Roger DeCoster on 2023 MXoN | Vital MX Interview 1

Roger DeCoster reflects on Team USA's eighth place at the Motocross of Nations in France...

The 2023 Monster Energy Motocross of Nations was a turbulent affair for Team USA, who faced so many obstacles to simply jump onto the starting line. Roger DeCoster, the man who has driven the United States of America into competition for so many seasons, reflected on that period in this exclusive interview from the circuit. Lewis Phillips caught up with him as a part of our post-race podcasts on Sunday evening.

Team USA finished eighth after overcoming many issues in the three-race format. Aaron Plessinger logged the most impressive showing in moto one, as he raced to fifth, and RJ Hampshire was particularly buoyant after his charge to tenth in moto two. It was the third moto that curtailed the nation's push for a place on the podium; they were fifth in the overall classification entering the final stint.

Vital MX: I think that the way to sum up this weekend is rather simple. Team USA finished eighth, but they were better than that. Aaron [Plessinger] was brilliant in the first moto and RJ [Hampshire] clearly had speed. This was not a case of Team USA sucking, this was a case of sh*t happening in racing.

Roger DeCoster: After the second race, there was a possibility to finish third overall. It was a big disappointment in the last race, the second race for Aaron Plessinger, because he had a little crash at the beginning and I think that he was hurting – he could not ride the way that he rode in the first moto, where he battled with Kenny [Roczen] and did not finish that far back. Third would have been possible but, yeah, I do not have good excuses.

Do you not agree that the guys actually performed very well? I honestly do not think that anyone can fault them. I hope that, once we get back online, they are being applauded for coming and giving it their all.

Yeah but, you know, the internet experts have different opinions and are very critical. That is okay, you know, because we know the facts. We came with three guys who wanted to come and do their best. I came because I feel that the Motocross of Nations without Team USA is not a full Motocross of Nations. This event has always been important to me, first as a rider then as a part of the factory teams and sport. I always wanted to support this event the best that I could.

J.P. Acevedo

This year was particularly difficult, for a lot of reasons, like we only had one week between [our season in the United States and the Motocross of Nations] where we did not race. We had several riders changing teams, others who were injured and some who wanted to come but the team could not support them for whatever reason. In other cases, the team wanted to come but the rider did not want to. Several riders changing brands did complicate things. We are already working on testing for supercross, which is another issue that we have in America.

I know that this event costs Team USA a lot of money and I am sure that it cost you, as Austria, a lot of money this time around. Is that getting better? I feel like there is less entourage, then the work that Paul [Perebijnos] and Christina [Denny] are doing definitely helped last year. Is the cost and the hardship getting better or worse?

It was better starting last year. Paul raised money through a golf tournament and things like that, so he is trying hard, but it was not very effective this year. The teams that we picked initially would not come, so it is hard to sell something without being able to say what you are selling [laughs]. I am really thankful that our group and owner, Mr. Pierer, is supporting our sport to this extent. They said, "If you cannot get the riders that you want or have issues with support then you can make a team between our group." They let us do that. We did not skimp on expenses when shipping the best equipment possible. I think that we were not short on anything.

Does motivation remain high for the Motocross of Nations? It was tough this year, sure, but next year should be easier. Chase [Sexton] and Cooper [Webb] will be in multi-year deals, then Eli [Tomac] could still be racing. There should be a lot more options for you. Motivation is still high, right? We are not going to have a Motocross of Nations without Team USA for a very long time.

Yeah, I hope you are right. My motivation is the same as it has always been. It is hard, you know? The United States schedule is tough. We race pretty much every week, with basically two back-to-back seasons. It takes extra time and testing to switch from supercross to outdoors. I am not sure. I hope that other people are feeling as much motivation to support the Motocross of Nations as I do. It is not getting any easier.

There is a very exciting week coming up for you. You are excited about what is coming this week and in 2024, huh?

Everybody on the team has been working hard. We had rider issues, but we also had bike… Performance was not what it should be. We did not make the best choices with settings and all of that. It took us quite some time to find the settings that were the best for the bike. Some of that was to do with the riders going in circles and requesting one thing when they really needed something different. We need to take some responsibility, as a team and factory, for the weaker results this year. The riders should take some blame as well.




View replies to: Roger DeCoster on 2023 MXoN | Vital MX Interview


The Latest