News 6 Nov 2023

'I'm not here to just ride around and have fun' – Friese on WSX

Eventful night in Abu Dhabi recalled after another WSX podium.

Image: Supplied.

Polarizing MCR Honda racer Vince Friese has detailed the motive behind his bullish aggression that has become the primary talking point of the World Supercross Championship (WSX) following Abu Dhabi’s second round of the 2023 season.

The 33-year-old American moved to declare that ‘I’m not here to just ride around and have fun’ in his bid to challenge for the 450 class crown.

Friese posted the fifth fastest time in superpole and engaged in a battle for the lead with Dean Wilson (Fire Power Froth Honda) in the opening WSX final of the night at Etihad Arena on Saturday night.

In an attempt to counter, Friese dived up the inside in the 180-degree turn and made contact with Wilson, bringing him down as a result. Friese ultimately took the checkered flag first after fending off defending WSX champion Ken Roczen (PMG Suzuki), but was docked two positions after the race for ‘dangerous racing’, according to FIM officials.

“If you put a bunch of money on the line, like we have here, and put us on an arenacross track, I think that is the way it is going to go,” Friese explained. “At least for me, I’m not here to just ride around and have fun – I’m here to make some money, pay my bills.

“That is what we are doing, we are battling for a position. If these guys want to take it easy, they can take it easy, but I am going to race hard.”

The controversial CRF450R rider finished runner-up behind Wilson in the second race following further barbs between them, before being classified eighth in the final encounter after himself crashing out of top-three contention, crossing the line in P6 and then being handed another two-place penalty.

“Honestly, I don’t know what happened, whether I got a penalty for it or not, I just know that I got third overall,” Friese added after going off-track in race three while dicing with Joey Savatgy (Mobil 1 Rick Ware Racing). “But, I mean, it is what it is… if it was wrong, then I will take the penalty.

“I’ve read through the rulebook, but it has been a while – round one was three or four months ago, so maybe I’ll give the rulebook another read-through. It’s hard to say if my front wheel was ahead of his or not, but yeah, I just tried to ride slowly.

“Yeah, I cut a portion of the corner off, and I think in my head ‘what do I do, what do I do here, just go?’. They had already told me there was another penalty, so at that point it was ‘let’s just race dirt bikes at this point’.

“Whatever, that is the kind of racing that I enjoy. I hate to take a position that is not mine, and if it is wrong, then I’ll take the penalty for that. I don’t know if there was a penalty for the pass on Dean [in race one], but I feel like that was just good old motocross racing.”

Amidst the eventful night, Friese landed third overall for the round and enters the Boost Mobile Australian Grand Prix at Marvel Stadium positioned fourth in the standings, currently 19 points back from new red plate-holder Savatgy.