Monday Conversation I: Mike Alessi

June 9, 2008 1:24am

Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Mike Alessi is a proven championship contender, but he has yet to step on the top step in a championship battle overall. However, he is always second or third at the end of the season outdoors, and so far, it’s looking just the same this year, despite some rather stiff competition. After his 2-2 ride in Texas, we sat down with the Californian before he headed to Florida to train for Mt. Morris next weekend.

Racer X: You can’t be very disappointed with how you’re doing right now, can you?
Mike Alessi: No. It was a good day, you know? I had good starts, ran up front, got a 2-2, and I was battling [James] Stewart. Last weekend was messed up, and I did really bad, but I recovered good and came back strong and did good this weekend.

Not to belittle your achievements so far, because you’ve been riding really well for the most part, but the obvious question is, how do you plan on beating Stewart?
Being up front like him, and riding my own pace, and if Stewart makes a mistake, capitalizing on it. I’ll take it from there.

You’re putting up some pretty good fights when he’s going by you...
Everybody knows that when Bubba gets to [Davi] Millsaps, or to [Ivan] Tedesco, or to [Andrew] Short, or to me, he’s thinking, “These guys know that I’m right behind them, and they’re going to roll over.” But I don’t want to be like that. When he gets behind me, he said that he always has to give me a lot of room to pass me, because I’m aggressive and I’m going to try and do what it takes to make sure you don’t pass me. That’s the point. That’s what fans want to see – good racing. I fought back, and I hit him back, and I was aggressive. I do what it takes to make sure no one’s going to pass me, and James is going fast, but he knows that I’m aggressive when he gets around me.

A couple of times, you were out there around Millsaps. Do you ever think back to your amateur days when you’re around him out there?

No, it’s all good between me and Davi. We’re actually pretty good friends now, and it’s good between us. I just kind of focus on myself out there, though, and don’t worry about anyone else.

Coming into the season, on the new bike and with all of the outdoor time you had on it, what kind of confidence did you have?
I knew I had a good bike, a good team, and a good mechanic, and I knew the bike was going to be good outdoors. It’s proven to be good now. I’ve got two seconds now, and it should be three, except I just fouled up the starts big last week. We got that fixed this week, so we’re back on the right page. I should be up front somewhere every moto, and that’s the main thing, to be on the podium and to grab the good points.

What about last week when you were struggling out there? Was it mainly because you had a hard time not having a clear track in front of you?

Yeah, the guys were a little all over the place, but I tried my best to get around them, and the first moto, I crashed all by myself. It was really a dumb crash, and I gave up a lot of points. Right now, I’m third in points, and only two points out of second, so if I just keep working hard, it should be good. This week, I might not be able to ride with as bad as my hands are, so I’ll just train... Or maybe not even train and take the week off to recover and get my hands right, because they’re pretty much done.

If there’s not an energy-drink conflict this year, and you’re the second-placed guy in the 450cc class, one would have to assume that you were the other guy to join James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto in England to race the Motocross of Nations. Is that something you’d like to do?
Oh, I’d love to go. I’d be honored. But it seems like they never want me to go, so it’s up to them. I’ve pretty much been a number-one or number-two guy the last three years, and they took Ivan [Tedesco] when Mike Brown was supposed to go, and then last year they chose [Timmy] Ferry over myself and [Andrew] Short...

I think it was an energy-drink thing last year, because it was the Monster Energy Team USA...
Whatever it is, someone on the inside didn’t want me to go, I think. Someone on the inside really didn’t want Mike Alessi to be there.

Do you think you’ve addressed whatever issue that was that kept you out of the team the last few times?

I think I’m on a good team now, so I think I’ve got somebody on the inside that’ll back me up and make it go through...

Roger D?

That’s right, Roger DeCoster’s the man. He’ll make sure I’m there. I’d love to go.

That’s good to know, because I think some of those Euro guys want another helping of Mike Alessi.
I raced there a couple of years ago, and whatever it takes, I’d love to do it, and I think I can do it, so we’ll see.