Behind the lead battles at the Atlanta 1 Supercross on Saturday, a freight train from fourth to 10th ran together for much of the race with close battles throughout. In that mix, Jason Anderson, Dylan Ferrandis, Jason Anderson, and Joey Savatgy were able to come home in fourth, fifth, and eighth, respectively. All three riders have shown a high level of speed recently and there’s reason to believe any of them could be knocking on the door for a win before the season is over.
All three riders met with the media on Sunday via Zoom to discuss their races.
Jason Anderson | 4th in 450SX
Racer X: You look like you’ve got that fire back mentally. Is this the best you’ve been in quite some time in supercross?
Jason Anderson: Yeah, I feel like I care a little bit more right now. I’ve been enjoying myself riding and just trying to better myself week in and week out. Honestly, during the week I’ve been enjoying my practicing. I think as far as riding, it’s been getting better at the races, but I still don’t think my results show how good I’m riding. I need to get my starts and get up front. It’s hard because there’s so many guys that are good right now. You go to that first corner and the top ten on the inside of the box are all factory guys, and there’s more on the outside. So, it’s just crazy.
You’ve been very vocal about how you are happy in your own program and your own friends and your own way you’re training. Is it just your own internal discipline that you’re able to make that happen on your own essentially?
When you get to the point in our career, the level we’re at, we all work hard and we all pretty much know a program. Everyone that I line up against is a past champion. We all know what we need to do to get the job done. Sometimes I think if you’re training where you want to and kind of making it work around your schedule and stuff like that, it keeps you happy. It allows you to go to the race in a nice mental head space. I think the least amount of stress you can have during the week while working hard is very important.
In comparison to your 2018 season when you won the championship, how do you feel you’re riding compared?
I think when I won my championship obviously the top five were very fast, especially in the beginning of that year. I think that year it kind of weeded out because I think Roczen got hurt, and then most of the rest of the other guys were still in there. Yesterday I felt like I was riding pretty freaking good. I think as far as a start, I think would definitely put me on the podium a lot more times this year than not. I think in Orlando I was riding really good, and a start would have put me on the podium. Dallas one of the rounds, I could have got on the podium. As far as speed goes, I think I’m as fast as I was back then.
Since you came back from your injury this season, you seem to have upped the pace or at least upped the intensity with your passing and aggression. Did you make any bike changes or was that an attitude change? What made the switch?
To be honest, I haven’t tested once this year. I’ve kind of just ran the same shock, same everything. I’ve maybe messed with the sag a little bit here and there and gearing, and that’s about it.
Going back to your riding this year and your aggressiveness. Fans love it. There was a mention on the broadcast at one point that the AMA had maybe come to you and talked to you about some of this. Have you had any conversations with the AMA about any passes this season?
Honestly, I don’t really have that good of a relationship with the AMA, so I don’t talk to them at all.
Sometimes you have to.
I just have my team deal with it for the most part, and it’s COVID so they’ve got to stay six feet away from me, right?
Did you ever talk to Malcolm [Stewart] about that crazy pass last month?
No, I didn’t. At the same time, I’ve heard that he didn’t mean to do it intentionally. But to be honest, I slammed him pretty hard in the one corner before. Knowing Malcolm, we’ve had similar instances like that and no bad blood or anything, even if I got cleaned out or whatever. I was just trying to get to the front and it’s aggressive riding. That’s how it goes sometimes. We raced each other pretty good this weekend, so hopefully that’s over.
With the incident in the first corner there, did you end up racing the entire main event in fourth gear and with half a foot peg on the one side?
Yeah. So, in the first corner I was right next to Joey and then I got hit and I was about to go up to that double and I had no shift lever. But to be honest, I did race the whole thing with it but it wasn’t too terrible. I think I was stuck in third, just down the sand straightaway and by the mechanics area I was just so revved out. It was insane. The whoops section was a little bit tough because usually I would like to click fourth to be able to have a little bit more traction, so I’d have to go into them really fast and try and not over-rev. But it wasn’t terrible. I was stuck without a shift lever, but it actually wasn’t too terrible. Just may have almost floated the valves a couple times, but we’re good.
Dylan Ferrandis | 5th in 450SX
Racer X: What happened off the start, and what did you do in the last, say, five minutes? You basically passed five guys in the last four laps.
Dylan Ferrandis: The start I just had a bad start and at the corner I just slipped with my rear wheel and crashed in a stupid crash. So, nothing crazy. I don’t think anybody touched me or whatever. Then I just charged through the pack. I was feeling good. The speed on the bike and physically I was good. Just gave everything I had until the checkered flag. At the end maybe I had a little more speed than some guys and I think in the last three laps I passed many guys and finished fifth. So, it was really good. I did nothing crazy. I just gave everything I had. The guys in front maybe slowed down a little bit at the end. I don't know. I just found myself fifth.
