Shockingly, the American team finished second at the Motocross des Nations today – it was definitely an upset. Obviously, we all want to know what the Americans think of the defeat, and we thought that no one would be better to give us a rundown than Roger DeCoster. After all, he is the one at the top of the team. Roger had some interesting things to say, which came as a bit of surprise. So, I highly recommend that you read on – you won’t regret it.
MX Vice: So, Roger DeCoster, tell me how this year’s Motocross des Nations went from your perspective.
DeCoster: “It was a little bit disappointing, because we did not win. But, Belgium were really good – they did a great job. We had a little bit of bad luck with Eli Tomac crashing in the first moto – he would have been second or third, you know, it was close to the end of the race. He made one little mistake and cross-rutted; he threw the handlebars out of his hands, and had a huge crash. I am happy that he is not hurt. I have to say congratulations to the Belgian team, and to Cairoli as well. Overall, there were five or six European teams that could of won, as well as Australia.”
MX Vice: Is it a bittersweet, seeing as it was the Belgians that beat you?
DeCoster: “Of course. If we [the American team] are not going to win ourselves, then my first choice is that Belgium beats us. You know, I still have a lot of friends on the team. It’s good to see them do good – they have had so many second places in a row in recent years. It is really good for them to win this one.”
MX Vice: The lead up to the race wasn’t ideal for team USA, as Ryan Dungey had some travel issues late in the week. Was this a factor?
DeCoster: “Yeah, that did happen – but it is no excuse. We had problems with late flights, missed connections. Ryan was stuck in Amsterdam for twenty-four hours. But we’re not using that as an excuse.”
MX Vice: So, where did it go wrong? What do you think cost you the win?
DeCoster: “Well, obviously the crash from Eli. He was just moving into second when he lost it, and he went from second to almost last. He came back to finish sixteenth – he tried his best. Eli was really fast, he was pretty even with Ken. Even if he had finished third of fourth we would have had the overall.”
MX Vice: I saw Dungey making a lot of bike changes throughout the weekend, specifically with the shock. Was he struggling with setup over the two days?
DeCoster: “Ryan thinks the bike was the problem, it’s himself. Mentally, he is not focused on finding the best solution on riding, and finding the best lines. You know, it’s not a bike issue. It was not a setup issue – he used the same setup as Ken Roczen. I mean Cairoli is on a 350, but he has the same options. Ryan needs to look at himself, right now, and deep inside he knows that.”
MX Vice: What about Justin Barcia? He looked very fast, but he had some bad luck.
DeCoster: “Justin did a good job to come back from where he was, he was down on the ground in that pile up off the start, and he came back to eleventh place. It was a really good ride.”
MX Vice: Justin mentioned in the press conference that the track was very different to what they have in the USA. Do you think that was actually a real problem? I mean, it’s hard-pack – a common surface.
DeCoster: “Well, the track is the same for everybody. It is a tough track – it’s the type of place where you have to have a lot of respect for the track, because there are a lot of square edges. Although the bumps are not huge, they are very hard, and there are a lot of them. There is also poor traction with the hard, sharp edges. It’s just unpredictable.”
MX Vice: So, I guess you wish Ryan Villopoto was on the team now. Do you think that would have made a difference?
DeCoster: “Yeah, of course. Villopoto is the best guy we have right now. Of course it hurt us not having him today. You know, we came with the best team that we can bring – that’s all we can do.”
MX Vice: Although it wasn’t a good day for the USA, it was a great day for KTM, which is obviously a brand that you represent. You must be happy about that?
DeCoster: “Yeah, you know, what they have done in Europe is especially impressive. But, we still have to keep working to win supercross, also.”
MX Vice: Are you staying over for the inaugural Red Bull ‘Give Me Five’ event in Madrid next weekend? If so, how much do you know about the race? It seems to be a bit under the radar.
Decoster: “Yeah, I am. I don’t know much, I’ll find out when I get there. I don’t have many details about it. It is a race that is going to be very short. You know, with an elimination process – that’s what I was told. I have seen a basic layout of the track. But it is hard to take much from that, without seeing the ground and the surface.”
MX Vice: Finally, the MXdN is in Latvia next year – we’re going back to a sandier circuit. What are you going to do to get back on top?
DeCoster: “We’ll keep working, and keep testing. You know, hopefully we can go with a strong healthy team, and win – that is the goal!”
Interview by Lewis Phillips
Image courtesy of Elliot Spencer.