With the 2019 race season quickly approaching, it’s time to bring you up to speed on how the paddock will look come Anaheim One. Over the next few weeks, we will share updates and background on the top racers and teams, including the staff members, gear deals, equipment, and other important information.
It has been four years since Yamaha relaunched their in-house factory motocross racing team, a move that brought the blue brand back into serious competition with the other OEMs. For 2019 the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing team will field two riders, Justin Barcia and Aaron Plessinger, aboard matching YZ450F bikes with Kayaba suspension, Pro Circuit exhausts, Renthal handlebars, Vortex sprockets, Factory Effex graphics, Cycra body parts, Dunlop tires, and assorted GYTR components. Jim Perry will once again serve as Team Manager.
7. Aaron Plessinger
Mechanic | Billy Hartle
Following a banner year with the Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star/Yamaha Factory Racing team that resulted in two 250 class titles, Aaron Plessinger has moved up to the 450 ranks and to the factory spot vacated by Cooper Webb with a two-year contract. This will be a massive change for Plessinger since he has never lined up for a professional SX or MX race aboard the big bike and passed over any opportunity to race overseas in favor of spending the entire offseason with the team in California testing. After spending all of 2018 on the West Coast, Plessinger told us he plans to have an East Coast home base for the latter half of Supercross and the summer months. Thanks to his 250 MX championship, Plessinger has earned a career number and selected 7, which opened up after James Stewart’s absence from competition.
Plessinger extended agreements with Thor MX for gear, 100% for goggles, and added a helmet deal into his existing relationship with Alpinestars that previously covered boots.
51. Justin Barcia
Mechanic | Shawn Bell
When Davi Millsaps was ruled out of competition in 2018 due to a head injury, Justin Barcia moved out of the privateer ranks and right back into a factory spot as a fill-in rider for the first part of the year. Solid results through the opening rounds of Supercross, which included three podiums in the first six races, earned Barcia a contract to complete 2018 with the team, despite a broken hand at the Arlington Supercross. His return to action for the final four SX rounds included top-ten finishes in each Main Event and that momentum carried into the Nationals, as Barcia never finished outside the top-ten in the twenty-four motos. With these results, Barcia’s signing to Yamaha with a multi-year contract was not a massive surprise.
Always one to take part in offseason events, Barcia raced the Monster Energy Cup and will line up this weekend in Switzerland for the Geneva Supercross, but pulled out of the AUS X Open in November in order to undergo Lasik on his eyes.
Barcia will continue his long relationship with Alpinestars for gear, neck braces, and boots, SCOTT for goggles, and Arai for helmets.