The second round of the FIM World Supercross Championship was a wild one at the Etihad Arena in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. The top 3 three of the WSX class had moments of action and drama throughout the three Main Events of the night. Here is what Savatgy, Wilson and Friese had to say in the press conference.
1st) JOEY SAVATGY 1-4-2
RWR Mobile1 Kawasaki´s Joey Savatgy took the overall win as the points lead from Ken Roczen as well.
Congratulations on your overall win here this weekend. And of course, you are now the new championship leader. It’s been one of those weekends for you, hasn’t it? One of those days? Tell us about it. Were there any challenges along the way?
I mean, to be honest, both round one and two, I haven’t been that good. But thankfully I got off the gate pretty well and I put myself in a good spot. I knew tonight was gonna be super important for that, obviously, round one was important, but not as important as tonight. Both rounds I have been, in my opinion, I’ve been a little subpar for me. Just haven’t been gelling that great with the motorcycle, but like I said, we made it work and [now] we’ve got one more.
There seemed to be, there seemed to be a lot going on in the 450 class. Maybe just touch on some of that if you could.
Yeah you know for me, it is what it is. I expect the tough racing and from my standpoint, were the passes hard? Yeah. Did I kind of expect it? Yeah, of course. The one thing that maybe I wish I would have spoken up sooner during the day was the finish line didn’t have any Tuff Blox on the landing. So, like, it didn’t matter how tight you wanted to go, the guy behind you could go tighter. I mean, to the point where you could drive off the side of the bridge, you know? And so, in hindsight we should I should have said something when I noticed it like, “Hey, this is gonna be an issue,” because that was some of the reason why I didn’t protect the inside, because no matter how far inside I went, I knew he [Friese] was gonna go further inside. And so I just thought maybe if I had a big enough gap I could get through that corner and get through the whoops and pull away enough to where I don’t have to worry about the next turn. But it wasn’t the case. So, yeah, but as far as the rough racing and stuff, I mean, I expected it, you know, the tracks tight and there’s not a whole lot you can do about it, I guess.
And just finally you are the new championship leader. How do you feel now going into Melbourne? I know it’s three weeks down the line. But you gotta feel confident about possibly lifting a first title.
I mean, yeah, of course, it’s, it’s nice to have it [points lead]. I’d be much happier if I have it at the end of the night in Australia, but I mean, it’s definitely cool to get to run the red plates. But we’re gonna be back on a normal track so it’s gonna be really hard to beat Kenny [Roczen]. He’s in a good place, I think, mentally and he’s gelling with his motorcycle right now. So, I know it’s gonna be a big task. All I can do is same thing I did tonight. Just try to get good starts. Put myself in a position to stay out of the carnage and up front and what comes is what comes.
2nd) DEAN WILSON 6-1-3
Despite being knocked out by Vince Friese while battling for the lead, FirePower Honda´s Dean Wilson bounced back by winning Main Event 2 and then finishing third in Main Event 3 to secure second overall of the day.
Interesting night for you because you could have come away from here with two race wins out of the three. Didn’t quite work out like that, one or two issues. Again, just tell us about your three races here in Abu Dhabi.
Yeah, it was good, man, it was really wild tonight too. It was rough racing for sure. It was a tight track, so it was to be expected a bit, it was exciting. The fans loved it and that was cool, but like me and Vince have been getting into it a little bit. I told him after race you’re, “You’re making me tougher.” Like I, that’s one thing I’m not, I’m not that aggressive. I’m maybe a little bit too nice of a guy, right? But yeah, it was aggressive racing but what I told him was I wasn’t cool with the brake checking. I got brake checked on the landing of the jump in the back a couple of times and he’s looking back, and I wasn’t cool with that. I let him know I’m the biggest cry baby here. I’m a whiner. So, I just wanna let everyone know that I’m crying right now [Note: Friese said in his podium TV interview that Wilson is a whiner]. But no, I felt like I rode really well all day, which I was really happy about. I felt like qualifying went well, and yeah it was good racing and then that first race I got cleaned out. When Vince is behind you, you kind of know he’s gonna be aggressive, which is fine. But I honestly didn’t know how much of a gap I had. And listen, I’ll take that one on the chin like I got cleaned out. [Laughs] That sucked because that [could have been] like a nice little win. Would it be nice? But it is what it is, rebounded the next one and took the win. So that was cool. And then, yeah, third one got a bad start, so eventful night. It was good.
A surprise for you to know when you finish the last race you were on the podium and second overall?
I didn’t know at all where my overalls were at all. Like, I don’t, I don’t even know if I would have passed Joey if that would have done anything. Like, I don’t even know what my points were because I was just trying to focus on each race on its own. So, yeah, second overall though, quite happy with that. Win it would it be nice, but obviously, let’s be honest, Kenny’s the big favorite and probably the fastest and we had a little bit of an advantage on him tonight with him second row and then he fell. That was that second race. I don’t know.
3rd) VINCE FRIESE 3-2-6
The MCR Honda rider was the center of attention due to his aggressive style. He was penalized with two positions twice, in the first Main Event he was knocked from first to third after taking down Dean Wilson, and then in Main Event 3 he crossed the finishing line in fourth but was knocked out to six for cutting the track and don´t giving the position back to Savatgy. Despite of that, he somehow managed to grab the final podium spot.
Vince, there’s been some good riding from you this week and all throughout the day, the heat race, great starts. You put yourself right up front. But there were one or two interesting battles out on the track. How do you see it from your position because obviously everyone’s gonna be watching the race and talking about the race and things like that. How do you see it from your side?
Yeah, I mean, I think if you put a bunch of money on the line like we have here and put us on an arenacross track, I think that’s the way it’s gonna go, at least for me that’s how I make a living. I’m not here to just ride around and have fun. I’m here to make some money and pay my bills. So that’s what we’re doing. We’re battling for position and if these guys wanna take it easy, they can take it easy, but I’m gonna race hard.
How did you see the incident in the, in the last race where Joey came up the inside of you and you ran off track. Did you think actually maybe I should have given the place back or not? [Friese was bumped off the track but passed Savatgy by skipping the next turn.] Or because obviously it did work out in your favor in the and you were classified still with third overall. So there were no penalties even though there was a long delay for a possibility of one.
Yeah, honestly, I don’t know what happened. If I get a penalty for it or not or whatever, I just know I got the third overall. But I mean, it is what it is. If it was wrong, then I’ll take the penalty. I’ve read through the rule book, but it’s been a while. Round one was three or four months ago. So maybe I’ll give the rule book another read through. Yeah, it’s hard to say if my front wheel was ahead of his or not. But I tried to just ride slowly but I cut a portion of the corner off, and I think in my head, I was like, “What do I, what do I do here? What do I do? Just go?” They’d already told me there was another penalty. So, at that point I was just, whatever, let’s just race dirt bikes at this point. Whatever. I mean, that’s the kind of racing I enjoy. I hate to take a position that’s not mine and if it’s wrong I’ll take the penalty for that. But I don’t know if there’s a pen penalty for the pass on Dean, but I felt like that was just good old motocross racing.
Final round is in Australia in a few weeks. Are you looking forward to that one now?
Absolutely. I love the dirt there. I love the track and the stadium and everything. I like to open it up a little bit, the tight ones [track] are tough. The guys with a lot of talent, seem to excel when the track gets tight and technical like this. So, I was able to hang in there with starts and obviously some aggressive riding. But yeah, when the track opens up a little bit, I seem to do a little better.