Interview: Fredric Vialle reflects on Tom’s first year racing in America
The Vialle family have now had their first season in America after making the switch from Grand Prix Motocross to tackle the AMA Supercross and Motocross season. Considering Vialle didn’t have any Supercross experience before the season he had a solid rookie season but for 2024 will be looking more now he has a years experience under his belt.
We caught up with Fred Vialle at Paris Supercross to discuss his son’s first year racing in America and more.
Listen or read below:
GateDrop: Fred, it was the first year for the Vialle family in America. How did you find the move there and adapting to a new country?
Vialle: It was a completely new challenge. It’s a new life with the team, the tracks. It is hard and very new and completely different than a GP. In GP’s we’ve been there for a long time and it’s more familiar.
GateDrop: After a year being in America are you guys happy there now and settled in? How’s the English, it wasn’t great 6-7 years ago but I think it is better now (laughs).
Vialle: Yeah it is better. It is not perfect but after one year it is a lot better. In the US, it is nice for the Motocross.
GateDrop: Just on Tom’s Supercross season, it was obviously his rookie season and for his first year I think the speed was good but the last step is to improve his whoops speed. Would you agree?
Vialle: Yeah because Tom didn’t have much experience in Supercross. For the bike, for the testing, he had no experience. It was a problem for the practice but I think he goes in a good direction with the evolution. The problem is the whoops, sometimes it is okay and then the next lap it is like ‘sh*t’, good or no good. After that makes it difficult.
GateDrop: Where you happy with his first season in Supercross this year? Like you say he had no experience but he had the speed and was up there…
Vialle: Yeah, it is normal. It was a good season and happy because no crashes (that caused injury) so he had the complete season in Supercross and Motocross. He made much evolution with SMX so yes, it was good.
GateDrop: Just on the Motocross season, the big difference between AMA and MXGP is a one day format V a two day format. Tom doesn’t have much time to learn these tracks and the American riders all know them very well. Is that the biggest challenge to learn the tracks quickly?
Vialle: Yeah it is completely different. With one day it goes more fast and from the first practice you have to go. Sometimes it is possible the best lap is from the first lap for the day so that makes it very difficult for Tom. He has to make a fast jump and in America from the start it’s very aggressive. In the GP’s sometimes you have more time and gets more aggressive after the start but in the US, no.
GateDrop: At Southwick, a pretty rough sand track, he was able to show what he could do in those conditions so you must have been placed for him to get the win there?
Vialle: We were happy. It was a good condition for result, it was good for the motivation. It was nice for us.
GateDrop: Just on the AMA tracks compared to MXGP, how do they compare? I feel like in MXGP, you have to be smooth and throttle control is very important whereas in America it is very intense and the tracks maybe aren’t quite as rough…
Vialle: Completely different. In GP’s it is necessary to have good control of the gas but in USA, no. You have to be more aggressive, okay, you have Jett Lawrence who is very smooth but for me for the moment it is only Jett Lawrence like this. It is crazy but in USA it is necessary to be more aggressive.
GateDrop: At the Motocross des Nations this year in France, it was unbelievable for team France and Tom who nearly won the second moto outright on his 250cc, what a weekend it was!
Vialle: Yeah we are happy because the one year in America hasn’t been easy for Tom but to come back to Europe, he had much motivation for the result. For the guys in the GP’s, if you look at the results, no, it is fast in the US. In MX2, you maybe have 26-27 riders and after nothing, the level is much lower, it is normal.
GateDrop: For 2024, what are the goals? To fight for a Motocross title at least and maybe a Supercross title too?
Vialle: Motocross and Supercross, we go for both.
GateDrop: Long term do you see Tom staying in America for a long time or are you taking it one year at a time? I’d love to see him in MXGP in the future on the 450cc!
Vialle: I don’t know. Maybe we will come back in MXGP, I think it is possible (laughs).
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Image: Align Media