"That Podium Came Easy...Then Reality Hit Fast." | Ryder Difrancesco Check-In 1

Ryder DiFrancesco checks-in to tell Vital MX about how the transition to the TLD/Red Bull/GasGas team is going, his new training program, and more.

There have been a lot of Silly Season moves in this off-season in the 250 class, and one of those moves was Ryder DiFrancesco leaving Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki for Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/GasGas. Although RyderD raced a number of nationals since 2022 he has yet to line up for a Monster Energy Supercross round. With an all new bike, team, and training program, expectations should be kept realistic. He has a lot to learn, but also has the tools necessary for success. RyderD will be one to watch with much interest to see where he falls on the results sheets. We reached out to Ryder recently to check-in and see how the transition to his new team has been.

For the full interview, check out the Vital MX podcast right here. If you're interested in the condensed written version, scroll down just a bit further.

Jamie Guida – Vital MX: What's up, Ryder? Now that this off-season is over, are you fully back to training?

Ryder Difrancesco: Yeah, I'm fully back into it. This is week two, and it's been going good. The first couple of days on supercross are always hard with my heart rate and breathing heavy, so I'm just getting back into my normal swing of riding and normal things. So, it's going good.

Vital MX: Besides getting back into the swing of riding supercross, you're also on a new bike with a different frame. Before I ask about that, what do you like about the Troy Lee Designs program so far? 

RyderD: It's been nothing but great. As I said, I'm two weeks in, and I feel I've been a part of the family for years. They're super welcoming, and I'm glad I made the switch. It's just something new. I get on the bike every day, and I'm ready to learn something new. Each day holds a new chapter or a new page in the book. It's been super fun. I've had some frustrating times, but I have to remind myself, "You're on a new bike, relax. It's going to take some time." 

GasGas Factory Racing

Vital MX: You mentioned learning something new every day. What's something that you have learned? 

RyderD: How the bike reacts differently to things. Coming from the Kawi, which did things I didn't like, and going from the steel to aluminum frame. It's a huge difference. This is what I've been struggling with lately. Once the track starts to break down, the bikes handle a bit differently. So, I've been trying to learn that and how it corners. How the bike accelerates out of the corners, and how it goes through the whoops. All that is different. I have found that this GasGas is a lot better in those sections. I'm learning to put a lot of trust in the bike, too. I had a lot of trust in the Kawi, and I knew what it would do at every moment. Now, I'm trying to gain that trust in this bike and continue with it.

Vital MX: You said you're happy you made the change, and you were on Kawasaki for most of your racing career. A change gives you a new outlook and refreshes things, making it fun again.

RyderD: For sure. Even learning new stuff. I think that's why we all do it. Motocross is fun because you learn and have fun with your buddies. I was just going through the motions at Kawi because it was the same thing almost every day. I would have a really good day, but you're still riding the motorcycle you've been riding since you were seven years old, you know? I talked to Wil Hahn yesterday after the track, and it was so comfortable for me to go to the track. I knew everybody at Kawi. I would just show up, ride, have a good time, and leave. Now I have to learn the new people, which I'm cool with. I've known Wil forever, and I've known the guys over at GasGas for a long time, but it's still different showing up to the track with those dudes and getting to know them. I'll get to that spot where I was at Kawasaki soon. It just takes some time.

Vital MX: In the couple of weeks that you've been on the bike, have you made any significant changes? I'm guessing they gave you a base setting, and you rode it. Have you changed much, or are you sticking with what they've given you so far?

RyderD: I've stuck with what they gave me so far. Each time I come in, it's a little adjustment, but it's nothing big. I haven't even touched my bars or anything. I just came from the bars I had on the Kawi and all that setup-wise. Suspension-wise, I'm pretty basic. Whatever you give me, I'll make it work and make the best out of it, but each time I come in, it's a little bit of a change. So, we're working at it, and we'll hopefully get a good baseline here soon. 

Vital MX: You just said that you go with whatever they gave you, and you'll make it work. Have you had anybody in the past or at GasGas say, "No, man. We need to try different things and find areas where you can improve to get better at testing?"

RyderD: I am a good test guy. I can point out super small things. When they gave me the bike for the first time, I couldn't think about it. I have to ride it and get used to it. If I think about it too much, I'll overthink it. We're getting my setup as we speak. Yesterday was a good test day. We put my forks on, and we tried some different things. I think we're getting more towards my setup. It's still going to take a few weeks.

