Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing Team’s Justin Barcia overcame a tough start outside the top 10 in the Main Event to prove his speed was front-runner worthy as he battled back to a fourth-place finish inside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Teammate Aaron Plessinger was running in the top 10 when he ran into trouble of his own, managing a 16th-place finish.

The day proved to be challenging for the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing Team but they rose to that challenge to give it everything they had at the first east coast round of the season. Barcia continued to come up against tough starts, though his final result proved he wasn’t going to let it define his day. After starting 14th on lap one, he picked off the riders one-by-one to make a last lap pass for fourth, Barcia’s best finish since round two. The points standings continue to remain close, with Barcia in fourth.

There are some days that rider’s don’t seem to gel with a track and that was the case of Plessinger in Tampa. While practice went well for the Ohio native, the rest was an uphill battle. At the gate drop of the Main Event, Plessinger was just inside the top 10 and was maintaining a good pace. A tip over halfway through the race in the whoops cost him some time and pushed him all the way down to 20th. He got back up and did what he could to make up the points, finishing the night in 16th.

The team makes their way to Lone Star State for Round 8 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship on Saturday, February 22, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Jim Perry – Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“It turned out to be a good day after a tough start. The guys worked really hard and had things figured out by the Main Event, but the poor starts really hampered the results of the day. Justin got a solid top-five finish, coming back through the pack to finish fourth. Aaron had a tough Heat race and was okay in the Main but had the tip over that put him behind the eight ball. Both guys had adequate times, the starts just weren’t there. We are going to have to start up there (at the front) to race for podiums or challenge for the win. The guys will be working on that this week, because it will be key at the Triple Crown next round in Arlington, and will hopefully be challenging for the win.”

Justin Barcia – Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing
“I had a pretty scary crash in practice so it was good to walk away from that. My hand just slipped off the bar over the triple and I went flying. This track was a difficult track. I wasn’t expecting it to be so hard packed. We made some good changes going into the night, but I got another one of those bad starts in the Main. I was able to charge through the pack and got fourth place. My bike was working well on the track, it was awesome. It was hard to pass out there, but I was able to make it work. All in all, I gained some confidence going through the pack like that. I’m looking forward to being back at home this week before the next round in Texas.”

Aaron Plessinger – Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing
“I felt good in practice, flowing well. In the end, the dirt was a lot different down here than what I thought it would be. I thought there would be a lot more ruts. I didn’t get great starts which cost me. And then me and the whoops weren’t getting along much today and I ended up going down there. When I got up, I was staying at pace with the guys at the front. I know the speed is there. I just need to put myself in a good position from the start. We’ll get them next week. I’m excited for the Triple Crown next weekend. It will be a good change.”


Dan Lamb is a 12+ year journalist and the owner of MotoXAddicts.