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Monday Conversation II: Martin Davalos

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Muscle Milk/MDK KTM’s Martin Davalos is among the nicest guys in the paddock, and despite his obvious speed, he has yet to win a Lites main (outside of a Canadian race a couple of years ago, which wasn’t AMA-sanctioned). This past weekend at Daytona, it looked for a while like that was going to change, as he led most of the main event before Christophe Pourcel caught and passed him. We talked to Martin on Sunday after the race.

Racer X: You led a whole lot of that main event, and early on, it seemed like you pulled away from Christophe Pourcel pretty easily. Can you talk about what you were thinking out front?
Martin Davalos: Obviously, a great start helped me out for sure. I got a great jump off the gate, and that put me in a great spot. After that, I just told myself to go out there and have fun, and I had a bad weekend last week, and it was just bad luck. I just wanted to go out there and show that I was ready, and to have fun. That’s what I did. I started riding my own race. I actually got a fifth-place start, which wasn’t bad at all, and then I passed a couple people, and then me and [Austin] Stroupe hit in the rhythm section in the back, and unfortunately, he went down. I don’t know if he thinks it’s my fault or not, but it’s a bummer that he went down and couldn’t finish. After that, I just put my own pace out there, and I started to reel the guys up front in, and I went by Matt Lemoine, and then Christophe, and after that, I had a clear track in front of me, and I just decided to calm down and ride my own laps. It was going great. I was just flowing out there, pretty much, and was in my own bubble, I would say. Like you said, I started to pull away from Christophe a little bit, and then I just realized that I was winning, and I haven’t been in that spot since Toronto, that one year that I won. I looked up at the board, and my mechanic showed me 11 laps, and I started to make the mistakes, and Christophe closed up on me. I thought too much about what I was doing instead of just kind of like reacting and just keeping riding. I tightened up, and Christophe kept his own pace and was able to get around me. My laptimes slowed down a little bit, and Nico was able to catch up to me, but it was great for me to be in that position and learn from it. That’s what I can take out of this weekend – I learned a lot from being out front, and I’ve just got to get comfortable. It opened up a lot of doors in my mind now that I can run with those guys and lead some laps.

Daytona was Chad Reed’s 37th AMA Supercross win, and even he said after his 36th in Indy that he got tight out front because he hadn’t been out there in a while, so it’s easy to imagine with you, what it’s like after 10 laps on a tough track like that, you know?
For sure. The track got really rough – really gnarly – and it was just about not making any mistakes back there. Being up front like that, and how good it was flowing out there, and realizing that I was pulling away from them, it was a great situation, but like you said, it’s something that you’ve really got to be comfortable doing to be able to finish it strong like that. All I can take from this is the great experience, for me, for sure. Hopefully, I can get a good start this weekend coming up and just make it happen.

Is that the plan from here on out, just trying to get a win or two?
Yeah, for sure. After last weekend, it’s just a bummer for the team and for myself. My goals were just to be consistent with everything. Last weekend [in Indianapolis] was bad, and me and Stroupe got together in the Heat race, which put us in a bad position for the start in the main event, and then that gate position ended up taking me out of the race. I want to be able to ride my own races from now on and put myself in good positions.

So what’s the plan from here on out for you, as far as your career is concerned? Are you going to race Lites for another year or move up?
Obviously, I want to stay in Lites for another year. I’m not sure what I’ll do. My contract right now is about KTM and what they’re going to do, but as far as what I want to do, I want to stay another year in the Lites. I heard something about the points now making people move sooner, and it’s pretty gnarly, but I want to stay in the Lites another year. I’d love to get a championship for KTM before I move up, and it’s all about feeling comfortable up front, as we saw this weekend. It’s about getting in first place and making things happen. That’s what matters, and I’ve just got to get used to that feeling.

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