Joey Savatgy interview - Vurbmoto Feature
Interview Thursday 16th January 2013 By vurbmoto
For riders transitioning from the amateur ranks into the pros, there is no move more jarring than jumping directly into professional supercross. From the packed stadiums to the oversaturation of quote-hungry media professionals, it's complete mental overload for most that attempt the jump. For JDR Motorsports/KTM's Joey Savatgy, his adaptation to the pro ranks was a 0-100MPH jolt into the center of the motocross universe. We caught up with him to discuss bridging the gap and finding success at Phoenix Supercross.
So for starters, how crazy was last weekend? It had to be an adjustment with all of the chaos on the track, the crowd screaming, etc. What was it like?
That’s the thing, it was crazy. Tomac was close to me and then we got into that rhythm and I ended up rolling and he rolled up next to me, once I figured out who it was I just thought, “sh*t”. I got out of that rhythm and hucked the next triple and then they still had the medic flags out for Davalos and I was like “Here we go again”. I got through that section and heard him right behind me. I figured if I made it to the sand and he wasn’t next to me I had it and then we made the next turn… I just went a little too wide and caught my footpeg off that double after the mechanics area and it threw me to the left and once that happened I figured he was going to run it down the inside. It’s a bummer, but it’s whatever.
How was the transition from Amateurs (where you had a number of successful seasons) straight into Supercross? To be honest, it wasn’t too much of a difference and I’ve raced against a lot of these guys before. I think a lot of it was just the culture shock of moving to a stadium packed full of people, there’s lights, cameras everywhere…I guess the nerves got the best of me at A1.
You obviously went back and did your homework after A1, what did you change from Round 1 to Round 2?
I was actually really disappointed after A1. I mean everyone was pumped that I made the night show and made the main, and don’t get me wrong, it’s cool for sure. But I work too hard to be happy with anything but what I want and that’s a win. And obviously it may not come this year because this field is extremely stacked, but I think Top 5 is realistic. You saw Jessy Nelson just last weekend get a top 5 and there’s no reason that I shouldn’t be up there where he is. So the difference between A1 and Phoenix is that we came back, we watched the video, went over with some stuff with the team, made some adjustments in between and obviously it was for the good.
Of the 2012 graduating class of A guys, you are one of the few that’s gotten a ride right off the bat. How does that keep you motivated to keep pushing and progressing? Do you feel some pressure to perform coming in as the new guy?
Yeah for sure. I was glad when the JDR team came to me and asked me to come test in California. I was really excited because my whole A year just really went down the drain with some injuries, I got mono, some stupid stuff like that. When they came to me it was a tough decision because I had never been on a KTM before and I had no idea what it was going to be like. I had to make a decision to take the offer they gave me or roll the dice and go into Loretta’s, do really good and open up some eyes and try to get some other contracts, or take what I thought would be best for me and that was the JDR contract. I definitely have a point to prove, there are a lot of people that don’t think I deserve that ride because I didn’t do that great in my last year, but I think the team sees it and the people last weekend saw it. Just give me a little time to get it figured out and I think I’ll get where I want to be and be running up front more often.
You spent a lot of time at MTF over the years and now you live here in California with Martin Davalos. How is the transition to managing your own program going?
It’s definitely different, I miss MTF for sure, it’s pretty much my home. I’ve been there since 2005 and everyone over there from Colleen Millsaps to Little Brian and my trainer Clint, I wouldn’t be anywhere without those guys. They’ve been behind me since day 1 when I was just a squid on a 60. And we made so much progress since then, even through the bad times they’ve been behind me with positive influence. It’s a little harder being here in California but I’m still communicating with them every day and I talk to my trainer at the end of the day so we kind of have a program that we’re sticking to and it’s working. I just need to get through this year to learn some stuff and get the confidence going.
What it’s like under the tent, do you guys have good chemistry between everyone on the team?
It’s actually really good, everyone on the team, even the 3 mechanics get along good. Malcolm and I always get along and are messing around, so everything is good for sure. We’re all friends and we’re all there to help each other out so in between practices if we have a line or there’s a section that we aren’t all doing we go watch the video and talk about it. We aren’t trying to be all “secret secret” about stuff because in the long run we all want to see each other do good. Last weekend it was cool to see all 3 of us make it, it’s definitely good for the team.
What are you taking with you after last weekend in Phoenix into A2?
Last weekend was good for the most part, I have to work on the main event, come main event time I’m still struggling a little bit and not flowing like I should, but that’s why we have so many rounds and I have so many opportunities to work on it. So I think each weekend we’ll get better…I guess we’ll see how it goes this weekend!