Matt Lemoine Seeks Redemption

It’s not what you’ve done for me lately that matters in professional sports, it’s what you are doing for me now. All professional sports are, at the core, a business. And as is the case with any business the bottom line has to be met if company doors are to stay open. The NFL is currently going through a huge financial crisis that may result in a lockout in 2011. In motocross, for many teams, results on Sunday (or Saturday) equal sales on Monday. Riders are paid to perform and when they don’t they can be written off as quickly as you can say, “who would you like to thank?”

In the case of Matt Lemoine, this is something he’s come to realize the hard way. After two solid seasons to start his pro career, Lemoine failed to produce in 2010. Now back on Kawasaki’s, the young Texan has found a new outlook on the sport and is ready to “close out all the negativity and go out there and just shut everybody up.”

Let’s kick this off with some talk of the new ride. You’re back on Kawasaki after quite a few years off. How does it feel?
I’ve got to be honest; I’m really liking it. It’s back where I started and it feels good to be back on it, that’s for sure.

We recently posted a video from Volcom of Nico Izzi and it kind of made me think of you. The two of you kind of came up together and, like Nico, you had a solid rookie year and then backed it up with a good sophomore year. Then things kind of fell apart last season and it seems a lot of people are writing you off as a legitimate contender.  So, are you pissed off and ready to show everyone what Matt Lemoine’s got?
Yeah, I definitely am. A lot of people are saying “ah, you suck” or “you’re not training hard enough.” It all goes back to luck and bike issues and little malfunctions here and there that everyone could have done something a little different to prevent. It just never clicked (last season), you know? Now it’s just time for a new chapter. I definitely have to just close out all the negativity and go out there and just shut everybody up.

It seems like it takes a bad season for everyone to start questioning your capabilities, but only a race or two for everyone to jump back on the bandwagon.
Exactly. The way it goes is you’re only as good as your last race. You can win a race one weekend and be the hero, then the next week get passed by 20 people and everyone thinks you suck. You’re only as good as your last race. So if I come out in the opening round and win everyone is going to be all around me, talking about how great I am and if I suck then everyone is going to just say, “what the heck is he doing out there?” It’s so easy to be a hero and a zero at the same time.

That’s the nature of the beast in any professional sport. It may be difficult to deal with sometimes, but the same rings true in any sport. If you’re not putting up numbers, or in your case results, your going to hear it from the fans and media. Which ultimately is where a lot of the pressure comes from.
I agree. It sucks sometimes because people don’t see what goes on behind the scenes all the time. They just see the results. It takes a lot just to make it into a night show, you know? A lot of people don’t give credit to some of these guys for making it into the night show or making the main. All that is a huge accomplishment for a lot of riders. Obviously I want to win and be on the podium and just put in good results all around, it just sucks that last year didn’t go that way considering the year I had before that. I finished 10th overall in outdoors and put in a good number of solid supercross races and last year people just started to doubt me. It’s time to change all that. I’m back on Kawasaki’s and everything with testing is going good. I guess when we get to Houston we’ll definitely find out.

I watched you race Houston SX at the opening round of the east in ’09. I remember talking to people in the press box about that possibly being your year. You had the speed to contest for top three and four finishes week in and week out. While things didn’t quite pan out that way, I assume that’s what you’re looking for again this year?
Of course. Just being on this bike has already built my confidence so much. Having the same thing to practice on and the same thing to race on, and all the little things that have changed with me. That’s where I’m going to be this year. That’s the end of it. And the fact that I’m doing it for myself this time around is just going to make it that much better.

Other than the bike, are there any other changes in your program or mentality that are going to help you reach your goals in 2011?
A different work ethic and a different mentality all around I think are going to be the biggest difference. I’ve been putting a lot of hard work and time into it and we’ve still got two months before I need to be ready. When the time comes I’ll be ready to go in Houston.

So you had a bad season. You know as well as anyone that you either back that up with a good one, or back it up with another bad one and then things get that much more difficult to make work.
Yeah, believe me I know. The position I’m in I can’t really afford to have another bad season. But at the same time you’ve got to give yourself credit and you’ve got to take what comes at you. Not one person is going to pull every single holeshot and not every person isn’t going to fall down or get tangled up in the first corner. You can sit there and say that you’re going to win every single race, but you don’t know that until the gate drops.

All you can do is be ready within yourself and take every race as it comes.
Yeah, and that’s all I’m going to do is ride to the best of my ability. If I get passed on the outside because someone flew around me, you know what, they were just better than me that day. I’m just going to put my head down and know that this year is going to be a good year.


If something slips under the radar, it isn't detected or noticed.

-        Webster’s Dictionary

Every year there are two or three riders that seemingly come out of nowhere, undetected, that send the industry scampering to find who and where these guys came from.  Names like Ryan Dungey, Wil Hahn and many others have fit this bill.  We have left out names like Dean Wilson, Justin Barcia, Josh Hansen, Blake Baggett, and Blake Wharton – among others – who everyone is expecting to contend.  Instead we took a look deeper into the field to find the hidden gems that may shine bright next year.  Here are 10 under the radar riders to keep an eye out for next year.  

- Note: This feature only refers to Lites class riders. Log back on next week when we highlight out Top 10 Under the Radar riders for the Supercross class. We also chose not to include rookie contenders in this article, as we have already published a Rookie Preview.  
Matt Lemoine

After struggling for the better part of the last year, Lemoine is looking to revitalize his career aboard a brand new machine.  Lemoine will be aboard a Kawasaki this year after spending last year on a Suzuki under the Suzuki City/Nitro Circus team.  Lemoine looks recharged on his new bike and looks to improve upon his 11th overall on the East Coast last year.  If Lemoine can improve upon his consistency he should be a shoe in for a top 10 this season.