Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull GasGas rider Justin Barcia started the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season strong, just missing the overall podium at the first two rounds. After 3-6-7-3 moto scores to start the season, he drifted back to 9-6-9-8 finishes at High Point and RedBud. Southwick was much better, with a strong runner-up ride in moto two setting the tone. He came from behind to salvage fourth in moto two, putting him third overall with 2-4 finishes. Barcia talked with the media after the race.
Justin, what are the vibes like at Southwick? Were those vibes part of the reason you got on the podium today, or was it just due regardless of the track?
Yeah, for sure. Obviously, I get a really good vibe on Southwick, but honestly, I expected this to happen last weekend and it just wasn’t meant to be. We weren't ready for that, I guess. I definitely enjoy the fans there. They trip me out hard. We had a whole new setting this week, and the bike worked really good. I felt really good. It all worked good together. So, I was happy. I love this track and love the fans, so that doesn’t hurt anything.
I want to talk about Will Hahn. He’s new to the team and from what I understand, he’s someone that you’ve been pushing to get. Maybe not Wilbur himself, but just a guy like him. Talk about what he’s been doing for you, how it’s been going, and everything else.
It’s been really good so far. Will’s awesome. We were teammates back in the day. Always enjoyed being around him. I knew he probably didn’t really want to move to Florida [Hahn was Team Manager for Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha but the team is relocating to Florida]. He’s got family in California and stuff. So, I saw that opportunity. I knew TK [Tyler Keefe, TLD Team Manager] had always wanted him. I went after Will first. I was like, “You’ve got to do it!” I was trying and trying. It was definitely a work in progress, but I’m stoked to have him. Anyone who knows Will knows he’s a great guy. It’s been really positive so far. Two weekends on, and I’m enjoying it. It’s nice to have a guy who has experienced the ups and downs of the sport and can be there for us.
Justin, you’re still relatively a new team on TLD GasGas, so I know you’re still figuring things out with the bike. Improved this weekend. What have you been learning over the last few weeks and what do you need to make better?
It’s definitely a learning process. I love the bike. I enjoy it, but it’s a lot different than what I’ve been used to the last few years. It’s really good to have the big umbrella of KTM/Husky/GasGas and all the guys in Europe as well. I built my own setting and I was happy with it in the beginning of the season, then we got on the more east coast tracks and we were searching, searching, searching and couldn’t really figure it out. We were working really hard, and then we looked at some stuff and made the decision what we needed to do this week. Obviously, it was the right decision and we’re stoked. It’s like anything, a new job or new whatever. It’s a learning process but still really happy with the team and all the guys over there.
Is there anything specific you can point to, or just trying some different settings here and there? Can you get into details with that a little bit?
Sure, why not? We got forks, shock, and a link. So it was quite different. I was really struggling the last few weeks. Everyone has been struggling a little bit. I think Cooper [Webb] was struggling a little, Marv [Musquin] maybe a little. They seemed like they were a little better this weekend. I’m not sure what they’re on. I don’t really keep up to date on that. At least for me, super stoked on the direction we went and everyone working together.
Justin, that second moto you needed to make up two positions at one point to get on the podium. Did you know that? It really looked like you dug deep.
Yeah. I was definitely super disappointed in the start. It was a decent start, I was near the top five so I was like, whatever, it’s salvageable. I can do work from there. But then I got absolutely annihilated by another rider. I would have done the same thing back in the day, but now I’m like, “That was stupid!” I was so mad. But I ended up passing the dude and smoking him, so I was like, whatever. I don’t need to say names. But it was good. I went full beast mode. I got stuck behind Christian [Craig] for quite a while. He was riding good. I couldn’t get around him, and then finally made the pass happen. Then I saw Marv and Coop in front of me and just like blood in the water. I wanted it bad. I never knew anything about the overall. I was just going as far as I could in the amount of time I had. I made some really good passes and was definitely gelling with the bike and the track the second moto. I just wish I could have got a start and really shined, but it is what it is.
Justin, we know the vibe with yourself and the TLD team has been positive ever since you joined the team. Have there been any sort of ups and downs, any low points within the team?
Supercross was good. We were happy and we learned. Moving into outdoors, we wanted to be competitive. The last few weeks it’s been hard. Everyone has put their head down and worked really hard together. No complaints. From my side, it seems like the team really believes in me and what I do, and they know I always give a hundred percent and I work super hard. So, I think everyone is still really happy. I don't think that will change, really. I think we have a really good atmosphere over there, especially bringing Will on. It’s been extremely enjoyable. I’m loving it. Hopefully I get to finish out my career there.
Anything specific that Will brings to the table that you were looking to have?
Will brings a great atmosphere. I haven’t had a trainer for a little over a year now. I’m old enough and smart enough to know what I need to do, but it is really nice to have someone that you know you’re going to gel with. The guy has been around a long time. He’s raced and we’ve raced together. We were teammates back in the day. So, I knew Will would bring a really good vibe to the team and that’s already what he’s doing. I knew he would be really good with the training stuff and we’re learning together certain things still. It’s only been two weeks, but I just think turning it around from last week to this week it’s already like, this is going to be good. I think it’s just going to get better from here. Really looking forward to the off-season with Will training and doing some stuff. He knows a lot, I think he maybe gets a little bit underrated with all the stuff he did at Star, in my opinion. But that’s just my opinion. I think he’ll do great stuff here.
Justin, in moto two, when you passed Adam Cianciarulo, he was dragging anchor a little bit. I think he had some arm pump. But you still took him really wide. Talk about that pass.
Do you think that’s the guy who smashed me in the first turn, or no?
Yeah. I think I was actually really, really nice. My M.O. is that I can get more aggressive than that. That’s not my issue. He was dragging anchor.