INSTAGRAM | @versacesavatgy17
A few days ago the final checkered flag of the 2018 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series flew in Indiana, and yet the silly season has already begun. There were strong indications that pointed to Joey Savatgy moving up to the Monster Energy Kawasaki team to ride alongside Eli Tomac on the 2019 KX450, but today it became official. We headed out to Fox Raceway to meet up with Savatgy while he was testing with the team to talk about what led up to this point, his first day in his new role, and what’s in store for the future.
This is officially day one on the new ride, how did everything come together between you and the Monster Energy Kawasaki team?
Unfortunately this year we didn’t really have the results that we wanted and expectations were high. The bottom line is we always expect to win and unfortunately, we weren’t able to provide that this year, but I think we’ve shown that in years past that we’re capable of winning and fighting for championships. Kawasaki is giving me an awesome opportunity with this new bike. There’s honestly not a lot for me to say, it’s what I’ve always wanted and thought about as a kid. I’m pumped and blessed. I can’t really describe it yet, it’s still all setting in. It’s a fresh start and we’re all new with the bike and team. We’re taking it slow today, but getting ready for the Monster Energy Cup
There were a lot of highs and lows during the outdoor season this year, as well as some lows that probably should have been highs, what can you take from this season and apply to the future?
It’s cliche, but everything happens for a reason and I truly believe that. The lows teach you things and the highs teach you things. When you’re at the bottom it keeps you hungry and when you’re at the top it keeps you humble. I know what it’s like to be on both sides of it. When you’re winning and things are going great because you’re battling for wins and championships all of the time it’s what I work so hard for. That’s why I bust my butt and put in the work at home and make the sacrifices that I do. When things aren’t going great, it’s easy to get low. I know it’s cliche, but there can only be one winner and at the end of the day, the bottom line is I want to be the winner. It’s been unfortunate that I haven’t been able to get a title for myself or the team, but like I said, Kawasaki has brought me in and given me an opportunity and I’m happy to make the most of it.
You’re in a pretty prestigious position getting to ride for factory Kawasaki and you’re also going to be joining the two-time 450 MX champion, Eli Tomac. Do you feel like having him as a teammate and the staff that’s helped him get there will allow you to get to the level you’re looking to be on?
I think so, absolutely. That’s something that I work on at home even with Ricky Carmichael. Obviously, he’s retired now, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that he’s the greatest of all time and those accomplishments will never be doubted or questioned in anyone’s mind. When you’re around people like that and you’re around winning people, for me I try to learn everything I can and be a sponge. Being at the farm with Ricky, I’ve learned a lot over the years, including his approach and everything like that. I hope to be Eli at the races and training. He’s been very successful and, like you said, he’s won the last two seasons in the outdoors and a lot of Supercross races. The guy has incredible speed and being around it brings me confidence. My goal is to try to learn as much as I can as quickly as possible and make the most of this opportunity.
You mention your program with Ricky, what do you guys have in store for this offseason? I’d imagine there will be some changes with the 450 and everything that comes with it.
Honestly, I don’t think there will be a lot of changes. Obviously, the motos will be a little bit longer and there will be less downtime. I’m getting ready for the Monster Energy Cup and that’s something I’ve never had to do before. I’ve wanted to do it, but it’s never worked out, so I’m excited for that. There’s nothing drastic though. We’ll still be doing the bike rides and the cardio and gym stuff, and I’ll be putting in work on track doing laps. It’s an all-new start and it’s going to be a long, but I’m excited and I’m going to try to make the best of it by showing up every weekend with the best intentions.
Alright, some guys say they’re more suited to the 450 and others like the 250 better. Do you feel like you’re more of a 450 guy or a 250 guy?
I hope I’m more of a 450 guy [laughs]. I have a little bit more of a smoother style. I’m not someone who typically looks out of control or has a lot of scary moments, and I do believe some of my success at Colorado has come from that. Being at altitude, the bikes are slower revving, and I feel like it’s one of those tracks where if you start making mistakes, the consequences are a lot worse than when we’re somewhere at full power. I like to think that I’m both, but the 450 is something I’m excited to get started on. I don’t want I’m a 250 or a 450 guy, I race dirt bikes for a living so I need to be good at both, but I’m ready to spend my time on a 450.