Insight: Davi Millsaps

Insight Davi Millsaps

November 30, 2011 2:10pm
Davi Millsaps' first season with the Joe Gibbs Racing Yamaha team wasn’t a spectacular one. He struggled in supercross overcoming an injury from the previous year outdoors, and just as he was finding his form again outdoors, a knee injury ended his year early. DM18 has resigned with the JGR team for a second season, and will be teamed with James Stewart. He also believes his program is much further ahead than where it was last year. We rang up Davi this morning at his California house to learn more.

Racer X Online: You’re back on JGR. I heard a million rumors, and none of them seemed to involve you coming back to that team. So how did this end up happening?
Davi Millsaps
: You know how rumors are, man. They float around like there’s no tomorrow. I did get seen on a different bike, and rumors spread that I was on a different team. But the truth was, my deal was up, and I was out in California and just needed to ride. So that other bike was the only thing I had on me. They [JGR] were waiting on James to sign his deal, and once he got done, I got done. That was it.

So you weren’t ever on the outs with those guys, you were just waiting.

So now you’re in California, and Stewart is down at his place in Florida. From what I hear, you’re not going to be based in North Carolina any longer? The team is working differently?
It’s definitely working differently with James coming on board, but I’m flying to North Carolina this weekend to do some testing, do our team photo shoot, and stuff like that. I’ll be there testing through Christmas, and then I’ll come out to California again for A1.

Millsaps is back with JGR after lots of speculation during the off-season.
Photo: Andrew Fredrickson

So you’ve cut yourself back to just two houses now, instead of three.
Yeah, I don’t have my North Carolina house anymore, I still have my places in California and Georgia. But in North Carolina I can still stay at my buddy Josh’s house if I need to.

So what the heck happened to you last summer? The knee injury from RedBud sounded not too bad at first, but then you were out for the rest of the year. What happened?
I don’t really know.

What? How is that possible?
I don’t honestly remember what the doctor said at first. I first heard it was my meniscus and it wasn’t that bad. Then I heard I had torn a bunch of cartilage, and they would have to drill holes in my femur to get it to grow back. It was a little bit longer recovery time that we first anticipated. It was a bummer that I missed the rest of the season.

So it wasn’t a ligament issue?
No it definitely wasn’t the worst-case scenario. If I had let them do what they wanted to do, surgery wise, I would have been out for four months, not even being able to get on the bike or anything. And I didn’t want them to do that!

Well, explain why you wouldn’t? You were hurt in July so you had more than four months at that point.
Well because I really had no idea, it could have gone wrong and taken even longer. I was out about a month and a half with the surgery that I did have. Going through the other surgery, they would have had to cut my knee in half and completely realign my knee. That was just too much!

So now the knee is good and you’re back on the bike?
Yeah I have a few weeks of riding under my belt. I’m just doing the best I can. Everyone is always getting on me for not doing stuff, but I know I’m here doing the best that I can.

Well, compare it to last year. It took almost the entire supercross season to where you felt good, physically, overcoming your kidney issues from a crash in 2010. Do you feel way ahead just compared to that?
Definitely. Going into Anaheim, right now I’m 20 pounds lighter than I was last year. A lot of things have changed for the better.

Let me ask about the bike. When Stewart signed, everyone said, “Wow, I can’t believe he’s on the Yamaha again.” But you rode that bike all last year. What do you think?
It’s getting better. It’s a lot better. I went to James’ and we did some testing on the 2012 bike, and it’s a lot better than our supercross bike last year. We carried what we learned outdoors into supercross, and it’s made it a lot better. And Bubba coming on board, it has added a lot to the team. I was pretty pumped that he was able to add that. He knows a lot about what it takes to win, and he’s brought that all to the team.

Millsaps was beginning to excel outdoors before a knee injury cut his season short.
Photo: Andrew Fredrickson

So it’s open communication between both of you. If you have an idea, he can use it, and if he gets something, you can use it.
There are certain things that maybe he likes that I don’t. So then it’s different. But they try to give us both what we want. Like I said, he brings a lot to the team. I spent a week at his house testing, and he seems like a pretty cool dude.

Are you still working with Ezra Lusk?
Yes sir.

Well that has to be big. In this sport it seems like riders switch trainers all the time.
Ezra and me get along real well. We butt heads a lot, but what rider and riding coach don’t? He’s a great guy and I like working with him. I wouldn’t change it for anything. He’s been through a lot and he’s still helping me, so I appreciate it.

Okay let’s keep the score here: you have a better bike, you’re healthier than last year, you have the trainer you want and you can do what you want to do. So you have to be excited.
I am. I like the way things are going, I live where I want to live and ride where I want to ride. It takes a lot of pressure off and makes things better. Before, if it rains in one place, you just have to sit there and watch it downpour. Now, if it rains, I just go somewhere else. And Bubba’s house isn’t too far, so if it rains at my house, I can go down to his. Or we can go to North Carolina. It makes it a lot better for everyone, I believe.