Only one rider in the 450SX class of Monster Energy AMA Supercross has finished in the exact same spot in each of the first three races of the year and his name is Joey Savatgy. The Rick Ware Racing rider has landed himself in 10th at all three rounds to start the year which ironically puts him 11th in the points standings. Savatgy is on a unique program this year with RWR where the plan coming into the season was to only do the first eight rounds until Rick Ware and his car racing programs began their racing seasons which would leave Savatgy on the sidelines. As we close in on the halfway point of those eight rounds, Savatgy has been as solid as advertised and appears to be close to that next step.
We caught up with Savatgy after Anaheim 2 to dissect his evening, what exactly the Rick Ware Racing program is like, and more.
Racer X: P10 on the night. Overall, a pretty decent night. Just kind of take me through how you felt after and what you thought of it.
Joey Savatgy: Yeah, it was another tenth. Three in a row. But it’s hard. Class is stacked. So, I didn’t ride that great today, to be honest. My starts in the second and third one were better. It’s still not great, but better. So, I guess if there’s a positive to take away tonight it’s the starts were better. But other than that, it’s just trying to keep a level head and keep the expectations realistic. Obviously when I line up, I want to do well. I’d love nothing more than to win, but that’s not realistic for me. My goal every week is to be inside the top ten, and we’ve done it three weeks in a row. So, I do feel like that eighth place range is within reach. I think that is achievable. So to get there, just need to be a little bit more comfortable on the bike. We’re going to make a few adjustments this week and see if we can’t get that going in the right direction. But all in all, like I said, considering my situation and what I’m riding - it’s a great bike, but it’s by no means a factory bike. So, I’ve been happy with what I’ve been able to do. Like I said, my goal every week is to try to be in the top ten and we were able to do that again. So, we’ll just try to keep building and see if we can’t get to that ninth, eighth region.
What are some areas on the bike that you’re still hoping to dial in that you’re not quite there yet with?
Just feel. I’m struggling a little bit in the flattish corners. Or I was struggling in both the shallow and deep ruts, but my deep ruts have gotten better. Now it’s the shallow stuff. I just don’t have a great feel where the tire is. So, trying to find that three, four inches of being too far outside or in the rut is really hard for me right now. So, just trying to find a little bit more front tire feel to the ground. We have maybe a few ideas that we’re going to try this week. But again, like I said, we literally haven't tested. We’ve just thrown ideas at it. Last weekend was the first weekend that we’ve actually changed anything. So, we’re trying to make it better, considering. I'm not on their team, but Mitch has been very helpful with allowing Adrian, their suspension guy, to help me during the weekend. So, we’re trying to make the best of it, and I think if we can make that area better, I think that eighth place becomes a lot more achievable.
Being on the program that you’re on, is it at least kind of cool though to be putting it in the top ten? And you got to go out in opening ceremonies last week and stuff like that. That stuff’s got to be pretty cool for the program, right?
Yeah, like you said, I’m on inferior equipment. There’s no doubt about that. I’m on great stuff, don’t get me wrong. But I’m not under the semi and on a quote factory team. So, there’s definitely areas that are lacking. To be able to try to be inside that top ten, it’s not easy. I’m getting tenth and there’s four other privateers beating me. I’m trying to be the top privateer guy and beat a couple factory guys. So to be able to do that has been good. But obviously the goal is always to get better and that’s what I’m trying to do.
We got to talk to your mechanic, Ben LaMay, yesterday and kind of break down your bike a little bit. First of all, how did that relationship come together with working with Ben?
Actually, he wasn’t here for round one. I had somebody else. And then I guess they told me it wasn’t working. So Ben stepped in. I didn’t know Ben other than just obviously seeing him at the races. But I will say that he’s been solid. He’s a very quiet dude but he does a great job. I’ve been overly pleased with how he’s done.
He was also saying that it sounds like things are going to progress and you might be doing a little bit more than the first eight, or where are we at with that?
Probably just the first eight, to my understanding. I don’t see that changing. Now if we do the first eight, it gives a little bit of downtime to kind of take a little bit of time off and then regroup and reset and get ready for world supercross. Obviously, I’d love to do all seventeen rounds, but as of now, we’re going to do eight and that’s kind of where we’re at. We’ll see if that changes, but for now it’s eight.
Are you excited to kind of head east a little bit, and try some different dirt out and you know see where you’re at with the bike?
Yeah, I am. I am excited to not have to travel from east to west every weekend and have a little bit of a break. But I surprisingly enjoy the longer motos more because, like I said, with where I’m at with the bike, I’m not comfortable. So as the race goes on, it’s all about trying to find new lines and I do feel like I’ve gotten better this year at doing that. So, I’ve been able to make up a lot of time late in the races the past couple weekends. And on a day like today, when there are only twelve minutes, that’s kind of like the time where I start to figure it out and move forward. So, it was tough today. But I am looking forward to moving east and some indoor stadiums. At the end of the day, honestly, I’m just happy to be at the races. Obviously, I missed all of last year. So, to be back and to get the butterflies on race day and to go through the routine is something that you don’t realize how much you enjoy it until you had to be away from it.