Are you happy because you’re riding well or are you frustrating because it’s not resulting in results?
For sure I wasn’t happy because we had some struggling with the bike, I think all the riders and team. Like I said in the past, it’s the first year at Star Racing team with the 450, so everybody is just learning the bike, learning the program, learning how a 450 works. It’s hard. So many good guys, just getting a good start is so difficult. Everybody is learning. The bike is a good bike for sure, but I think it needs just some adjustments for every rider. I just understand lately that I’m riding different than my teammates, so I need a different setting. That’s what we found. We made some changes during the break the last two weeks off we had, and it kind of paid off. I feel much better on the bike and I could ride like myself, which I kind of couldn’t do before. So, I think that was a good step in the right direction.
You were kind of talking a little bit about the ups and downs mentally of going through the 450 class. You’ve had a couple rides in the last few rounds here, going back to Orlando where you almost went a lap down but then you stayed right in front of the leaders the whole time, and then this one where you came from dead last to finish fifth. Do you come off the track after those satisfied with your riding, or are you frustrated that you couldn’t show that you had speed to run up front or potentially win?
Every time I’m not on the podium I’m not really satisfied. For sure, Orlando was good that we could see that I still had the speed, and the bike was working great. Yesterday the same. We still see that physically and the speed was there. It’s kind of the light at the end of the tunnel. I ride for wins. Until I’m on the podium, I’m not really happy. I need to work on myself on that because like I said before, only one guy can win and sometimes I’m a little too mad and I shouldn’t be, because the riding is not so bad. So, it’s really hard but I need to learn that. The 450 is hard.
At the start of the season, you mentioned it took a while for you to feel you belong in the 450 class. Do you feel you belong now? Will your expectations for outdoors be higher than they were for supercross coming in?
I think yeah. I start to feel like I’m part of this 450 pack. I’m still focusing on supercross. I really want to try to get one more podium before the end of this season, so I’m really focused on that. For sure the outdoors are going to be important. I feel that I have some good chance of being out front, because we did some testing the last two weeks and the bike was good and the feeling on the outdoors was really good. So, we’ll see. But again, it’s going to be my first year. There’s a lot to learn. Again, there’s so many good riders. It’s hard to say I’m going to win the outdoors. You can’t. But for sure, I think for the first year, the outdoor season could be a little easier than the supercross season where you have to learn a lot and to make your bike really good for the 450 main events.
Joey Savatgy | 8th in 450SX
Racer X: We haven’t quite seen that stand-out ride that a lot of fans and the media for that matter have been looking for from you for this whole season. What needs to happen over the remaining rounds for you to make a statement and call this season a successful one?
Joey Savatgy: That’s a loaded question. Mainly because I guess stand-out in which way? What results are you guys considering stand-out? For me, obviously I’d like to be more towards the front than I am, but at the same time like Jason said, everyone in this class, inside the top 12, top 13 guys, they’re not slouch. In a field where it’s this stacked, I feel like it’s something that we haven’t seen in a long time or ever. Right now, the biggest thing for me is getting good starts and trying to put the whole main event together. To get inside that top five is not easy, by any means. I had a very good chance last night and I didn’t capitalize. Jason had passed me, and I was able to kind of latch onto the back of him, and then we both caught Aaron. Jason got around Aaron and I wasn’t able to do that. Unfortunately, he wasn’t holding me up, but it was just enough to where I was getting roosted behind Aaron and I actually got quite a bit of arm pump from eating roost and trying to go places where I hadn't been going. So, I think had I made the pass relatively quick like Jason did, I do feel like I could have tried to keep a latch on Jason and have him pull me along to the finish line. At the same time, I think it would have been good because I’m used to riding with Jason at home. So, to have a familiar person around me is always helpful. I think the difference between getting eighth like we did and possibly getting top five was just not making the pass when I needed to. When the field is like this, all it takes is one missing piece of the puzzle and that can be the difference between having a really good night and having an average night.
Just kind of going back over the break we had, what did you end up doing to practice to get ready for this event? Hopefully are you having fun with the sport still during that time off?
