Justin Barcia’s Move To GASGAS | SML News Break
After months of speculation and negotiation, Justin Barcia’s jump to GASGAS for 2021 has been confirmed, a very big deal for both the rider and team.
Barcia came into the 2020 season knowing that he had to produce results to secure another contract with a factory team. A third-place overall finish in the Supercross championship would have earned an automatic renewal with the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing team, something that both groups seemed hopeful for early in the year. Things started off strong for Barcia in the Supercross season, as he outdueled Adam Cianciarulo for the Main Event win at Anaheim One, had the points lead and the red plate for multiple rounds, and came out ahead of Eli Tomac after an intense for a spot on the podium in Atlanta.
Unfortunately, Barcia struggled with bike setup and crashes at the Salt Lake City Supercross races and he ended the series in fifth place.
Continued testing with Yamaha and other team partners helped Barcia dial in the YZ450F for the outdoor Nationals, and he was back at the front of the field in the early rounds of the summer series, including a muddy moto win at Loretta Lynn’s Two and an excellent battle with Eli Tomac at Ironman.
There was a small bidding war between Yamaha and GASGAS for Barcia and at different points in the summer, there was little clarity about where he would go in 2021. The personal sponsorship agreements that Barcia had with Alpinestars, Arai, and SCOTT also added to the situation, as the TLD GASGAS deal required a change in gear, helmet, and goggle brands.
Midway through the summer Barcia and GASGAS reached an agreement and talk of his move to the new factory team spread through the pits.
The switch to GASGAS is a major development for the Troy Lee Designs Race team, too. GASGAS, a historic Spanish motorcycle maker, is now part of the KTM company and is intended to sell off-road bikes that are slightly different and more affordable than the orange brand. The motocross and enduro are set to be at dealerships in the next few weeks and will have a full racing program around the world.
The team will be Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GASGAS Factory and will have three riders total: Barcia in the 450 Class, Michael Mosiman and Pierce Brown in the 250 Class.
This is a very big deal for Barcia. He nearly called it quits after a few rough seasons at JGR, raced as a privateer at the Monster Energy Cup in 2017, and turned a fill-in opportunity with Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing into a career-changing three-year run, including a handful of Supercross Main Event and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship wins.
Barcia has already started testing the steel-frame GASGAS 450MC with the team in California. You can see his first laps at KTM’s RD Field facility in a video by TLD.