Monday Conversation II: Nico Izzi

Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Nico Izzi now has two podiums in a row to start the Lites East championship, with a third at round one behind Christophe Pourcel and Brett Metcalfe, and then a second at round two with Metcalfe out and Pourcel taking the win again. He also looked thinner at round two, a few weeks after the series opener. We talked to him about his series so far.

Racer X: That’s your second podium in a row, so that’s obviously not a bad start to your season, right?
Nico Izzi: No, it’s definitely a good start. It’s a rough day, but a good start. It’s nice to stay on that box and boost your confidence. I think by just staying consistent, anything can happen. Pourcel’s riding strong, but anything can happen to me or him, so I’ll just keep working, I guess, and hopefully get that win.

Speaking of the rough day, what was going on today?
Until the LCQ, everything was going against me the whole day. The first practice wasn’t that bad, but then I came out in second practice, third lap, and somebody stopped in the whoops, and I was going so fast – and you can’t just stop in whoops, because you’re going to crash anyway, and you can’t turn in whoops – so I ended up hitting him and crashing really hard. It sucked. I hurt my back really bad. Then I came out in the Heat race, trying to re-group after the second practice, and I got landed on in the rhythm section right after the first turn, and it ruined my bike, so I had to come back to the LCQ and just hope I made it to the main, I guess.

Yeah, the thing about LCQs is that anything can happen in those things...
Yeah, that’s the thing, anything can happen in an LCQ, even though they may not be factory riders or whatnot. Anything can happen. Once I got a start, I kind of rode like shit, but I rode cautious just because I didn’t want to have any of that stupid stuff put me out of being in the main. I knew if I was going to be in the main that I was going to have a bad gate pick, but I just put it all aside and zoned into my own little world and got a good start [in the main], and those two guys were ahead of me for a while, and I just kind of had fun with it. I was just trying to make the best of the situation. Even though I had a really rough day, after every crash, I was just thankful that I wasn’t hurt.

What happened with the first start in the LCQ before they red-flagged it?
The first start, the [30-second] card girl didn’t really know what she was doing, I guess, and nobody knew what was going on.

You guys were revving your bikes for like a minute waiting for the gate to drop...
Yeah, I thought my bike was going to blow up, but I don’t really know what was going on. I’m glad they did re-start it because I got the holeshot in that one and that made it a lot easier on me. We’re going to be racing every weekend now, so hopefully I’ll just get a little stronger and put up a bigger fight, you know? I know I can do it, I’ve just got to believe in myself and hopefully come out this weekend and maybe get a first win. Who knows?

How much weight have you lost since the first round? You look noticeably thinner...
You know what? To be honest, I haven’t really weighed myself. I never really do. But I’ve been working hard on the bicycle and eating a lot healthier and stuff, and I’ve just been trying to do anything I can to get that little edge on everybody else. Normally, before, I used to eat whatever, and I used to ride a lot but didn’t really train. I feel good. My legs are feeling stronger and bigger, and I’m just trying to get those lungs bigger and get that endurance flowing. That’s all I can really do, and I’ll just hope for the best. Hopefully my team stays behind me 100 percent, and I’m just going to be giving it my all every day.

How important is it to you to make sure you come out of the series with at least a win or two?
That’s super-important. I know it’ll come, though. I’m not stressed on that, because everybody knows I’m a good rider, and I’m consistent and everything. But the win, I definitely need that, and just to be in the championship hunt is what I need. Whether that comes with a win or not, as long as I stay consistent, if they bobble or something, hey, I’ve just got to be smart and do my own thing. You never know. You can win a championship without a win sometimes.

{LINKS}Timmy Ferry did it on your team like 12 years ago...
Exactly. Unfortunately, the competition’s way stiffer nowadays, and people don’t make as big of mistakes as they used to, but I really want to win, and if I don’t win the championship, I want to get that win. It’s a big mountain I have to climb, and once I climb over it, hopefully everything is smooth sailing from there on.