Once again Phil Nicoletti is here to answer your questions. Do you need advice on something regarding life, love, or racing? Phil has superb advice on all of these topics and many more.
He’ll also be back racing this summer in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, but who really cares about that? Phil is here for you. Send your questions to email@example.com.
Yo phil! How you doin'? Now that you've been on a few different teams with various budgets, resources, and staff, what would you say is the biggest difference between them? Did the fancy handle bar buttons and endless options of suspension setting at say the former JGR Yamaha make a difference in your race results, or was it just an extra thing to occupy your brain space? Some (me) would argue that too many choices can overwhelm a rider and can create excuses, and we all know what excuses are similar to...
Your old pal Jolly.
Solid question! Every factory team is pretty similar as far resources and budgets. But let me tell you what: The things that a factory team have and are capable of is mind blowing. After being a privateer and finally seeing the difference, it’s hard to put into words. At JGR, we had almost an unlimited supply of hard parts. Engine times out after 15 hours, throw another one in from rotation. Need to test? Jonny Oler (suspension tech) or Dean Baker/Mitchell Key (the engine techs) would be out at the track the next day. From engine to chassis to suspension, it was just crazy.
Needed special foot peg height? 5mm down/5mm back, 5mm down/10mm back? No problem. Being able to tune the mapping and ignition timing made pulling holeshots much more simple. You could make the power so precise to how you wanted it. But with all that technology, yes you can get lost! I feel I’ve gotten pretty decent over the years, narrowing down what’s good, and what’s bad. With saying that, it all depends on the people. The staff has to understand what you’re saying. They have to be able to use the resources to better the rider. The rider has to be able to tell if it’s better or not, so he doesn’t lead them into a swap pile of bullshit.
Then you have guys that want to test just to test, thinking there is this magical setting. All that does is make everyone’s life hell. Not to get off too far on a tangent, but yes it did help my results. Mostly because the resources of parts and mechanics allowed me to excel every day.
Phil! Here we go again with the lappers. Have you even been in a battle where getting lapped, or lapping a guy, completely changes your race? I feel bad for them if that has happened. I know in supercross some guys will take advantage when the guy ahead of them pulls over to get lapped, and they just shoot right by with the leaders to take advantage and make a pass! Old racing trick, there. Have you seen that happen? Also, any throat slit gestures toward Friese? I’d be shocked if you didn’t have any run ins with him over the years.
I’ve been on every one of those sides. IT SUCKS! Unless I’m over taking someone under the blue flag, then it’s fine. Jokes on them! Sorry, not sorry. But it’s a shitty deal when getting lapped and you’re battling guys for 12th-17th. I’m gonna be honest, though, the AMA purse isn’t worth much between those positions. Maybe a few extra bucks from their team and person sponsors. Not nearly the amount being caused when the lapper takes out, or gets the way of someone battling for a podium spot.
Last weekend, Bam lost a lot of money by getting taken off the podium, and it ultimately took him out of the championship. A few races earlier, Kenny lost a lot of money and three valuable points in the championship. I understand racing is racing, but a podium position late in the race is a priority over 15th. But no, I haven’t had any run ins with Vince. He’s actually an okay guy off the track. I just did my job as a Phil-in, when Weston thought Vince was a piñata and got suspended. Because of that, Vince actually helped me get out on the track!
As the story goes, Phil, who was the official fill-in rider for JGR, was watching this race and as soon as he saw Weston unloading on Friese, he put his beer down and said, "Well, looks like they're gonna need me to race next weekend."
Hey Phil, how animated do you get when you’re watching these races at home? I saw one of your Vlogs on Racer X and you were all pumped for your guys when you were in the press box. When Coop is rolling up on Kenny, are you standing up and yelling at home? Are you going nuts when something big happens, like the Barcia/Tomac/Friese deal?
If you actually saw how I scream at the TV or jump around in the stands, you’d think I’m mental! I love that shit as much as the average joe. Normally my voice is shot the next day. If it’s a good battle for a heat race win/transfer, LCQ transfer, or a race win, I get excited. Hell yeah! It’s just in my blood, I love it! Anyone who has a serious passion for this sport gets the same way I’m sure!