier than this year. That track is gnarly. It’s a bottom of sand on a road race track. So I think it won’t be easy next year. It’s never easy, but it will be extra hard. Honestly, we’ll have to probably go live in Belgium after this season. Let’s be realistic.
Where’s Barcia? He’s in Belgium.
Yeah. That’s the dedication I think we are going to have to have. I took off a week and change after the season, but I don’t think you can do it if you want to win that race anymore. Unfortunately, no one knows this, and I haven’t told anyone, but I came back from my little chill-out and crashed the second day riding and had to take another week off. So I was way behind the ball, feeling good-wise riding outdoors. Obviously I put it on the line to do my best. I think we need to look at it a little differently maybe. Can we win next year? Yeah, but it will be brutally hard. We’ll have to be insane. Jeffrey [Herlings] will be gnarly there and a lot of other guys will be gnarly.
They’re the heavy favorites going in, for sure. I told Aaron [Plessinger] this, too. I talked to Aaron after the race. I didn’t get a chance to find you. But I saw you did some videos and some interviews. I think that’s admirable. Other USA guys, and I’m not pointing fingers, but when you guys lose—not you—no interviews. Everyone’s pissed and everything else. I think when things go shitty, that’s when you see how people react. You did media. You talked about the race. I just wanted to say that’s a good deal.
Thanks. Honestly, the position I’m in now, the stuff I’ve had to go through to get back to this position, it can always be worse. So you just need to be cool. Shit happens. We didn’t win, but suck it up. We got beat straight up. We did. Oh well. Tried our hardest. Try again.
Any off-season stuff for you?
Yeah. I have Geneva, so that’s the only one I was going to do. I was supposed to do Australia but I’m having eye surgery, actually.
Yeah, I’m having Lasik. I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time but I wasn’t sure if I was a candidate really, and I found a really good doctor in California.
I got it done. It’s amazing. I love it.
The hard thing for me is I’m supposed to wear glasses but I don’t want to wear glasses because I can’t wear them at the track. I tried contacts and they move too much. So I’ve kind of been a little bit not seeing good. I’m excited to get my eyes fixed. Geneva will be my first race again. I love going there. I met my fiancée there, so it’s pretty cool. We’re getting married in November. Things are great for me. I’m happy. I feel like this was a confidence booster for me, only having a little time and I rode good today. Going into supercross I feel confident I’ll be a guy.
Chad Reed | 9-16-3 for eighth overall
Racer X: You’re back. You’re better than you were last year, so that’s good. That’s a good start. You got better as the night went on, that’s good. How’d you feel?
Chad Reed: I feel good. I came in feeling happy where I was at, but knowing that practicing and racing is obviously really different. When you struggle so much, it’s a building process. I think that I kind of had that attitude and got great starts, and then just tried to go. I was definitely out of my league with the intensity in the first one, and then got another great start. I was feeling more up to speed, more myself. It was coming much more natural. We made some really good adjustments with the bike. But unfortunately I jumped a little long and got into the ruts, and then the mud, rock, or something just locked my rear brake on.
That was a weird deal. It looked like you just slid into the fence.
I just came to a massive halt, and then unfortunately obviously those guys not expecting that, they all just piled into me. Marvin [Musquin] got the worst of it. Got his foot in my back wheel. I was happy to progress throughout the day and then into the night program and get good starts. So I’m not surprised by anything, to be honest. My weaknesses, or our weaknesses, I felt were coming in, and they were very clear on what they were. So then I honestly gave up on qualifying and we just went to work on a couple of things.
We couldn't have been happy with those practice times.
No. The simple answer is no, but I truly don’t give a shit about qualifying.
I know, but not that bad.
But it’s like a half second here, a half second there and suddenly I’m there. So I’m just honestly proud of the guys because we made really good progress and we box this thing up on Monday and it goes to Australia. So, for me, this was an amazing stepping stone. I think we’re boxing up a good bike. Ready to go on to Aus.
You said you didn’t have the intensity in the first one and it showed. You definitely got shuffled back quicker than you would have liked. How do you fix that? Is this a matter of being a little bit mental where “I’ve got to go a little crazier for main number two?” I don’t know how that happens.
I honestly think that—this is my opinion, what’s real for me. We come here. The track’s way too fast. I hate going that fast. I haven't raced in a long time, although I did Ironman and whatever but it was a mud race and blah, blah, blah. So I just think that I always come here coming off of a summer off, blah, blah, blah. Not to use that as an excuse, but just for me, I lack that drop the gate, go racing [intensity]. You can’t cheat. There’s no shortcut to that. I have to come out here, and I think Monster Cup schedule, the three gate drops, is so awesome for what I want and what I need at this point in the year. I need to go out and I need to do multiple gate drops. Every time I get a little better. I think that’s something that’s always been the case here. I feel good. I feel like what I learned today, and now we’ll go back and continue that during the week and then come out swinging in Australia.
How close are we to sealing this thing for 2019 supercross? I was trying to get some hard answers from Wheeler and JBone. What are we at?
I guess tell me what they said because I don’t know. I don’t know what that answer is.
My sources said earlier, like two weeks ago, it’s going to happen. I’m like, okay, cool. That’s awesome. Then today, JBone was like, I don’t know. We’re trying. He’s trying. We’re trying. I said, “Bust out the Suzuki marine money and we’ll carry that stupid motor around.” Wheeler said, “No, we can’t do that.” So I left more pessimistic after talking to those two guys. So where are we at?
I guess what’s nice and what I respect is they’ve always been honest with me. I think that the common goal within in the team is that they would like to see me stay around. So for me, they’re being honest with me. They keep me in the loop. Running my own team, I obviously have quite a few contacts in my phone, so we’re trying to make all those calls and all the appropriate things. I believe that it happens. I genuinely think that everybody’s working hard and the things that I see happening behind closed doors, I think that it works out. But unfortunately it’s not a guarantee at all. But I have the next month and a bit of riding and training and I’ll continue that. Obviously if that’s the end of the road, then we need to figure out what’s next. Anything short of a factory team, I’m not going racing next year.
Can’t put you and A-Ray together. You and Alex Ray in a van.
No. I’ve never been in a van. I’m not that desperate to go racing. I’m having fun. I’m enjoying it. It is what it is. If this is the end for me, then that’s the end.
A lot of fans like you, obviously. You’re a fan favorite. What’d they feel about the move over here? Did all your fans migrate to JGR? JBone made a comment about we got a lot more people around.
When you’ve got JBone and Chris here, obviously they see the attention, the crowd alone. But we’re not at that point. It’s not a test ride. I feel like all those boxes are being ticked. It’s really a dollars and cents thing at this point. So fingers crossed.
[Wife, Ellie Reed]: To answer the question, the TwoTwo fans come with the 22. They’re colorblind. It doesn’t matter. They just find him. Husqvarna, Yamaha, Honda, doesn’t matter.