Darian Sanayei completed the European portion of his career in Paris over the weekend, as he competed in the SX2 class on a Bud Racing Kawasaki. The event was an opportunity to get his feet wet ahead of the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross series, where he will compete aboard a privateer Kawasaki with backing from Monster Energy. How did that deal come about? That topic is covered in this exclusive MX Vice interview, as well as much more.
MX Vice: I guess this weekend wasn't so much about results and expectations, but just getting your foot on the supercross ladder again. You did that. You got better as the weekend went on. You were definitely much better today than you were yesterday, I thought.
Darian Sanayei: Yeah, for sure. I didn't really have too many expectations coming here, just because after the season in GPs I took six weeks off completely. I didn't ride or even work out one time in six weeks. I started back basically from absolutely zero. That was only two weeks ago and then I had a small back injury leading up to this. I basically got a week on supercross before coming here, so I didn't think I was going to kill it or set the world on fire. I thought I was going to do a little better than I did but it's the way it goes.
Considering everything – the back thing, the lack of prep and everything – are you actually glad you came here? Before this race was up the road from you, it's now a long way from home.
Yeah. It kind of looks bad getting a bad result and then it's a lesser level than supercross in America, but I think for me it was pretty good. Just kind of getting a little bit more intensity and a little bit more speed, like having to push through those motos. It's not too long, but we did fourteen or fifteen laps the last race. I think it was pretty good.
Like you said, in that last race you moved forward pretty good and made some passes. It's just like getting used to that intense supercross thing again, I guess?
Yeah, for sure. You have got to be on it from the start all the way through. You don't have really any time to slack. You can't really mess up rhythms and stuff. The first race yesterday, when I got a good start, I was up front but then for two or three laps a couple of the rhythms I wasn't even tripling through. I'm like, "Dang, what am I doing?"
I definitely felt like my speed was better today and I felt a little bit closer to the front of the pack. I was just kind of getting held back on the start. I was pretty far outside. I had a good start going in, but one guy on the inside… I just wasn't ahead of him enough. He just kept pushing all the way straight in the corner, so it would push me too wide. I'd then have to kind of try to fight through the pack a little bit.
Seeing as you have not raced supercross in forever, were you chasing bike set-up a little bit or was that kind of easy?
Yeah. I brought my suspension from America. WP set it up for me, and it's been pretty good overall. It's a little bit soft on American stuff so I thought it would be good for here. We made a couple little adjustments but barely anything.
You had a contract with [Steve] Dixon to do MXGP for next year. It doesn't look like you are going that way though. You have got a privateer deal with Monster and Kawasaki kind of sorted out for supercross, huh?
Yeah, basically that. It's kind of hard to put it into words and everything. I'm trying to race supercross next year in America, because I feel like I want to race in America again and now that switch to 450s in MXGP… If I'm going to come back now is kind of the time. It's not obviously the best opportunity coming back on a good team or anything. It's kind of my own deal, but I have got quite a bit of support actually. Hopefully everything keeps coming. I think it should be a pretty good set-up, actually.
Has it been a bit of a headache trying to sort everything out? Have you got people around you who are kind of taking care of the sponsors and things like that?
Yeah, I have got one friend helping me. It's been in my head like, "I'm doing this and now I'm doing that." It's gone so many different ways. All in all, now I'm back to riding and training. I've got to focus on that too, but it's actually coming pretty good.
Even though you have got good supporters to do that, I guess if a fill-in comes up on whatever bike with whatever energy drink you could kind of jump on that? You are not completely locked into what you are doing?
Yeah, for sure. That's the only tough thing is I'm trying to get sponsors to go race supercross and everything. If I do two races, do good and then I hop onto something else they are going to be a little bit bummed. I'm kind of up front with them a little bit about it to kind of just see where my best options are. My programme, bike and everything is good though. I'll run through west coast probably even if I get an option to do something else. Unless it's through outdoors then I probably would stay on what I have.
Are you happy? You have done the European thing now. Are you stoked to be back home and kind of back to some kind of normality?
Yeah, for sure. It's definitely something different. I didn't plan to be in Europe for the rest of my life, really, or my career. It is nice to be back in California. It's just super easy to do everything. Just training and doing everything I need. There's like no hassle. It's pretty easy, so it's nice.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Ray Archer