Justin Barcia was certainly an underdog pick to win the main event the Monster Energy Supercross Series season-opener in Anaheim on Saturday, but that’s exactly what the 12-year veteran went out and did. A winner at this same Major League Baseball stadium a year ago, the native New Yorker struggled throughout the rest of the series to place 13th. But to many race insiders and veterans, there was something special about Barcia’s latest win. On his Monster Energy Yamaha, Barcia kept his cool and came away with a huge victory.
Q: You won at Angel Stadium one year ago. You’ve now won the opening round of the Monster Energy Supercross Series for the second year. Do the two wins feel different from one another?
JUSTIN BARCIA: Yeah, for sure. Last year’s win was more of a shock than anything. It was a mud race and it just worked out that I won it, but this year the win feels more right. Last year I wasn’t super-comfortable, and this year I felt way more comfortable.
Q: Having won Anaheim a year ago, will you take anything you learned from the 2019 season and its opening phase, and apply it all at the next round of the series this Saturday evening in St. Louis?
JB: Yeah, I definitely felt more like a veteran this Saturday. I was able to regroup after a mistake and put the race together as I went. I had that one mistake, but I was able to recover from it and get back into the lead. For sure, it’s definitely a long-term goal to win this thing. It’s not just winning one race and the title done.
Q: All things considered, how was race day for you? You were hovering around the top six and seven in day qualifying, yet appeared to really ignite when you left the line to start your heat race.
JB: It was a good day. Qualifying went well for me. I felt fast and very in control, and I didn’t think there was anything that I necessarily needed to fix. I was hitting my marks pretty good. I was hitting all the rhythm lanes well. For me, winning practice has never been the goal; it’s more about wining races. Once the gate dropped and I got a good start, I just started chipping away at it and getting my times lowered, so overall it was just a good day. It was a lot of fun and I’m super-pumped on it. Going into St. Louis this Saturday, I like that stadium and I think that dirt there is good. It gets pretty rutted and it does get a little slippery, but I feel for me and with the set-up now that I have on my bike, I just feel like that will be a good and fast track for me. I can excel there and do really good.
Q: All sorts of racing people from all sorts of racing disciplines were impressed by your Anaheim performance. Did you pick up on any of that?
JB: Yeah, I did. It was cool. I’ve made a lot of friends in this sport over the years – photographers, and people like you, and people from Monster and Yamaha. It was really cool to get the texts from people who I know really care. The smiles at the races and the hugs and all that good stuff, it was just so cool to see. And all those people that have stuck behind me – and have always stuck behind me – were really happy that I was able to put it together and get back up there. I was very happy to hear a lot of people tell me that I looked as good as I did.