GIECO Powersports Honda’s Justin Barcia got off to a great rookie debut in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championships, leading both 250 motos at the opening round in Glen Helen and going on to post 9-3 moto finishes for sixth overall. The Georgia native came from an illustrious amateur career and seems to be on track to do the same as a pro.
We spoke with Barcia at the Texas round of the series to see what he thought so far of his rookie season.
Cycle News: You had a great race at Glen Helen. Was that a surprise to you?
Justin Barcia: Yeah, it was a bit of a surprise. I had good motos and great starts and I just rode like myself and it actually turned out pretty good.
CN: Are you typically a good starter?
JB: Yeah, I practice my starts a lot at Millsaps Training Facility.
CN: What about the Glen Helen track, was that a good track for you?
JB: Glen Helen was a gnarly track. I’ve certainly never ridden anything like that in my amateur career. It was gnarly uphills and downhills – the roughest track I’ve ever ridden and it worked out good, I just rode smart.
CN: What were your thoughts when you were leading the race?
JB: I wasn’t really thinking, I don’t think. It was just an incredible feeling.
CN: That was your first pro race, what were your expectations going into it?
JB: I didn’t really have any expectations. I definitely wanted to be top 10, but it worked out better than that, so it was good.
CN: Do you have new expectations now that you have a few races under your belt?
JB: I’ve won so many amateur races over the years and I’m used to being up front and I know I can do that now in the pros so that’s where I want to be. I want to win races and I definitely think I will be able to do that but it’s going to take time.
CN: Factory Connection signed you early on in your amateur career, just like they did with Blake Wharton. Do you think that helped you get acclimated with the team and perhaps give you a jump on your pro career?
JB: Yeah, I was riding their bikes as an amateur and I got to test my race bike way early as an amateur. So it was really a good deal, and this is a great team.
CN: What is the biggest difference you see in amateur racing and racing in the pros?
JB: The difference is just longer motos and more guys on the track. You just have to be very consistent, that’s the main thing.
CN: How about your conditioning? You developed arm pump at Glen Helen, so was conditioning a factor?
JB: No, not at all. My conditioning is perfect right now. I just had a little arm pump at Glen Helen, but at Hangtown I was alright. I’ve been having problems with my hand, it’s got a big hole in it and it’s been bleeding but it’s all healed up now.
CN: At Hangtown you got another holeshot.
JB: Yeah, I got the holeshot and checked out then Pourcel caught up to me and passed me with three laps to go and I just stayed on him and got second. In the second moto I got a bad start and came through the pack to sixth and I lost my front end and [Austin] Stroupe hit my bike. It took me a while to start my bike so I finished pretty far down.
CN: What about Supercross, are you looking forward to that series?
JB: For sure, I’m excited about Supercross, but right now I’m just focused on the outdoor series. I ride a little Supercross every once in a while and I think I’m a good Supercross rider, so I’m excited about that.
CN: You’re from Georgia, so do you prefer the east coast tracks.
JB: Yeah, for sure. I like the dirt back east better. I’m actually kind of happy to be out of California, it’s not my favorite place to be, the dirt’s a bit different.
CN: You will be riding a lot of tracks this year that are new to you, do you think that will be a big disadvantage for you?
JB: No, I don’t think it will be too much of a disadvantage. I adapt to tracks pretty fast, at Glen Helen and Hangtown, I had pretty fast practice times, so I picked up those tracks pretty fast.
CN: Any tracks you are looking forward to going to as a pro?
JB: I’m really looking forward to going to Southwick, actually. I’ve ridden there as an amateur and I like it.