INSTAGRAM | @westonpeick

Weston Peick’s story of success is one that has inspired many privateers and up-and-comers. As a privateer, he worked hard and pushed himself until he was racing among factory-supported riders. His consistent presence near the front earned him a ride with JGRMX, who was the premier Yamaha team at the time. This last year, they made the switch to Suzuki, and it was recently announced that for 2018 the team would become the official factory racing team for Suzuki. Paired with a new bike, Peick’s career path continues to improve. The 2017 season was tough, however, as a broken wrist sidelined him for Supercross and made for a challenging outdoor series. With the offseason in full-swing, we were curious to know what Weston’s plans are for preparing to take on the 2018 season.

You're back with the same team this year, but it's an all-new motorcycle for 2018. Where do you feel it's improved over last year's model?
Obviously, 2018 I've resigned with JGRMX for another year. It'll be my fourth year with them now and I'm stoked to continue my partnership with them. It's been great on my end and on their end. With the new bike from Suzuki this year, it's been a long time coming. They definitely did their homework and did it right. The new bike is pretty badass. I'm happy with it, there's a lot of changes. Everything is completely different and at first, it took some getting used to, but with some time on it and the suspension dialed in, the bike has come around. It's extremely comfortable and has a very neutral seating position. The rigidity of the frame is really good, the bike turns really well and feels comfortable on the track. It jumps straight too. All around it's a really good bike and I'm happy to be on it.

This year, you'll be a full factory team with Suzuki, which is new for both JGRMX and yourself. How much does that change things for you as a rider?
With RCH/Yoshimura/Suzuki unfortunately going under, we took the full factory support from Suzuki on both 450's and 250's. It's pretty awesome to be able to sign with Suzuki and have all of the parts that we need. Anything from production to works parts is available for us to try out and test with. It makes our lives easier as riders to have those options that factory Suzuki can provide.

It was announced that your plan is to not race the 2017 Monster Energy Cup. Take me through the decision behind that.
The whole thing with Monster Energy Cup is that we just got the bikes. I was in North Carolina for two weeks testing and I just came back to California. I didn't actually have a bike here, this is my first full day. They had some delays with getting it here and I knew that everything was going to be a little last minute. I didn't want to feel rushed into the race, I would rather be 100 percent prepared. That's why I decided not to race it. On top of that, with the wrist surgery that I had back in January, I pushed to race outdoors and I raced way sooner than I should have. I banged up my wrist throughout the season and I want to give it a few weeks to really heal up. I need to take that time. There are a few things that make it difficult and I don't necessarily think the race is at a good time of the year. We're all trying to recover and having a Supercross race in October is hard. If it was later in November or December, I'd have no problem, but it is what it is and we can't pick the dates as riders.

On that note, is it safe to say your plan right now is to take things slow this offseason and not do any racing before Supercross?
Yeah, I was originally planning to do some racing overseas and obviously, that didn't pan out either. My plan is to build a really solid training program off of the bike to get strong and let that carry over to Supercross training on the bike. I want to be ready when I get on the bike and ease my way into it. We'll build a foundation and go from there.

As you mentioned, this summer you struggled with a nagging wrist injury, but aside from that are you happy with how your outdoor season went?
You know, for having three weeks on the bike and taking so much time off for my wrist, it went okay. It could have gone a lot better, I had a lot of poor finishes outside of the top ten, but I had some really good races too. When you come off the couch injured and you're still a little injured while racing, you have to deal with some struggles and bad races. Overall, I showed some good speed and although it wasn't as consistent as I'd like it to be, that's what you get with an injury like that.

When you look back at your time as a privateer, how does it feel to now be an official factory rider?
It's hard to believe. When you're a privateer, you're never really thinking about whether or not it's going to happen. For me, it was a lot of dedication and hard work, and believing that if you put your mind to it and have a never give up attitude that eventually you'll get a breakthrough moment where somebody will gamble with you. JGRMX did that and I've proven to them that I'm capable of being able to do what they need me to do. It's awesome to graduate from a privateer to having a full factory motorcycle. Every year for the last four years, JGRMX has given me almost a full factory motorcycle. Even if they don't have the same parts, they'll make it. It's good to have the opportunity to go from having nearly stock bikes to having whatever we need and want just a phone call away.