Well, who expected this announcement? It was clear that the CLS Kawasaki team might have to look for a replacement rider for the injured Arnaud Tonus; but who would of thought that they would reach out to Jimmy Decotis? Here is what we think about the move, let us know your opinion.
Honestly, this news shocked me. At first, I thought it may some kind of late April Fools joke. But, it is now apparent that Jimmy Decotis is indeed going to complete the remainder of the FIM Motocross World Championship. It is quite unique for a European team to reach out to an American privateer. But this decision could be very beneficial for the team, and Jimmy.
Obviously, Jimmy Decotis will find the going tough at first. It is not going to be easy to make the change from a man-made supercross track to the deep sand of Holland. Understandably, it may take him a couple of rounds to garner the results that are expected of him. Off of the bike, Decotis will be a great asset to the team also. Decotis is one of the most popular riders in the USA; his personality is one that has attracted a wide fan base. I think that his attitude and outlook on racing will bring a lot of fans to the CLS Kawasaki tent in the coming weeks.
It is evident that Jimmy Decotis wants to reach the very top of the sport. It has been a tough ride for him so far, as the one time that he actually made it onto one of the top-level teams (Geico Honda) he had to deal with multiple injuries. In fact, he missed all of last year with an ACL injury. However that is now behind him and he has got a sufficient amount of race-time under his belt thus far this year in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series.
Unfortunately, there is not really a precedent for an American succeeding in their first time over here. Fortunately, Jimmy Decotis will have the backing of one of the best teams in the pits, which will undoubtedly work in his favour. He also is a great starter. If he could grab a holeshot at the Italian GP in just over a week’s time, it could pay dividends. I do think that for the most part, Jimmy will find himself battling with riders like Lieber and Butron; time will tell.
Jimmy Decotis is currently travelling over to Europe, so he will have a handful of days to get accustomed to the team and the Kawasaki before the Italian GP. Decotis’ involvement in the series will increase interest from the USA undoubtedly. I do find it intriguing that the deal could spill over into 2014 also, as it was explained in the press release: “If all goes as expected, James will also have the opportunity to stay with CLS in 2014.”
I had heard on the weekend that Tonus could be out for a while but I wasn’t expecting a replacement rider announcement so quickly nor was I expecting it to be Jimmy DeCotis. But, when you think about it, Jimmy has raw speed and was a member of the Geico Honda team for a couple of seasons, so it makes sense. Unfortunately he never really got to show his speed as injuries kept him off the bike for the majority of the time.
This season he has again showed glimpses of his speed in the East coast series but he was doing it on a privateer Honda. This deal is a big step up from that and this is his chance to do something on the world stage. Being recommended by PC boss Mitch Payton would be a big confidence booster in itself and Jimmy’s motivation will be at an all time high.
American’s tend to come to the GPs with a bucket full of confidence but not too much knowledge of the series, sometimes their expectation can be a bit too high and then when the reality of the level of the GPs sink in they get disheartened and go back home. Mike Brown told me a couple of years ago that the first advice he would give to any American taking on the GPs would be not to be overconfident.
If Jimmy can avoid that issue I think he will be a great addition to the series. I think top ten should be a realistic achievement and if he gets the starts maybe even top five. DeCotis is known to be fearless and he should get good starts with his size, or lack of it. He has the tools and he has the raw speed to be up there.
He just has to be able to put it all together on the world stage and that’s the hard part about Grand Prix racing, it’s adapting to all the different tracks and countries and it puts every rider is out of their comfort zone at some stage.
Words by Lewis Phillips and Jonathan McCready