Interview: Stephen Rubini (Part Three) – MXGP rider salary & French MXoN success!
In part three and the final part of our interview with Stephen Rubini we discuss the rider salary in MXGP as well as the French talent in the paddock and the Motocross Des Nations success they’ve recently had.
You can read the first two parts below if you missed them:
GateDrop: Gautier Paulin recently stated about there’s a lot of riders paying for rides in the paddock at the moment. What was your thoughts on his comments and what do you think Infront could do to help the situation?
Rubini: I think he said that because he has nothing to lose anymore. For sure, for the riders it is getting harder and harder to get paid. For the teams it’s also harder and harder to do the World Championship, especially when there’s so many oversea GP’s. At the end of the year it’s tight for the teams. I don’t know what Infront can do but for sure they better help the teams because we can see some teams close their doors. For sure some are coming back but it’s tough. This year, the team almost couldn’t take me because of the budget so it is really hard. Especially at this time with COVID-19 around.
GateDrop: Do you think brining prize money back would help or even lowering the entry fees?
Rubini: You know when we compare to the old times, riders after they qualified would get some bonus just to race. After the race if they did good they would get some prize money so when you compare to the old times (laughs), it’s killing us, you know. Now the team’s have to pay to ride and it’s a lot to pay for the teams to put the rider on the track. For sure, if that could change, maybe it would help the teams. I know it’s also hard for Infront and they’re doing the best they can do.
GateDrop: French riders in the past have been known as hard to work with and stubborn but the new French generation seem different. With likes of Benistant, Boisrame, Vialle and yourself all living in Netherlands or Belgium. How was moving there for you – it can be tough to move away from your home country!
Rubini: I am feeling really good in Belgium, I think it’s the country of sport. You see a lot of people always cycling, always running and the life here is clean. It has everything to work good. For now I will change a little bit, I will go back to France for winter training because it’s easier to train there. But for sure I am still happy to live in Belgium, I really like how we live here.
GateDrop: I feel like in the past young French riders all looked towards America and questioned riding sand because of that. Now do you think the attention is more on MXGP and try to make it in Motocross? The results at the MXoN events has probably helped…
Rubini: For sure, USA is always a dream for kids and even for me now and my age. It is a dream but the World Championship is still a very high level and the paddock is looking very good. The kids now also want to try it, especially when you see the likes of Herlings and like you say the Motocross of Nations – the European riders are always almost in front of USA. All in all its two different championships, lifestyles and different bikes also. It all depends on the choices and the road you end up taking.
GateDrop: There’s so many young French talents at the moment, what would you put this down too? The French federation seem to do a wonderful job!
Rubini: I think there are many riding schools in France and from a young age they are already very technical on the bike and progress really fast. I think that helps a lot and we also have some very good tracks and very good races with the French Championship. BUD Racing also do a very good job with the kids, we can see they have a new very fast kid showing up almost every year so that helps a lot – they can really smell talent (laughs), they’ve already brought good riders in the past.
I think that the federation do a good job with the kids as well and that shows in the European championships.
GateDrop: You obviously haven’t been part of it but you must be so proud to be a French rider and watching them dominate the MXoN events recently – one day I’m sure you’d love to be part of it!
Rubini: For sure, I am really proud of them. Winning five times in a row, it’s just crazy and never happened for France. To be the kings I am really happy, they’ve done an amazing job. Of course, I would love to be part of it in the next years but there is kind of one thing I don’t like. It’s a little bit the French mentality, I say it because of social media, you know two years ago in Assen when they picked Renaux, it was a big mess on social media. I wouldn’t like to go if I wasn’t at the front in the World Championship – if you are at the front, they will not say anything but if you aren’t they will always say something.
It can hurt sometimes if you look to social media and it can put you down a little bit and that’s not helpful. We could see for many years that Gautier Paulin that they were saying some bad things about him but he was always there for the French team, he was always the captain so I think he was helpful and was always there for the team so I don’t think they need to say stuff about him.
Interview: Andy McKinstry
Main pic: Assomotor Honda