Just over a year ago from today, Vince Friese of MotoConcepts Honda, while on the gate for the final Moto of the 2022 WSX season, offered Grant Harlan $2,000 to wipe out then teammate Justin Brayton, in hopes that would net him that year's Championship. After attempting to pay someone to do his dirty work for him, Friese still took him out anyway, and couldn't even do it without wrecking himself. Then, when confronted by Brayton after the fact, danced around what happened. So if you wanted to know about Vince Friese's character, that's just about all you need to know. Riders like Christian Craig, Jason Anderson, Weston Peick, and many others can all probably attest to that, and that was before this weekend.
This weekend marked the return of World Supercross, which is running an Arenacross round in all but name at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi. Now surely, in an Arenacross environment, Friese would race in a respectable manner and not get himself in hot water again for the second year in a row, right??? Right???
International Clown Show
So as you can see in that first clip description, Friese was intentionally holding up about five guys behind him in that first WSX Moto and then punted Dean Wilson at the first chance he got, and then almost did it again after he took the lead and win from him in WSX Moto 2, cutting the track after he missed the corner as well.
Then he cut the course and clearly gained multiple bike lengths on Joey Savatgy, as you can see in the second clip in this piece, and both he and Wilson were furious with him, barking at him as the three were being interviewed after the Final Moto.
Calling Wilson a "whiner" after you intentionally wrecked him once and got close a second time is an INSANE move. The point Friese made about it being an Arenacross race and needing to be aggressive to win would be good if we didn't have years' worth of evidence that shows he's just as dirty on a Supercross track. Last year with Brayton in Australia, with Craig in Phoenix in 2022, Justin Barcia at one of the three Indianapolis races in 2021, Weston Peick multiple times at A1 2015, and a few more for sure.
Dustin Pipes Chimes In
This sentiment isn't just with riders anymore. Dustin Pipes, the owner of HEP Suzuki, chimed in on Twitter shortly after things wrapped up on Saturday with a thread that was more of a statement if anything.
"I have a lot of respect for what Mike Genova and Tony Alessi have built Motoconcepts into. They’ve won races, had multiple podiums, build great bikes, have a clean look, and a great staff. It takes a lot of work, sacrifice, and money to achieve those things. But it’s disappointing they continue to support and defend Vince Friese. He doesn’t race safely and he hasn’t for 15 years. He routinely puts his other competitors in unnecessary harm and is a danger to everyone he’s racing. Take outs, track cutting, cross jumping, brake checking, swerving in straight aways- just a normal night for Friese tonight. Enough is enough." - Dustin Pipes on Vince Friese
The (well-deserved) criticism that is levied towards Friese becomes far more credible when it's someone in a position like Pipes. This absolutely should have happened after the Australian GP last year, but good on Pipes for speaking up, someone had to sooner or later.
The Rider, or the Team Who Enables Him?
Friese has been a professional for close to 15 years now and has been a dirty rider for a wide majority of that stretch. We all know who he is as a rider and how little he respects his competitors on track, disregarding the safety of others on a weekly basis. To that end, I ask this: Two months out from 2024, who's more at fault at this point? Friese, being who he's always been, or Mike Genova and Tony Alessi for continuing to enable him by giving him a ride year after year? I think you can answer that one. He's going to get someone seriously hurt someday, and everyone but the people who sign his checks can say they saw it coming from a mile away.
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