The transition to the professional ranks is not always quick. Not every rider is able to win a championship, or even a race, in his first pro season. North Carolina native Kyle Peters hasn’t developed at the rate many thought. A highly acclaimed amateur in 2011, Peters dealt with some injuries his rookie year with Star/Valli Yamaha. He showed signs of progression in 2013—including his first career podium in Indianapolis on board an AG Motorsports Honda—but was again hampered by injuries late in the season. Peters has changed his training program, hoping to be stronger and more fit than any time in his career. Is a breakout year on the horizon? Peters thinks so.
Racer X: Toward the end of outdoors last year it seemed like you were beginning the transition toward a new deal. What is your current situation heading into 2014?
Kyle Peters: Yeah, we are not running AG Motorsports anymore. It’s going to be Peters Auto Mall. We hired Al Albiker to be my mechanic and kind of manage some things. This year it’s more of my dad’s deal. We will still be on Hondas. We are still trying to figure out what gear and stuff and fine-tune a few things. I’ll be doing the 250 East Coast and we have [Michael] Leib doing the West Coast. I possibly may do some West Coast 450 races on my 250.
[Update: We just received word from Kyle and the team that the team will indeed be called AG Motorsports in 2014. More details on the team are still to come]
How did the deal come about?
I’m not really sure how everything came about, but I think Leib kind of reached out to my dad and asked what we could do. We have a good deal where he will be riding the West Coast and I’ll be riding the East Coast. I’m not sure if he is doing outdoors yet. We will see how the supercross series goes, but we should have a solid team.
What will be the official name of the team?
We don’t know yet, we are still working some things out. Most likely it will still be Peters Auto Mall. We are still figuring out some sponsors, but we should know everything soon. I’m excited about it.
Kyle Peters had an encouraging year in 2013—including his first career podium. Will 2014 bring even more promise?
Simon Cudby photo
How important was it to be able to stay with Honda?
I grew up on Hondas and I love them. I feel more at home on them. It was awesome to be able to stay with them and bring everything over from last year and make it better and keep progressing. I think supercross will be another great year. [I want to] stay healthy and get some more podiums.
You made a big leap from your rookie season last year. What are your expectations going into next season?
I moved away from MTF [Millsaps Training Facility] and am living at Club MX now. These guys are working me really hard and next year should be an awesome year. I’m definitely going to be fit enough, my body is going to be good, we’re going to have the bike dialed in even better than last year. Honestly just be consistent and get on the box and ultimately I want to win.
"Coming out of amateurs … it’s a whole different ballgame. Amateurs is all fun and games, but once you turn pro it’s a job, it’s work." - Kyle Peters
How beneficial has Club MX been to your program?
They have been helping me out a lot. I can’t thank Brandon, Mike, Phil and all those guys enough with helping me out with my nutrition, gym stuff … they have been really, really killing me so far. I think it’s going to be a great year with these guys and I’m pumped to be here.
Riding the East Coast you get a later start to the season. What are the benefits to racing later and the drawbacks?
The East Coast you get a later start but ultimately I think it helps you get better prepared. You are able to watch the West Coast races and see how all those guys are doing things. All the stadiums are indoors, which is nice, so you don’t have to worry about the weather problems—except for Daytona. I don’t think it’s that much difference. I know the East Coast will be stacked just like the West Coast, so it will be a solid season for sure.
Peters (50) is now training full time at Club MX in South Carolina.
Simon Cudby photo
What are some of the thing you’re working on to take that next jump in your career?
I struggled last year with some of the rhythms, and I have been getting that down better. Still pounding out the whoops. My starts are there, but I need to carry more momentum into the whoops and the corners.
Club just put in a new supercross track as well, right?
Yep. The supercross track was done about a month ago. We just go into it. The track is awesome. It’s definitely [like a] race situation with all the lines.
There are a lot of pros that train at Club. Do you guys run races to help prepare?
For sure. We get all the guys together and pound out some laps and motos. Zach [Osborne] is here right now before he goes out to California to prepare for the Monster Cup. Jace Owen, Shane McElrath are here and Alex Martin and Phil Nicoletti are coming back so we will have a good group that will push each other to get better and better. It’s awesome. Everyone here is super nice … it kind of caught me off guard at first. If we are having problems with a section or somebody is doing something different we will go over that section and whoever is doing it better will try and teach somebody. We are always progressing to get better and better. It’s definitely a family here. Everyone is a team. We have some team races and the losers have to do something for the winners. It’s awesome. I’m loving it.
Does it almost put you into a team atmosphere to a certain extent?
Yeah, it definitely does. Motocross is definitely kind of a one person on the track. We will go play paintball or something as a group and it’s lots of fun.
How are you preparing for the upcoming season? Is it different now that you’re down at Club?
Yeah, every place is different. Still getting ready as far as getting stronger, working on technique, trying to hit everything really smooth, get my timing down and work on my corner speed. Ultimately it’s all really the same; you put in the laps, put in the motos and just go out there and get after it.
Peters is looking for a breakout year in 2014.
Simon Cudby photo
After bouts with injuries your first two seasons, are you expecting this to be the breakout year everyone has been waiting for?
Yeah, for sure. Definitely putting in three times the work I ever have before. I’m definitely going to be fit and ready. My bike is going to be good. I just got done with the first day of supercross and the bike is already pretty solid. I’m pumped to get the season going.
You mentioned working hard than every. Do you think the work ethic comes with being a professional for a couple seasons and knowing what to do?
For sure. Coming out of amateurs … it’s a whole different ballgame. Amateurs is all fun and games, but once you turn pro it’s a job, it’s work. I’m definitely going to be ready this year, no matter what.
With more media drawing to amateurs, they come in with a lot of pressure to win and win early. You had that pressure coming in. Sometimes people expect too much too soon, but sometimes it takes longer to develop…
Yeah, definitely. Supercross took me a while to really get he hang of and get comfortable. I definitely think I’m more of a supercross guy now, as far as my technique and just flowing and being smooth. It definitely takes some people longer than others. Some guys can just jump in and get after right away. Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of those people. But I’m feeling more ready right now than I was last year.