Vital MX: How much time have you spent with Pierce Brown and Justin Barcia at the track? 

RyderD: JB is still hurt, so it's just been me and PB and we've just been riding. I had a full week before he started, which was good. So, I can get my bike dialed and back on supercross. Once he came back, we could start hammering together. So, yeah, it's been good. We won't race each other technically until outdoors, so I think we could help each other out a lot during this time. It's good to have one guy on each coast so we can help each other out.

GasGas Factory Racing

Vital MX: Pro Circuit Kawasaki had a lot of riders on the team. With TLD, it's just you and Pierce on the 250 team. This should mean you will get more focus. Is that something you're excited about?

RyderD: Yeah, for sure. That's one of the big reasons I made the switch: to put a lot of effort into my program. Kawi didn't push me away, but there were some guys like Joe (Shimoda), and those guys were going to get the attention. To have the team put their main focus on you is a huge help. So. I'm looking forward to it. I always liked it when it was Joe and I at a couple of rounds because it was nice just having two guys in the rig. 

Vital MX: I heard you say there were situations where Mitch wouldn't say, "Good job." Having a little more focus and attention could add some confidence. 

RyderD: For sure. Mitch is watching five guys at once. When I come over here, you're the main focus. I think it'll be good.

Vital MX: How has off-the-bike training changed for you in the last few years? I know you're working on strength and conditioning. How is that going?

RyderD: Good. I switched to Wil Hahn's program, which is on and off the bike. That came with the GasGas deal, which is good because he's been through it all. He's had success, and he's also had his low time. To have a guy like that is a huge help to my program because this outdoor season didn't go as I wanted it to. I think he'll be a huge help. I still have a little chassis, and I haven't grown into my body yet. That was one of my main problems this year. I just need to grow into my body and build muscle. Once that comes, then it will all click, but yeah, I'm trying to get as strong as I can.

GasGas Factory Racing

Vital MX: Is Ryan Villopoto still in your corner?

RyderD: Not full time. He transferred me over to Wil since it was the team deal. He's still out at the track with me. We built more than just a trainer bond. We built a friendship. He lives a mile away, so it's like, "Hey, you want to go get lunch or hang out?" He's cool.

Vital MX: What are you working on the most with on-the-bike training? Is it still whoops?

RyderD: I think my timing is really good. I can do any rhythm, and I'm confident in it. I've always been confident in jumping and stuff. Whoops are the big focus, and I think that's for everybody. If you can be fast in the whoops, then you'll crush pretty much anybody. So, the big focus right now is gaining confidence. Last year, I tended to think about the whoops the whole lap before I even got into them. Now, I'm putting my main focus into actually riding the track and getting good at them. I feel once I get good at something, I don't even think about it.

Vital MX: I know GasGas gave you a 450 to ride. How do you like that compared to the 250? 

RyderD: Their 450 is good right out of the box. I enjoyed it. I rode up by my house a couple of times at a place called KTRP, which Jett Reynolds' dad owns. So yeah, I went up there and rode. It was my off-season, so I didn't ride too much, but that 450 is super good. I enjoyed my time. The 250 is really good, too.

Vital MX: I believe this year is when your career will start taking off. You're still young and haven't had a full Supercross season. We're going to see a lot out of you this season. 

RyderD: My main goal is just to do all the rounds like I did outdoors this year. You can't learn anything when you're not riding. Even though my results were subpar this year outdoors, I still did every single round. I built a huge base, and to ride all the tracks is huge. I want to do every single round, stay healthy, and put it on the box this year a lot. 

Vital MX: You got the taste of being on the box at Charlotte with the third, and you were pretty emotional that night. You said, "Now I know how it feels to do this," but it's not easy to do it again.

RyderD: That podium came easy, and then I went to Chicago, and I had that expectation, and then reality hit real, real fast. That's where I belong. I have the speed, and I have everything to do it. I believe it was a good thing to learn that you can go from a high, like an easy third, and then have a terrible night the next week. I give props to those guys who win championships, like Hunter (Lawrence). He was there every single night. That's one thing I have to learn this year. To be a title guy, that's what you have to do.

GasGas Factory Racing



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