Earlier this year, Weston Peick sustained a wrist injury at the Glendale Supercross, which sidelined him for the final 14 rounds of Monster Energy Supercross, disappointing after starting the year with strong After 8-7-5 finishes. The injury also left him behind the eight ball heading into Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. Weston pushed through the pain, worked himself into shape at the races, and finished eighth overall in the series. He’s back with Autotrader/Yoshimura Suzuki (JGR) again for 2018 and is hoping to put the 2017 supercross season behind him.
I spent the day with him last week at Lake Elsinore Motocross Park, where we did some filming and we also sat down to see how his off-season is going. We talked about where he’s at with his injury and how the newly adopted, full-factory JGR effort is going.
Racer X: We’re out here at Elsinore today. How’s everything going, Weston?
Weston Peick: Yeah, here at Elsinore. A little bit of a new layout today. It’s not the best turn prep. It’s pretty blown out so far. Other than that, it’s going good. I just got back from North Carolina. Doing some more testing back there and some photo shoots. Progress has been going really good on the new bike, the JGR Suzuki. Just excited to get racing.
You were back there for a week. Did you guys do some testing back there or was it just the photo shoot?
A little bit of both. We had everybody out there. We had a few days of decent weather, so we were able to get some stuff done. We tested a little bit. Made a couple changes, but not much. The biggest focus was photo shoot and a little bit of a Christmas party. Just trying to kind of wind everything down on the bike setup and everything.
The JGR team is growing. They added an additional rig to support the new 250 team. What’s that like over there now, with the addition of the new guys?
It’s definitely a lot more people now. We used to go in our shop and there was three mechanics and three bikes in there. Now we have six guys total, so it’s been a big change for everybody, as well as the team and riders. I think it’s a good thing. I think having Suzuki back out there with us and being a factory-supported team now and having Lites guys on our team now, it’s good. We have more people and it’s for the better, I think. Everybody can get together, ride moto. It’s been a good transition so far, so I’ve been pretty happy with how everything is going.
You’re the most senior guy on the team now; you’re a little bit older than the younger 250 guys. Do you feel like these guys look up to you at all? Are you guys giving them pointers? What’s the vibe?
Obviously, this is my fourth year now going on with JGR. I’ll be one of the longest guys on the team and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way. It’s good. I think the Lites guys that are coming up, obviously, they look up to everybody. We all work together. I think there’s things that I can help them with, and things that I can learn from them as well. Them coming up and having new ideas or this and that. So, it’s been really good. They’re good and they’re fast. I think we’re ready to kill it this year.
You are the Cinderella story, so to speak. A privateer that made it. Now you’ve kind of been on the factory team for a while. Looking back, how does it feel?
Obviously, yeah, I was a privateer for way too many years and overlooked for so long, and then this opportunity came up. I thought this was one of the perfect fits for me to finish racing. It’s been going extremely well. Being able to be on this side of it is a huge difference. It’s night and day difference of what you get and how you can perform and what you can apply yourself to do. It’s only getting better for me every single year now with having factory Suzuki on board. The options are limitless.
You had a huge wrist injury at the beginning of supercross. You’ve had to go through a lot of rehab and came into the outdoor season not really ready. You had to suck it up and work yourself into shape. How’s your wrist doing now?
My wrist is pretty much healed up now. Obviously, I came back a little early for outdoors, wasn’t ready for that, but I made the best of it. I had to be there for the team. I’m a team player. It’s better. From the off-season after outdoors, I let it heal up a little bit. I’ve just been back on the grind and I haven’t had any issues with it. So, I’m just looking forward to having a healthy rest of the off-season and finishing supercross strong.
They recently made some changes with the format in supercross. What are your thoughts on that?
I think it’s always good that they can try to find something different, to create something different through the season. I think doing that three-race format similar to Monster Cup is something different to throw us a curve ball. A couple races through the season, I think it’s going to be fun, to get three races with some different racing and a full different program. As well as keeping it as our normal type of heat race, practice, and 20-minute main event, or 20 laps, however it’s going to be. I think we need a little bit of change, but I wouldn’t say I’d like it to go to a full Monster Cup-style format for a permanent time. But things are changing. The sport’s evolving, and riders are getting faster and faster. I guess it will separate a few people and break some things up. It really comes down to getting good starts. It’ll be an interesting season.
Do the three main event Monster Cup-style formats change the way that you prepare for the races?
It doesn’t change you too much. I think all of us that are in this league right now going this fast, we’re all on the top anyway and we’re all going fast. I think we’re all out here during practice pounding laps out, whether it’s preparing ourselves for 20 minutes or preparing ourselves for shorter races. I guess at the end of the day, it just comes out to who trained the hardest in the off-season and who’s putting in the most work.
Do you practice the format? What’s your typical schedule like?
I think we’re not really too focused on those three-race formats. Like I said, the majority of our season is based around a normal schedule. I’d say at least once a week, one day out of three or four days of riding, we’ll simulate that type of racing. It’s good to change it up instead of pounding out 20-minute motos every day. It’s good to get some shorter stuff in and kind of work on your sprint speed. That’s also good as well. It’s a different thing and it changes it up.
What’s your training program like these days? You working with anybody? Doing your own thing?
For out here in Cali, for most of this off-season, I’ve just been riding by myself because there hasn’t been anybody out here. But now since it’s crunch time, more towards Anaheim 1, a lot more people are coming out. Phil [Nicoletti], [Justin] Hill, and a couple guys from the team are came out west this week. So, we’re able to get back on our program and start riding with those guys and be able to push each other for our last little block coming into west coast.
The Suzuki track just got redone, is that right?
The Suzuki track is just getting finished up right now, so we should be able to go out there at the end of this week and put in some new laps on that fresh track.
You guys are obviously the full factory team now. You guys had a huge test back in September going through all sorts of parts. What was that experience like?
That was definitely new for us, and me as well, having a full factory-supported team now. With having everybody fly over from Japan with an unlimited amount of parts…. We tested for two weeks straight and we had so many options that we couldn’t even get through them all. I think that alone was just awesome to have all those products, and all those pieces and parts to try. Knowing how much we could change a motorcycle and how much you can develop it for each rider was the biggest thing ever. I was super happy with that. Everything’s been going super smooth with Suzuki. It’s only going to get better from here.