Many felt last year Tyler Medaglia was riding perhaps better than he ever has. With multiple wins in 2018, Tyler was certainly on top of his game in the 450 class. This is why it came as such a surprise when it was announced in December that he would be moving back down to the 250 class for 2019. However, knowing Tyler and his strong work ethic, he wouldn’t have made this decision unless he felt that he could compete against the much younger 250 riders and contend for a championship this season. We caught up with Tyler as he was just finishing his breakfast and getting ready for another hard day of training down in Florida.
MXP: Good morning Tyler! What is going on? I’m assuming you’re down south right now?
Tyler: Yes, I’m down here staying around the Jacksonville area. Right now I’m actually sitting on a big rocking chair outside of a Cracker Barrel after finishing a good breakfast.
Perfect timing then. I guess my first question is about family and sacrifice. You’ve been heading down south for years to ride and train, but now your kids are getting older and things back home are no doubt getting busier. How do you handle that part of the job these days?
Well, it doesn’t get any easier, that’s for sure. The kids are getting older and they’re all getting their own personalities, so yes it’s difficult to be away. However, these days with things like FaceTime we’re able to connect and it almost feels like we’re in the same room. Even Talon (Tyler’s oldest) has his own iPad and he sometimes just calls me all by himself. Also, I make sure to get home for a week once a month and when I’m home, I’m home. Other than the training I have to do each day, I’m able to be Dad and do whatever they want to do.
I suppose it’s like anyone who has to travel away from home to do their job.
Exactly, there are families out there who have a lot worse than we do when one parent has to go away all of the time for work. As I said, it’s tough but we all make it work. I’m actually heading home tomorrow for a week to rest and to hang out with my family.
So how is the training going so far? How is the body responding to yet another year of getting ready to go racing?
Everything has been going great, actually. Not to sound like a cliche, but honestly, it feels like the training just gets easier with age. My program right now is solid, and my trainer and I talk each week about how I’m feeling and then we adjust my program accordingly. Overall I feel great right now, and also our testing has been going really well. Matt [Goerke] and I could go racing right now without any trouble.
Well, that’s good news! Talk to me about the switch to the 250 class for 2019. You had what I thought was one of the best seasons of your career. Did you just feel like you were up for a new challenge?
It was something that we kind of spoke about last season, and then when I started riding the 450 so well and was running up front almost every weekend, we didn’t really talk about it anymore. I always told the team that I’d be open to racing a 250 in 2019, not really because I needed a new challenge, but more to the fact that I’ve always been a rider who prides myself on being able to ride any bike in any type of condition. So when the team was struggling to find a new 250 rider to replace Shawn, it was decided that I would be the best fit.
We spoke about your training earlier. Have you had to change your training at all to adjust to the 250 and how you have to ride it compared to the 450?
No,not at all. I know you have to ride a 250 differently and it’s a busier type of riding. There’s definitely a lot more going on. However, because the bike is lighter and the races are a little shorter, it all works out the same in the end. My bike is so fast that when I compare my lap times on tracks that I’ve been riding down here for a few years, my times are better on the 250. I seem to really suit the bike well.
That makes sense. Is the plan for you and your teammate to be in Abbotsford for Round 1 of the Rockstar Energy Triple Crown AXTour?
Yes, we will be there and will be doing the entire series again. I think it’s going to be fun, and I know Matt is ready to go and that he really loves his new KX450F. We’re ready and we can’t wait to get things going.
I haven’t spoken to Matt yet but I’ve heard that he’s riding really well and happy to be back on a Kawasaki?
He’s in a really good place right now, and as you know, when you’re happy and confident that is when good things happen. I also think it’s going to help him this year that he’s not competing in the same class with a teammate. He doesn’t have to keep to himself or hide things, he can just be himself and we can work together to win both titles this year.
I know I speak for everyone when I say that it’s going to be exciting to watch both of you in 2019. With regards to switching to the 250 class this season, I know the speed and the intensity of this class won’t be a problem for you, but does it concern you at all that you might not enjoy the added aggression that some of these 250 kids bring to the track? You know what I mean, might we see a grumpier Tyler Medaglia than we’re used to seeing?
I know what you mean and yes I’ve given some thought to that. We’ve both watched some of the questionable moves that these kids make sometimes, stuff that the 450 riders just don’t do. However, if it does happen then it’s not like it’s going to be a surprise or anything. I know that it might happen, but honestly I’m just going in with the mindset of trying to race my own rac. When I have to be aggressive then I will be. I think it’s going to be fun and I cannot wait to see what happens.
You’re coming into the 250 class as not only a former champion but also as a rider who won 450 races last year. So maybe the 250 riders are going to have to adjust to how you race and not the other way around?
Yeah, you might be right on that. Either way, I think it’s going to be a great season for not only myself but for our entire Monster Energy Alpinestars Piller’s Kawasaki Team.
Well Tyler, thanks for your time. Safe travels and I will see you at the races real soon.
Thanks for calling Palms. Yes, we’ll see you in Abbotsford in a few weeks.