MXA INTERVIEW: VINCE FRIESE TALKS ABOUT HIS SUCCESSFUL 2019 MONSTER ENERGY CUP SUPERCROSS
After tearing his ACL during the 2019 Arlington Supercross in February, Vince Friese went under the knife to have his knee repaired and he missed the remainder of the 2019 Supercross and motocross seasons. But after months of hard work and physical therapy, Vince and the Smartop Bullfrog Spas Honda team felt that he was strong enough to be able to compete at Monster Cup. Vince came out swinging in the first main event and although he was fifth off the start, he was able to work his way into second and then into the lead when Adam Cianciarulo slid out and crashed. Vince inherited the lead and held onto it for four laps before Eli Tomac made an aggressive move to get by. Vince eventually went on to finish an impressive fourth overall after three main events. We caught up with Vince at Milestone Sueprcross to chat about his first race back from injury.
By Josh Mosiman
GOOD JOB AT MONSTER CUP, HOW DID IT FEEL TO LEAD SO MANY LAPS? Thank you. I’ve been up front quite a bit in my career, but I’m getting to where I can stay up there for a little while. Overall I was happy with the race, but I was kind of frustrated that I led so many laps and I couldn’t win one of those things. I think I had everything I needed, but it’s tough, you know it’s either Eli (Tomac), AC (Adam Cianciarulo) or Mookie (Malcolm Stewart) behind you. My focus went there instead of just laying down my laps. I think if I could have just focused and put it five more good laps, in that first one especially, I think I could’ve won one.
STILL, YOU HAVE TO FEEL GOOD TO BE BATTLING AT THE FRONT AFTER NOT RACING SINCE FEBRUARY? Yeah, it is what it is. It still was good with a fourth overall, if you would’ve told me before the race that I was going to get fourth I would’ve been happy. We got the starts dialed, the speed is close, we are working on that right now trying to get that little bit more, a quarter of a second a lap or half a second a lap and I think we’ll be there. That’s the focus right now. I think my fitness is good, the bike is great, it’s just finding that little bit more intensity and I think we’ll be there.
WHAT WERE YOUR EXPECTATIONS COMING INTO THE RACE? WITH MONSTER CUP BEING AN OFF-SEASON RACE IT’S USUALLY A LITTLE MORE LAID BACK. DID THAT HELP YOU? It was a kind of stressful one for me since it was my first one since February. That was my comeback race and the focus was on making my knee ready and getting the bike and myself ready to race. It was a little bit stressful, it wasn’t the care free offseason race that some people might think. We focused pretty hard on it and we wanted to go and make sure I was back to form. It’s one thing to ride well at the practice track, but it’s a whole other thing to do it on race day.
WHAT’S IT LIKE GOING FROM THE PRACTICE TRACK TO THE RACE TRACK? HOW CAN YOU PREPARE? When they build a race track it’s for that one night only so it’s a fresh track, there’s a ton of guys on it, there’s 100 or something guys who go over the track throughout the course of the day. It gets rutted and torn up. These practice tracks we ride are the same all year and they are rock hard, nothing really changes and all the transitions get nice and mellowed out. There’s not a lot you can do to prepare other than just go racing. It takes years of experience. When you get there, it definitely can be an eye opener, especially for the younger guys.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU DID DIFFERENTLY AT MONSTER CUP THAT HELPED YOU DO SO WELL? No, we came in prepared and ready. Things were clicking, I got my starts dialed right before the race. XPR has built a great engine and obviously the Smartop Bullfrog Spas Honda team is doing good. Obviously we got our bikes dialed on the start and that’s a big part of it in a ten lap race. We worked hard to get ready and it showed there. I wish I could of finished one of them off and grabbed a win. But we’ll see, we have a few triple crowns in Supercross and maybe I can get one of those. I feel like if I can make the improvements that I think I can, there’s no reason I can’t stay up there for twenty laps even. We’ll keep working hard and see where we get here in a couple months.
WHAT DOES YOUR TRAINING PROGRAM LOOK LIKE? I’m on a full on program and between me, my trainer and even Tony (Alessi) and the guys on the team, we’ve developed what works for me. I’ve been doing motos with Malcolm (Stewart), I’ve been doing motos with Justin (Hill) and today I did motos with Mike (Alessi). Right now I’m headed into the gym to get some work in there and then tomorrow I’ll be on the bicycle. It’s a full time deal, pretty much seven days a week.
WHAT IS YOUR RATIO FOR TRAINING? HOW MANY DAYS AT THE TRACK AND HOW MANY IN THE GYM? Typically I spend four days at the track, three or four days in the gym and a few days on the bicycle. Obviously I’m doing two-a-days there to fit it all in. Then I spend time on recovery as well, getting messages and doing physical therapy type of stuff to get my knee ready and keep it solid. It’s a full-time job and then some.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’D LIKE TO SAY TO FINISH THIS INTERVIEW OFF? I just want to say thanks to the team. This bike is great, the Smartop Bullfrog Spas Honda is working good. I think it’s kind of obvious right now that the Honda is the best motorcycle out there and I’m proud to be on it. This crew and Mike Genova (Team Owner) have been behind me a long time and hopefully we can go and make them proud.