A last-ditch bid by KTM to sign up America Justin Barcia has failed as he’s agreed to stick with the factory Yamaha Supercross team for the rest of the year.
Barcia, left without a factory ride at the start of the season, was drafted into the Yamaha squad as a replacement for the injured Davi Millsaps. It was a six-event deal while Millsaps recovered from head injuries.
But with Millsaps this week announcing he was quitting the sport due to the injury, Yamaha has signed up Barcia for the rest of the Supercross then outdoor motocross season.
It’s a blow for KTM who were looking to tempt him onto the orange bikes, a factory source has revealed to MotoHead. After wining the Supercross titles with Ryan Dungey, KTM has been left behind this year in the Supercross series as Marvin Musquin has been injured and Broc Tickle has struggled. Musquin is eighth in the series but Tickle is not in the top 10, while Barcia is currently third. It wouldn’t be the first time KTM has cherry-picked a rider from a rival team mid-way through a championship, as they lured Musquin from Honda on the MX2 world championship in 2009. He took the red plate to KTM and won the title that year.
But Barcia, who had his best 450 results on Yamaha in the past before lackkustre rides for JGR Suzuki team, said: “When I first threw my leg over the 2018 factory YZ450F, I knew that I had a weapon with which to go for the Championship. I’m just super-happy and grateful to be with Monster Energy/Knich/Yamaha Factory Racing, and I’m glad that it’s now full steam ahead for the rest of the supercross season and through the motocross season, as well. I get along really well with everyone on the team, and knowing that I have the best team behind me gives me a ton of confidence!”
Yamaha’s Keith McCarty said: “We’re delighted to extend Justin’s contract through the completion of both the 2018 supercross and motocross seasons. Justin’s results aboard the all-new 2018 YZ450F have been as great as we hoped they would be. We knew when we signed him to the original six-race deal and saw how well he rode the new bike in testing, that it was the start of something special. We believe in Justin, and all of us at Yamaha are looking forward to his continued success with our factory team.”