Ping talks about not being ridiculous playing video games, how the whole "Factory Teams" thing works, and how to start a dirt bike.


@PING is brought to you by Troy Lee Designs, Eks Brand, and VP Racing Fuels.

Hey Ping,

Here’s the 40-billion-dollar question! I feel you may get a good chuckle out of it! But as I find myself playing mad skills 2 ( can’t get 3 yet stupid iPhone), when I hit a jump on the game I tend to try and shift my weight from one foot to the other kicking my leg out and jumping up on the balls of my feet as I’m playing said game!! And I got to wondering why am I finding myself doing that! And being a man of great intelligence! Hey does my body do this? I find it funny thinking about what I must look like to other people watching me from a distance!


Play games like this. Notice the stationary legs.


I think I can sum this up for you in a very succinct, to-the-point fashion… you look like an asshole. I’m imagining something like Elaine from Seinfeld when she dances, or Forrest Gump having a grand mal seizure. Either way, I think you should work on your gaming technique to keep from drawing so much attention to yourself. Have you considered sitting down when you play? Maybe sit on your feet so they can’t flail about like the skull and crossbones on a pirate ship? It’s worth noting that this is only an issue if you’re playing in public. If you’re MSM’ing it up at home, alone, let that leg kick out all it wants to. Get up on the balls of your feet like you’re skimming a set of supercross whoops and make two-stroke sounds if you want. The world is your oyster! Just make sure the blinds are drawn and you don’t butt-dial somebody on your phone. You don’t want a friend making a Tik Tok video of you playing and have it go viral. Happy gaming, pal.


Hey Ping, 

Are there caps on the number of riders the factory teams can have, or is it a money thing? for instance, in the 450s, they seem to be capped at two riders per team, except for husky. I have heard there are riders that ride for free in the 450 class...does that mean free as in they don't have any pay from the factory team itself? how does this work out, as we all know the payout from ama and Feld are very low compared to any other pro racing that's televised. Do the factory teams pay the riders a flat rate, or based on position like the race via ama? I know there are bonus's involved can you give us some examples? Seems like they make more for sponsor payout maybe then from the race themselves? Or is the big money from factory bonuses? 

Is there a rule that prevents the factories from being in the 250 class? Like, there's pro circuit, star, geico, TLD ktm, etc. those are pretty much factory teams, correct? is there a rule that makes them have to be associated with a company, rather than just factory Yamaha 250? I ask because if they made it to where the factories had their own 250 team, would it then allow more "factory backed" support teams to give more riders a better chance? and can you clarify what it means to be factory backed? Does that mean me and you could start a team, and go to manufacturers for support and strike a deal? Do they get the exact same parts or is it like a step down? 

I ask these because I feel the riders are so underpaid. I feel so bad for the privateer guys and the guys on the smaller teams. I don’t even know how they do it. I know there's always going to be a limited number of seats, and I know the best are always the best. But it just seems like half the field has no chance. And I don't know if that's due to skill or equipment or both, or the comforts of having a factory rig. I have been told the difference in machinery and power and stuff like that isn’t all that different, if any, but its more so the luxury of having a mechanic, having a bike washer, the boot dryer, the helmet dryer, a rig with food and a shower, etc. etc. 

Thanks for all that you guys do

Factory teams have a ton of resources but at the end of the day, it's who crosses the finish line first.


You have to understand that you can’t compare motocross money to baseball/basketball/golf/hockey/football/etc., because we aren’t even in the same ballpark. Well, we actually ARE in the same ballparks, physically, but certainly not in a monetary sense. Pro stick-and-ball guys who ride the bench all season long still make more money than 90% of the pro racers in our sport. But all of that is relative to the amount of money generated by merchandise sales, equipment sales, ticket sales and television revenue, and motocross is miniscule by comparison. Once you realize that, I can begin answering your questions. 

No, there not caps on the number of riders a team can have or the amount of money a team can spend on their riders. If the top brass at Honda wanted every top rider, and he could get approval, he could hire every single one of them. The limiting factor here is budget. Factories have to operate within a certain budget, which is why they’ve all gone to satellite teams to run their 250 programs. The cost savings is significant for the factories, even though they still provide much or all of the salaries for the riders, bonuses, and factory equipment in most cases. The satellite teams can source their own sponsorships to help fund the team and it takes the burden off the manufacturers to a degree. 

Some riders will sign contracts that are for very little salary, but are heavily incentivized with bonuses. Riders will jump at those opportunities to have a chance on a good team with factory equipment. And the equipment advantage is very real, as is the technical support at the races. Every contract is different and negotiable. Most riders will strike a balance between salary and bonuses, and OEMs pay bonuses down to top five or top ten. Guys like Carmichael only took a win bonus, but it was massive. 

There are no rules that keep a factory from running their own 250 team, and they’ve all done it that way before. However, as I mentioned, it makes more sense financially to have a partner operate it. There are some rules in the 250 class, like what suspension can be used, but they are very few. Factory backing simply means you are getting support from an OEM. That can be monetary or just bikes and parts from the manufacturer, so there are many levels. Could we go down and ask for support? Sure, but without some skin in the game and some results, we aren’t likely to be taken seriously. 

In this sport, as in life, you have to earn your ride. If you can go out on inferior equipment and be competitive, you’ll catch the eye of factory teams. And if they believe you have potential, and the timing is right, you just might get a chance. But not everybody gets a trophy in this sport. One of the things I love about it is the cut-and-dried nature of it; the gate drops and the first guy to the checkered flag wins. The rider who scores the most points in X number of rounds is the champion. Period. So, all you have to do if you want to get on a good team is get results… it’s very simple in nature. It’s far from easy, but the formula is simple. If you want to help privateers, then support their cause and buy their tee shirts/rap albums/hats/sponsor products/etc. 

Thanks for writing in… now go support your favorite riders.


Hey Ping, 

Love your articles and Whiskey Throttle Show with GL and Donnie. Anyways sitting at the track here on a fine Wednesday and thought I'd ask my burning question. I bought a kx250 for the kyb suspension and better chassis (coming from a 15' 250f). I saw a few magazines said the bike is hard to start when hot and just thought how hard could it be and damn it really is. When it's hot it will just not start. I've kicked it 20 times. Threw away an overall because I got impatient with a guy, stalled it and couldn't get it going again until everyone went by. What will help it start when hot? Thought maybe running PC or Boyesen cooler to get the temps down some, 50/50 race gas with the bike having a little more compression this year. Then thought maybe she’s choked up some and that hurts it. So, would slip-on exhaust and filter cage with no backfire screen help her fire easier? Is there any hope or should I quit stalling it and get a stronger leg?


In 2020, we had to kick the KX250 to life.


Seems like you’re over-thinking this. The obvious answer here is anabolic steroids shot directly into your right thigh. One intramuscular injection twice per day for several weeks will have you firing that thing up first kick, every time! If you boosted that with a testosterone/HGH cocktail, you could probably reach down and kick it over with your hand. If that seems like a little bit much, you could take it to somebody and have them work on the mapping for you. Between some of the things you’ve mentioned, and an intelligent engine guy, the issue is certainly fixable. I’d recommend calling Pro Circuit since they have more time invested into the KX250 than anybody else on the planet, and asking their opinion. I don’t think they sell steroids, so you’ll have to source those somewhere else if you go that route. Good luck and be careful not to snap the kickstarter off once your leg strength builds to a superhuman level. 


Do you have burning questions that need answering? E-mail Ping at ping@vitalmx.com. Want more? Click the @PING tag below to quickly find all the previous columns.

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