Blake Baggett made a big switch for the 2017 season and will compete aboard a factory KTM 450 SX-F under the Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/KTM banner alongside Davi Millsaps. For Baggett, this is the first time in his motocross career that he’s raced a non-Japanese motorcycle, but the California native appears to have adapted to the Austrian machine just fine…
You have an all new look for 2017, how’s everything been with your new home?
It’s been really good. I haven’t been on orange before, but I’m really liking the whole setup and I’m super excited. The design of the KTM is completely different than anything I’ve ever ridden, and it’s really easy to get comfortable on and I’m excited to keep working on it. I’ve been working with Michael Byrne quite a bit in Florida, and we’ll be ready for Anaheim 1. I can’t wait to see what I have for Supercross.
So Michael Byrne is your riding coach now?
Byrne is working for the team this year, so he’s helping everyone on the team. He has team duties along with team rider duties, and he has been giving me a lot of input. I’m really excited to see what skills I can obtain from him.
This is the first time you’ve raced on a steel frame in your big-bike career. Have you noticed how different it feels than an aluminum chassis?
Oh yeah, it feels a lot different. It’s really different in a few aspects, such as the way it allows the bike to react, and how well it enables you to move the bike around. The steel frame has a different feel to it, and I really like it. We’ve been trying a few little things, but really haven’t changed it much. I got the chance to ride a stock KTM as well, and they’re great bikes fresh off the showroom floor. The best part about the bike is how light it is for being a 450, and you just press a button to start it (laughs)!
When people switch to a KTM they’re infatuated with the button….
Yeah, I believe the button is super important. I think it’s a good selling point, you just have to swing your leg over the bike, push the button, and you’re off having fun riding with your buddies.
We’re about a month out from round one, how close are you with bike setup and physical fitness?
I think we are real close, but we definitely don’t want to peak too early, so we are still building. It’s a long season, I have 17 rounds to get the job done. We’re just going to shoot for top fives, and see where we’re at in Las Vegas.