Joey Savatgy has been away from racing for some time now, but he’s ready for battle come outdoors 2014. After succumbing to an injury that took him out of the 2014 Supercross championship before it had even begun, Savatgy has been preparing for his ultimate comeback in hopes of making a real impression on everyone come outdoors. We caught up with the Rockstar Energy Racing/KTM rider as he was doing a bit of testing today at Milestone MX Ranch. Check out the interview below as he talks about the injury that sat him on the sidelines, his expectations for outdoors and his transition to the big leagues.
Lets start with the injuries. How is everything healing up?
Healing wise, everything is good! My wrist is slowly getting there as far as flexibility goes, but as far as strength, it’s pretty good for the most part. I’ve been hitting the gym to try to get that upper body strength back in time for Glen Helen. We still hav aboute six weeks so we have a little bit of time to get it dialed. But, yeah, the healing is good. No problems with it and we’re just really focusing on testing and little things like that.
The crash you sustained last year was pretty violent and you ended up with what seemed to be a laundry list of injuries...
I had a bunch of minor injuries, but the hardest one to come back from was my wrist. I broke the Scaphoid bone and I actually went back home to get that screwed together. It’s actually the same bone I broke in the other wrist at Southwick last year. That was the main injury, but I also had an AC separation on my left shoulder. Like you said, I did have a good amount of injuries, however, the only one that concerned us was the wrist because it was going to take the longest to heal.
You mentioned weightlifting. Has this been your main source of rehabilitation?
Yeah, weightlifting for now. I did a ton of bike riding when I was hurt and the main focus right now is getting back some upper body strength. Not using it for 12 weeks took a lot of strength away from me so that’s my main priority now and we’re getting close to where I need to be. Like I said, Glen Helen is coming up so we have a good week or two left of lifting then we can start focusing on endurance and doing long motos.
As of today, is the wrist a little sensitive? Or is it 100%?
Honestly, there really isn’t anything that bothers it. Obviously, there is the occasion were I land funny and kind of jar it, but I have no complaints otherwise with it. My doctor did a great job, so hopefully from here on out it’s smooth sailing and we can keep plugging away at the big picture that is outdoors.
To any average rider watching you as of right now, you look very fast, but do you feel a little tentative out there at times?
Not necessarily tentative, but I’m doing my best to ride smart. I’ve learned a lot this past year and being smarter is something that has been in my mind. I started riding about four weeks ago and there were 10 weeks total for me to get ready, so I put that into perspective and realized I don’t need to push myself yet. There’s obviously going to be people out there with stop watches and that’s how they gage themselves, but I’m taking a different approach right now. The main thing for me is to stay healthy. Being able to be back on the bike is awesome and I’m having a lot of fun now. For a while, it got to the point were I wasn’t having fun and everything was just getting old, but now everything is different and I’m pumped to be back at it. I was away from a dirt bike for so long that I realized that this is exactly what I want to do, so everyday I come out now I’m having fun. I’ve got another six weeks of preparation and I’m just having fun and trying to stay smart.
You said that everything got to a point were it wasn’t fun anymore. Would you consider that injury to have been a blessing in disguise now that your program and riding is fun again?
Yeah, I guess you can say that. It was just one of those things were I’d get up in the morning and think, “Okay here goes another bike ride.” Now I can get up in the morning and be excited for the day. I know what I need to do and I know where I want to be, so the bike rides, the lifting, the riding and testing are all apart of the big picture and now that kind of stuff is very important to me. Glen Helen is nearing and hopefully we’ll be where we need to be.
You’re opting out of Supercross for the last few rounds and focusing on outdoors. Do you have any expectation come round one?
Yeah, I do have expectations, but I’m going to keep those to myself. I not going to go balls out at the first round, but at the same time I know where I should be and I know there are a lot of people that have overlooked me because I’m really not mentioned a lot. I know what I’m capable of and I’m excited to come out and silence a few people who say this or that. I try not to pay attention to the forum boards or any social media for that matter because it’s more about me doing me. If I was in this sport to try to prove everyone wrong then I’d be here for a while. I know where I need to be and I know what it takes to get there and that’s what I’m out here everyday for and that’s to test, gain speed and get more comfortable on the bike. Come Glen Helen, if I meet those expectations then we’ll do a part two on this and I’ll let you know (laughs).
When you turned pro there wasn’t a huge hype behind your name like some of your competitors. Would you go as far as saying that was helpful once you made that transition?
No, I wouldn’t say it was helpful, but a lot of those big name guys were on big name teams. My first year as a pro I was able to get a ride with JDR and we struggled over there and once there was word of the team folding just a few rounds into the season it put a ton of stress on me, so I did my best to look the other way and put in good rides. And, honestly, what made the difference between people like Webb and Cianciarulo and myself was equipment in my opinion. Maybe I shouldn’t say that because I know to some people it’s going to look like an excuse, but at the end of the day, they are on very good bikes and at JDR we were on what we could muster up and we made it happen as best we could. I really thank those guys for giving me that stepping stone to some good rides last year. I’m incredibly thankful for KTM for giving me the ride for outdoors and now it’s even better because I’m on a great bike with Rock Star Energy Racing/KTM.
Are you getting excited knowing that your time away from the gate is almost over?
Yeah, for sure! It’s getting there. I still get butterflies and a bit nervous thinking about it, but I know once the gate drops all of that goes away and it’s just another race. I’ve been thinking of hitting some local races in the meantime just to get that feeling back of being behind a gate since it’s been a while. I’m super excited and all of this hard work that the team has been putting in has been awesome. It’s all just a piece to the puzzle and I can’t wait for racing to begin.