Good, Bad and Ugly | 2023 Daytona 6

A collection of bullet points from 2023 Monster Energy Supercross.

'Good, Bad and Ugly' recaps some miscellaneous points from the eighth stop of 2023 Monster Energy Supercross, Daytona, both positive and negative. What would you place underneath each subheading? Head into the forum to join the discussion or share your thoughts over on social media (@VitalMX on Twitter and Instagram). For now, however, read on for some thoughts on Justin Barcia, Christian Craig, Aaron Plessinger and Justin Cooper.


Justin Barcia immediately sprung to mind, when considering who to place underneath this subheading. The results that he has secured in 2023 Monster Energy Supercross do not paint the best picture and so one had to dig a little deeper to unearth that positivity. Until now, that is, as he performed well in Florida and a good result was the reward! One could argue that '51' still missed out on the finish that he truly deserved, as he possessed podium pace, but fourth is a step from where he has been in recent weeks.

Site-Justin Barcia
Octopi Media

Is this the start of something for Barcia? Perhaps, as he feeds off confidence and the fact that one of his favorite races is next will only aid that momentum. Could that make for a combination that positions him as a star who will split the championship contenders? It may be something to keep an eye on, as we have been missing an antagonist like that since the circus ventured east. Barcia needs a boost, truthfully, because he has had two podiums in his last fourteen starts, despite being on the verge of earning a trophy on multiple occasions.

There is additional motivation here, as his contract is set to expire and he has made it quite clear that he wants to extend his career. The Troy Lee Designs Red Bull GASGAS Factory Racing team enjoy his presence, but will an emerging athlete like Justin Cooper tempt them? Perhaps, but Barcia can negate that with rides like the one that he had at Daytona International Speedway.


This is not terrible, of course, but there would have been some disappointed faces in the Austrian wing of the Daytona paddock. Aaron Plessinger is always tipped to fare well at the iconic facility and would have expected to be in a spot similar to that of Barcia, but he was invisible from the drop of the gate. There was not something to pin blame on either – he did not gel with his set-up and struggled to get going. Excluding the 2019 edition where he crashed out, this is the worst ranking that he has had at the speedway.

Site-Aaron Plessinger
Octopi Media

Similarly, Christian Craig would have been disappointed to not build on the progress that he has made recently. This placement or opinion has nothing to do with the fact that RJ Hampshire beat him in his debut aboard the FC 450. Hampshire performed incredibly well, of course, and was much better than anyone would have thought, but the sample size is so small that there is no reason for fans to cast a negative eye on what Craig has done. The heat that '28' has received on social media belongs in the next category, as it is just wrong.


Unorthodox, perhaps, but the decision for Justin Cooper to turn his focus to testing for Pro Motocross makes little sense to this scribe. It is understandable that the 250MX crown is of interest to all involved at Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing, but '32' is extremely capable outdoors and has endless experience to fall back on. Does anyone feel that Cooper needs two months of experience, in order to battle with Hunter Lawrence? No? It is great to see that everyone is on the same page.

Site-Justin Cooper
Octopi Media

The opposing argument will be that he needs to stay healthy, but there have been no scares since he stepped into Monster Energy Supercross and thus that cannot be too much of a concern. Cooper said on social media that there are "changes coming this week" and so there is some hope that his program will be altered, but he was adamant in Yamaha's post-race statement that he will not ride a supercross track until next year. It will be a travesty if that is indeed the case! Remember that there is no deal in place for the new season, so sitting on the sidelines is not going to help on track or off of it.


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