Justin Barcia Wins 450SX Class Season Opener for Second Straight Year

A thrilling 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season opener lived up to the pre-race excitement with a challenging track inside Angel Stadium that added a level of unpredictability to the racing. The track instigated several lead changes in front of the sold out crowd of 45,050. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia took the first win in the 17-race series, just as he did in 2019, but 450SX Class rookie Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo made him earn it in a battle that had both riders pushing their limits for the 20 minutes plus one lap race.

 

When the 450SX Class Main Event’s gate dropped Smartop / BullFrog Spas / Motoconcepts Honda’s Vince Friese grabbed the holeshot, but Justin Barcia wasted no time and within five corners had established himself as the race leader ahead of Friese, Smartop / BullFrog Spas / Motoconcepts Honda teammate Justin Hill, Team Honda HRC’s Justin Brayton, JGRMX / Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Fredrik Noren, Adam Cianciarulo, and defending champion Cooper Webb of the Red Bull KTM team.

 

Cianciarulo was on the move instantly, reaching fourth place with an aggressive move through the first set of whoops and setting his sights on the front. In less than four minutes of racing Cianciarulo had put his Kawasaki into second place and set his sights on Barcia. Nearing the halfway point, Barcia made a mistake that took him briefly off the track. Cianciarulo slipped past, quickly pulled nearly a two second lead, and looked destined to win his 450SX Class Main Event debut while past champions and pre-season favorites battled well behind.

 

Cooper Webb, riding with a flu, put his KTM into third place just past the half way point. Then, with under six minutes of racing left on the clock, Cianciarulo got bit by the track trying to seat bounce out of a corner. He lost traction and drive and came up short and sideways on a landing. He managed to keep the bike off the ground, but Barcia capitalized and rocketed back into the lead where he would keep his Yamaha until the checkered flag waved.

 

It was also a big night for another racer, though for a different reason. The day prior, Mountain Motorsports, cbdMD, CR22 Racing’s Chad Reed announced to the U.S. press his decision to retire after 18 years of Supercross racing. 2020 will be Reed’s final year in Monster Energy Supercross competition, and the race at Anaheim marked the milestone 250th 450SX Main Event start by the veteran. It didn’t come easy: after getting tangled in a first turn crash in 450SX Heat Race 1, Reed was forced to qualify through the 450SX Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). With a bad starting position, Reed found himself at the back of the pack, and only reached 18th place on the night.

 

After his win, Justin Barcia, “I busted my butt in the off-season and worked so hard. That was just all strength through that whole race. I’ve definitely matured a lot, developed as a rider a lot, that was an incredible race. I didn’t want to win this race! [laughs] My goal was to get out of here safe, healthy, and I just want to be on the podium a lot this year and be in the fight for the championship because I haven’t been able to do that.”

 

Adam Cianciarulo commented on the difference in race duration with the move up to the 450SX Class, “The races are a little bit longer, and even though 250 and 450, it’s 15 and 20 minutes, that extra six or seven laps we do feels like a lifetime. So [I was] just trying to adapt to the track out there, and yeah, Justin made a mistake and went off, [then] squared up under me and I thought we were both going to die off the next rhythm sections. Man, it was so much fun racing him. Then I spun out [jumping] out of the triple there; and thank God [that] God blessed me with some long legs, I was able to save that. [But I] knocked the wind out of myself for a good 20-30 seconds.”

 

450SX Class Results

1. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Yamaha

2. Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki

3. Cooper Webb, Clermont, Fla., KTM

4. Blake Baggett, Grant Terrace, Calif., KTM

5. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna

6. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda

7. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki

8. Justin Brayton, Charlotte, N.C., Honda

9. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda

10. Vince Friese, Menifee, Calif., Honda

 

 

450SX Class Championship Standings

1. Justin Barcia, Greenville, Fla., Yamaha (26)

2. Adam Cianciarulo, New Smyrna Beach, Fla., Kawasaki (23)

3. Cooper Webb, Clermont, Fla., KTM (21)

4. Blake Baggett, Grant Terrace, Calif., KTM (19)

5. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna (18)

6. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda (17)

7. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki (16)

8. Justin Brayton, Charlotte, N.C., Honda (15)

9. Malcolm Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Honda (14)

10. Vince Friese, Menifee, Calif., Honda (13)

Adam Sinclair