Two thousand twenty was supposed to mark the beginning of a new chapter for Joey Savatgy. After a year with Monster Energy Kawasaki, in which he logged some very impressive results before suffering shoulder and leg injuries that caused him to miss several races, Savatgy had made the switch to JGRMX/Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing and was in the midst of preparing for a new season when he broke his heel in the AUS-X Open in Australia at the end of November. He hasn’t raced since, but now, more than four months later, Savatgy is back on the bike and is getting ready to make his return to racing. We caught up with him to see how life is going now that he’s back on two wheels.
Racer X: How’s the heel doing with you back on the bike? Any pain?
Joey Savatgy: The heel is doing well, I don’t have any real pain. There’s some soreness and discomfort for sure, but not really any pain. I feel good considering I’ve been off the bike for four months, but I did a lot of cardio in the meantime so the fitness feels good. I’m just a little rusty on the bike. [Laughs]
Rank the recovery process in terms of difficulty, compared to other injuries you’ve had.
I’ve been very lucky and fortunate to have been pretty injury-free for most of my career. I’d say this is the worst injury, and the most time off, I’ve ever had. So that in itself makes this the toughest, but I had a great surgeon do it and I’ve been doing as much as I can to make sure I’m back as healthy as I can be when it comes time to race.
So if we don’t see any racing until June, if that’s when the nationals kick off, is that when you’ll be back?
Yes, that’s the plan from here.
Of course this whole COVID-19 situation sucks, but the result is, you’ll be able to get some supercross in if it gets going in the fall. Are you excited about that, or would you rather come in fresh for the start of a new year?
Yeah, that’s tough to answer. We don’t have a ton of supercross testing done. So the balance of motocross testing, the motocross season, and trying to fit in getting ready for supercross again and testing, will be very tough. Everyone who’s racing now already knows what they like and their settings are pretty close to final. So, it’s a tough spot, but it’ll be like I only missed ten rounds instead of the whole year. So that’s a plus.
That’s a good point. If there’s a positive it’s not like you’re a stranger to testing at the races.
No, I’m not, but it’s so far from ideal.
How do you think things might play out in 2021? Will guys be dialed from just having gotten off the previous season, or drained from the long slog, and dialing in a new-year-model?
I mean, 2021 is so far away from right now. I have a lot on my plate between rehab and getting back on the bike, to motocross testing and racing, and supercross testing and riding. I haven’t even started to think about next year yet.
Fair point. Last question. You went dark on social media for a while. Was that a conscious decision or were you just not into it?
Both. I took the downtime and spent it with my family—my wife and my little girl. I just got away and didn’t make it a priority. So many people get fixated on what they see and it’s so easy to fool someone because you can fake anything online. I also wasn’t into it. Seeing everyone riding and racing bummed me out. I haven’t missed a season in a long time so to help keep my morale up I just got away from it.
Thanks, and good luck with recovering and getting back to racing.
Thanks. I’m just going to stay quiet and do my work. Then, come time, we’ll see where I’m at.
*Hero image courtesy of John Basher/JGRMX