We knew that Davi Millsaps would be at Pala Raceway when we headed to the San Diego County track this morning, and prepared for a standard “welcome back” interview and photo gallery. So imagine our surprise when we pulled up to the track and saw the Rockstar Energy Racing rider putting in laps aboard an already-branded KTM 450 SX-F. We’d heard the rumors of the team making a switch in motorcycle manufacturers, but thought that if the change were to come, it would be in the off-season. While at the track, the team released a statement on the switch, and detailed the amount of support they will receive from the Austrian brand. Today was the first time that Millsaps has swung a leg over the bike he will race in 2014, and we must say that he looked good in the initial rides.
It’s been a bit since we’ve last seen you because of the surgery. How does your leg feel now?
It feels good! I’m a little sore after riding today, and it’s tender where the knee brace goes because that is where they did the incision, but all in all it feels a lot studier. It still feels a little weak because I have been off of it for a long time, and now I just have to get it stronger.
We saw the Instagram before and after photos, and your leg was kinked over before the surgery. How could you walk and ride with it being that way?
[Laughs] You just get used to it. I dealt with it for a long time and I kept hurting it. It came to a point where I could have had a total knee reconstruction and end my career at 25, or do what I did. So I went this route.
How’ve you spent the downtime this summer?
Trying to get back into shape. With my leg being so week and doing nothing for eight and a half weeks, that hurt. It takes a while to get back into shape.
Was it easier for you to have this injury happen after you’d proven yourself in Supercross, or was it worse than when you’ve been injured in lackluster years?
I thought it sucked more going out this year than any other year, because I knew that I was up there with the front guys every single weekend, that I was consistent, and that I was in shape. For me that was worse than getting hurt in the middle of the season, because I knew the shape I was in and what it would come back to be.
How important was it to get back on the bike? How many days have you been riding prior to now?
This is it. I decided to jump on the bike and get used to it.
How did the new deal come about? Everyone knows that the Rockstar Energy Racing team received no support from Suzuki, but there was a rumor that you only wanted to ride a Suzuki.
The bottom line is that I like where I am at. I think the team is great, and today was my first day on the bike. I wanted to be on the bike that I am going to ride next year when I got back from my femur. With this being the first time that I have every thrown my leg over a KTM, it is pretty good. It brings me back to the old days with the steel frame, and everything is good. We have a lot of work ahead of us to do, but it’s the same way every year. You have to put the work in to get yourself and the bike where you want to be. It should work out great.
What is the plan for these next few weeks? Will we see you race at the Monster Energy Cup?
That’s the plan. We need to shakedown the bike and myself, and if I am not ready then I am not ready. You have to draw the line between going out and being stupid and going out, being prepared for it, and doing good. After a couple of rides today, I am tired and I can’t hold on any longer. It’ll take a while to get back to where I need to be, but hopefully I can be there by Monster Cup.