Kawasaki Christmas Party - Team Intro for Supercross and Arenacross 1

We stopped by Kawasaki's HQ to celebrate the holidays with Adam Cianciarulo, Jeremy McGrath, and Josh Grant.

Kawasaki Christmas Party - Team Intro for Supercross and Arenacross

Vital MX: We recently snuck over to Kawasaki's U.S. HQ from our offices in Southern California to catch their 2nd annual Supercross-Mas party. That's where they bring their U.S. teams in-house to spend time with the employees that keep the day-to-day business going. This year the whole Monster Energy Kawasaki 450 squad, the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki team, Babbitt's Arenacross squad, plus brand ambassador Jeremy McGrath were in attendance. Scroll below for highlights of the night, photos of some of the race bikes, the team lineups, and a couple interviews with Adam Cianciarulo, Josh Grant, and The King.

The night kicked off with a few words from management and the riders on each team, each sharing their goals for the new year.

Monster Energy Kawasaki

Josh Grant - JG returns to the factory Kawasaki squad on a one-year extension. This will mark Josh's second full-time year for the team, but the fourth consecutive he's ridden for them in some shape or form. In '15 he filled in for the injured Wil Hahn towards the end of outdoors, after his prior ride with TwoTwo Motorsports closed up. In 2016, he once again signed with the team partway into Supercross... again filling in for Wil Hahn. 2017 was Grant's first full year with the team, but he decided to park it late into outdoors to have his ankles properly fixed to repair old injuries so he could be fully ready for '18. Below is our pre-season interview where Josh talks about the surgery and finally having a true off-season of training under his belt.

Josh and Wyatt getting their selfie on...click play above to above to listen to our pre-season interview with JG.

Eli Tomac - ET begins his third season for the Monster Energy Kawasaki team, after signing a contract extension late in the Supercross season this year, which will see him on the green brand for a few more seasons. Narrowly missing out on the '17 Supercross title to Ryan Dungey, he's considered by many to be the title favorite entering 2018, especially as the only returning past-champion in the field will be Chad Reed. After the time in stadiums, Tomac will defend his number one plate in the great outdoors. With no major changes to the bike or staff prior to the '18 season, Eli's off-season has been fairly quiet as he puts in the work at his family's ranch in Colorado. Look below for a small gallery of his race bike that was at the event.

Eli Tomac spending some time with the Kawasaki staff and their families at their Christmas party.

We tried to sneak in the race shop, but that's off limits...so we dragged Eli Tomac's bike out for a li'l camera time.

Click any of the photos below for a larger view.

The Brian Kranz-built machine.
The Number one plate will have to wait till outdoors.



Monster Energy Team Green Kawasaki

Jeremy McGrath - The King is on green, and continues on as the brand ambassador for Kawasaki. His responsibilities vary, from coaching the Team Green amateur riders, to press events all over the world for Kawi, attending Supercross races, occasionally testing or working with the race team, and more. Beyond that, MC is busy as ever racing his Pro2 stadium truck, where he just clicked off his first championship. We chatted with Jeremy briefly about his situation for 2018, which you can hear below, but stay tuned in the next week or so with an interview regarding what he'd do over in racing if he could and a bit about his time with KTM...

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki

Mitch Payton's dominant 250 team sees a small change this year, with Justin Hill leaving again and moving to the JGR squad, while Martin Davalos returns for another shot at a 250 title with PC. Outside of that, the lineup of Joey Savatgy, Adam Cianciarulo, and Austin Forkner remain the same...the majority of the program is the same although there has been a small bit of jostling amongst the development team and mechanics.

Adam Cianciarulo - The prodigal son is back, and surprisingly, AC is now the most veteran member of the team as he's been with Pro Circuit on the pro side since 2013, making this his sixth season with the team. However, 2018 will mark only the third Supercross season Adam has competed in after missing '15 and '16 due to injuries. Cianciarulo is full gas with a healthy off-season training with Peter Park alongside the returning Ken Roczen, and according to our interview below he's feeling ready to roll. While Mitch Payton doesn't like to assign coasts, it sounds like there's a really high chance we will see AC on the line at A1.

Joey Savatgy - Joey returns for his third season with the Pro Circuit squad and after finishing second and third in his two Supercross seasons with the team, and you can bet that the goal is a title. Due to how things are shaping up for the team, we wouldn't be surprised to see Savatgy on the West coast alongside Cianciarulo, unless the team swaps his duties with Martin Davalos. He's had a pair of tries on each coast, so whichever side he lands on, it'll be his third crack at it.

Austin Forkner - Austin has a new number heading into '18, but not the one he wanted. Due to injuries in outdoors he fell short of the points needed to take his desired 24 and will have to settle with 35 for the new year. Speaking of injuries, Forkner picked one up in recent weeks, meaning he's East-bound for his second pro Supercross season.

Mood.. PC @masonb36

A post shared by Austin Forkner (@austinforkner) on

 

Martin Davalos - Yes, Marty is back! Now lets cut to the chase before you shake you head about being in the 250 class...after his excellent performances outdoors last year on a 450, there was no 450 spot available for him among the teams. However, Mitch came knocking and they're back together for another run at the title. It's been said before but we'll say it again, this could be Marty's year and if it is, we expect it to finally be his last 250 season as a good run should land him a 450 deal when a ton of rides open up in '19. He did have an injury heading into the off-season, so he's just recently returned to the swing of things. This should place Martin on the East Coast with Forkner but if anything happens to AC or Savatgy, you can expect Davalos to take it West.

Monster Energy Babbitt's Kawasaki

A key figure in Amsoil Arenacross, Monster Energy Babbitt's Kawasaki is back to defend the title with Gavin Faith. Compared to years past, though, the team is a bit smaller as they've only announced two riders so far for 2018, instead of the usual three-to-four like in year's past. The bikes look a bit different this year as they fall more in line with Monster Energy Kawasaki's formal look, missing are the bright red Amsoil logos seen in the past.

Gavin Faith - Faith returns to Babbitt's and Arenacross to defend his number one plate, and go for his third straight title. The past few years Gavin has come into the season injured but has still made things work, and this year it's not totally different as an injury put him out of the Aussie SX series a couple months ago. On the bright side, the bike program seems to be similar for Gavin as they remain on Kawasaki KX250Fs with support from Pro Circuit.

Jacob Hayes - Hayes starts his fourth straight season with the Monster Energy Babbitt's squad, which has thinned down to just himself and the returning champ. Since Jacob joined the Babbitt's squad, he's been in the contention for the title but hasn't been able to seal the deal. Can he do it in '18?

The Party

Sprinkled below are some remaining photos from the party and the small museum area as you enter KMC USA's main building.

1 comment
  • chateu21

    12/13/2017 2:34 AM

    Jacob Hayes biggest problem from becoming a star isn't his riding it's his teeth (Sorry)

    With Grant securing a ride with Kawi & so many riders on other teams not as good as REED not including what he's already accomplished. It's dumbfounded why he can't find a team before returning in a year or two?
    To sponsors he's going to get plenty of TV time no matter where he running & even more if he's in the front. With Canard retirement I was hoping he would land at KTW specially with Dinner retirement to. But it was Brock Tickel? I've recently heard he'll be on a Husky but what team or team at all today? Either way Husky or KTM he "could" be the first rider to win on 5 of the 6 manufacturers since he's already won on all the Japanese made bikes...

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