Yeah. Basically, in that time off I mainly rode outdoors, just to kind of get my feet wet. Obviously haven’t ridden outdoors on this brand of bike in a long time, and definitely not on a 450. So, the goal for me on the break was to try to get as much outdoor time in as we could, to an extent. I didn’t go to California to test. I kind of just rode a hybrid setup from my teammate. Then obviously rode two days before Atlanta, with the intention to have press day. So, one more day at home I think would have been nice, but obviously the way everything fell into place we didn’t get to ride press day. Honestly, I really am enjoying it. I know a lot of times people give me a hard time because I don’t show enough, I guess, emotion. I’m happy with where I’m at as far as where I train and the people that I surround myself with. We have a good time. We still take it serious. The move was a breath of fresh air for me. Results are getting better. I know it’s been a string of eighths, but each eighth has a different story behind it. There’s a lot of good out of the eighths. I am having a lot of fun, honestly, especially lately. Results are getting better. I’m feeling a little bit more comfortable kind of like I was before I got hurt, my rookie year in the 450 class. It never gets easy, but it seems to just happen a little bit more naturally and you just put yourself in better spots. So, I’m having a blast. It’s tough right now. It’s hard to put a smile on sometimes when things aren’t always going your way, but at the end of the day, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Back in February you alluded to struggling a little bit with mental health and just struggling a little bit on and off the bike. Obviously, we’re a couple months back from that. How are you feeling with it? How is it all going? Is stuff getting turned around? More so on and off the bike, how are you feeling?
I think you’re the first one to really ask that question since it’s really been posted. I got a lot of mixed reviews on that. Just to clear it up now, mental health is definitely huge, and a lot of people struggle with it in different ways. In no means did I mean that I’m in a dark place, I don't want to be here type of way. It was more of I’m just struggling with demons as far as injury-related, not trusting what I’m doing, and just thinking too much about the past and what has happened in the past. So, it was more of a mental block for me and injury demons on my shoulder talking. Not so much that I'm depressed. I just had a lot of chatter going on in my brain. Since then, it has gotten better. I’ve talked to some people and figured out some things. Didn’t try to rush it. Obviously the sooner I could get it under control the better, but it’s one of those things that you can’t just click, and things get better. It’s an ongoing process, but it’s going in the right direction. That’s the other thing that I have to keep in mind. As much as I would just like to be back to tip-top shape and being closer to the front right away, it’s not realistic. So, I’m trying to keep my goals realistic. Things are getting better. My mental space is better. I’m trying to enjoy it. Even on the tough days I’ve got to remind myself that I’m doing what I wanted to do since I was a little kid. There’s little kids out there that would kill to be in the spot I’m in. It’s all in perspective. I’m just trying to keep it one thing at a time.
You’ve been a Goat MX Farm guy for so long. You’ve changed to 83 Compound. Now you’re riding with Jason Anderson. How has that changed everything?
Change is good when it’s needed. Changing all the time isn’t always a good thing. I had been at the Farm for a very long time, and it worked for a while and then people started going different directions, and then pretty soon I was just kind of there solo. For me personally, I just don’t like being solo. I don’t like doing that on my own. On a day where let’s say you’re running a 51-second lap time and you feel like that’s all I got, and then Jason comes out and Jason throws down a 49.9, then all of a sudden that 51 that I thought was as fast as I could go, next thing you know I’m doing 50.5. The elevated game is going to come out of you whether you want it to or not. I think having Jason around has been one of the most helpful things for me. He doesn’t really benefit too much from me because I'm usually chasing him around, but it helps me because I have someone there all the time who is pretty much faster than me every day. So, it gives me always something to chase and always something to work on. There’s a lot of things that Jason does really well on a motorcycle. I’m not surprised to see how fast he was going in that heat race when it’s slippery like that. I always tell him at home, when it’s dry, he’s so good because he’s very low RPM, he lets the mile an hour carry him through the corners, and he’s really good in the whoops as far as control. So, there’s a lot of things that I pay attention to when we ride and when I see him ride that I don’t say out loud. Also, having Byrner [Michael Byrne] as my track coach, and just the whole vibe there has been good. So, the change was I think necessary. Everything has worked out well.
Were you able to ride down there with Chad Reed a couple weeks ago? I saw he was doing a bit of stuff there.
Yup. Chad came down. The old man dusted off the boots for a couple days and rode with us. But mainly he just came down there for his kids. The kids were itching to ride. I told him, too bad they weren’t itching to ride when they owned it! That’s usually how it works. They had that nice place, and the kids had no interest in it, and then they sell it and they leave and then all of a sudden the kids want to ride all the time. But Chad was there. It’s always refreshing to have new people around. I get along with Chad. He has his two cents he likes to throw in every now and then. It’s always helpful stuff.
Watch the full Atlanta 1 Supercross roundtable press conference below: