The Muc-Off/FXR/ClubMX Yamaha team is set to take on the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross Series with a number of riders capable of podium finishes. One of those is Enzo Lopes. The Brazilian rider is fresh off a surgery to repair a wrist issue he’s been battling with for years and is prepared to turn some heads. We called him up on a recent episode of The MotoXpod Show for some laughs and insight.
For the full interview, check out the Vital MX Podcast here. If you're interested in the condensed written version, scroll down just a bit further.
Jamie Guida – Vital MX: You just recently got back on the bike. You had the wrist issue. How's it feeling?
Enzo Lopes: Oh, it's back to normal now. I've been searching for my issue for two years almost, and it was really frustrating, you know? I would say six weeks ago, I underwent carpal tunnel surgery, and it was actually something super minor. It could have been fixed a long time ago, but I just didn't have the right answers at the time. So yeah, right now I've been back on the bike for a while, and it's been going really well.
Vital MX: You had surgery and then had an infection, is that right? They had to go back in.
Enzo: Well, yes, I did. Like I said, I didn't know what I had. So, first in 2020, I did the first surgery on my wrist and then that didn't work. And then I had arm pump surgery to see if that would fix it. And then 140 days after I got a super bad infection, and it went downhill from there. The problem was never fixed. October 16th is when I had surgery. So yeah, it's been a while.
Vital MX: That's has got to be inspiring and have you excited that it's all better.
Enzo: It's a relief. It's not easy to ride with, not an injury, but with something bothering you. I know I have what it takes, but then having something holding you back all the time, I would do five laps into the main event and my arm would be super big and I couldn't feel anything. That would be mentally frustrating. And I would line up and I would just pray that nothing would happen. But at every round I would suffer with that. In practice it was okay because I would do one lap and it would be really good. I'm just glad to get that over with.
Vital MX: You got fifth overall this season in Supercross. Were you happy with a fifth considering the issue with your wrist? Do you feel you rode pretty well?
Enzo: Yeah. It was really good, actually. The only round I didn't have any issues was Daytona, which I got fifth, and I was in podium contention for 11 minutes, and then my clutch was slipping bad, so I dropped. I still got fifth, which was really good. In that practice I was second behind Jett (Lawrence). Then in Salt Lake I went P1 in qualifying practice. I have the speed, and now with my arm better, I just have to keep charging, I guess.
Scott Thomson – The MotoXpod Show: Were those results unexpected? And do those results change how you look at this upcoming season?
Enzo: I wouldn't say it was unexpected because the team and I were here during the week, and I know how I feel on the bike. It's different to translate that into eight races, you know? Obviously, here we're used to the tracks, the environment, and it changes everything on race day. But yeah, I started slowly. I got eighth in the first round and just kept improving and improving. And there's something called confidence that helps a lot and I know what to expect now. I know I have what it takes. I'm just stoked to be healthy and to be riding with the team here and doing great.
Vital MX: Do you know what coast you're going to ride? I assume East.
Enzo: As far as right now I'm east and I kind of like it because it's a little bit more technical. It's what I've been doing for the past few seasons.
Vital MX: How how's the bike right now? Have you made any improvements from last year?
Enzo: To be honest, the first day I got here, I told the boys I wanted the same bike I rode in Salt Lake where I was P1 because it was a good feeling, you know? And ever since then I've been riding the same bike. Jamie (Ellis) from Twisted Development was here just last week, but he was mainly testing with Jeremy and Phil because they're racing west. I did try some mapping stuff but for me I'm just putting the time on and off the bike. We still have about seven weeks until east starts. We have some time. Right now, I'm just focused on getting my fitness back, my speed, and just getting comfortable.
Scott: How have the vibes at Club MX have been this off season? Any highlights for us?
Enzo: Well, we've got a brand-new shop. And who would they put sitting next to Phil, me at the lockers. Yeah, it could have been a little bit better.
Vital MX: Nobody wants to sit next to Phil. Anybody that's next to him is going to feel his wrath.
Enzo: It's always me. I don't know. I'm the chosen one, I guess. It's funny because on race day as well, I always find Phil on the track this past season. We have a great time here. I mean, Phil is, everyone loves him. And with Jeremy (Martin) here and Garrett (Marchbanks), it's just good vibes. Like I said, the new shop is pretty bad ass. We have three tracks. One of them we ran today, it’s really technical. So, it's just really good practice. And then we also have some other teams riding here. We had like 15 guys riding. It's basically the way the track gets on race day. It's really, really good for us. It's been good vibes.
Vital MX: I've talked to a bunch of the guys on the Phoenix team, and they've been riding out there quite a bit, right?
Enzo: Yeah. Cullin (Park), Jace (Owen), Kyle (Peters).
Vital MX: That team is going to be good this year, man.
Enzo: They're making a big effort. Yeah, they've got plenty of guys. It's pretty cool.
Vital MX: Let me ask you this. I don't know if you'll give me the straight answer. I heard that Phil has been faster than Jeremy a lot this this off-season so far.
Enzo: Well, I've been here for a while now, and it's funny, because one day it's Jeremy. One day it's Phil, so it's cool. Phil is really old, so just for him to be riding at this point, you know?
Scott: You spent some time back in Brazil and probably got some good food and all that stuff. What is an Americanized food that compares most to some of your favorites from Brazil?
Enzo: That's a hard one. It's just such a different lifestyle. I will go back home and then stay there for a while. And I kind of get used to the lifestyle there and living there. And then I get back here, and everything feels so weird. But then I get used to it, you know? And then when I go back home, I feel super weird.
Vital MX: Explain. Weird How?
Enzo: Right now at Club, we're in pre-season. In Brazil, lunch is the biggest meal of our day, which is at 12 or 12:30. Whereas now we start riding at 12. I'm having lunch around four and that kind of breaks that for me. When I'm in Brazil everyone would stop me, and my family would go have this big lunch. And to compare the foods, it's tough, man. I don't know. I try to keep eating the same things I eat back home, like pasta or steak or chicken.
Vital MX: Take us through Motocross of Nations. You had a bike issue, I believe. And talk about the honor of being on the team, the fans, and then how the weekend unfortunately went.
Enzo: Oh, man. It's the best feeling you can have for me to represent my country, Brazil. I have a lot of fans back home that support me. Brazil fans, they really get into it, you know, like with the Brazilian flags and the comments. I love it. It's just an honor for me. And RedBud, it couldn’t be at any better place. And it was good actually. I felt really good. I was still struggling a little bit with my arm, but I was seventh in qualifying and then the last few laps I felt my bike was slowing down a little bit. We washed it and after that we started hearing a noise. Unfortunately, I didn't have a spare bike. I tried to find a different bike, but there was only a stock bike for me to race. It’s Motocross of Nations, I would like to, but then I wouldn't be at my best, you know? The weekend overall was good because I felt good and I did well in practice, but I could never race and try to qualify for Brazil. And I think we had a good shot at it this year. Hopefully next year. But for me, just to be there racing for Brazil and we had the cool FXR gear. It was super special, man. It's just an unreal feeling.
Scott: Do you think Brazil would have put forth the effort to have a team without you involved?
Enzo: They would, but I don't know how to explain it, they knew I could get a good result to get us through. I would be the one to get the best results, let's say. So, they kind of hoped for me to do really well and help the team qualify. But I think they would go without me anyway. Like I said, for me to represent Brazil, it's super special. I want to be racing in the Des Nations as much as I can.
Scotty: They probably put a lot of the weight on your shoulders because they knew that you were going to carry them to a much better result than maybe somebody else could.
Enzo: Yeah, that's what I mean. I just didn't want to sound like that. But right now, it's a fact. I would like to have more guys coming up and hopefully we do because it's good for our sport and for our country.
Vital MX: Did I see on your Instagram that you went to Brazil to do an arenacross?
Enzo: Well, that was back in 2021, in November. I got invited to go race there. I raced that since I was a little kid in Brazil. I'm actually a five-time arenacross champ in Brazil. Arenacross in Brazil is a small track. They had this special last race, like a super final and the track was an actual supercross track built by some guys from England. Cade Clason was there. Ryan Breese. But they all raced the 450 class and I raced MX2. It's cool to race overseas and in my home country. I mean, you can't get any better than that. A lot of fans were there, took a lot of pictures because the last time I raced in Brazil was 2016. People would only see me on TV. So, they had a chance to see me actually racing in supercross. It was incredible.
Vital MX: Last question, there's a couple riders in the series that have all this hype around them. And we have these theories that teams may try to avoid their best guys having to race those guys. What do you think of that theory?
Enzo: I'm ready for whatever you throw at me. If I have to go west, I will go. I'm not choosing. I want to be with the best. If that means Jett Lawrence or if it means (Cameron) McAdoo, so be it. I'll be ready. I'm doing the work and hopefully it shows, but usually I'm the sleeper. Nobody really talks about me. I kind of enjoy that. I've been putting in the work and hopefully this year is the turnaround for me. But yeah, there's a lot of talking about some guys, especially Jett obviously. But I mean he's proven, what can you say.