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Between the Motos: Mike Alessi

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With the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship right around the corner, the focus changes for Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mike Alessi. Alessi just wanted to make it through a season of supercross uninjured, but come Glen Helen, he’s out to win. How badly does he want it? When we called him today he had just returned from a three-hour bicycle ride. He was exhausted from a hard day, but still had time for us.

  • Mike will put more focus on the whoops next supercross season
Mike, you never stop training, do you?
Yeah (laughs). I just got done.

Do you have a set plan of hard days and easy days, or are they all hard?
They’re all hard!

Were you training during supercross with a specific eye on being ready for Glen Helen?
We’ve been doing a lot of training. Not to be ready for a specific race or time, just going hard all the time. Today we were up riding bicycles in altitude, almost 8000 feet, there’s not much oxygen up there.

Last year you said you were running the extra mile and riding the extra lap to be ready for Glen Helen. Same plan this year?
Yeah, same thing is going on. Today I was pushing for almost three hours, climbing to the top of those mountains in elevation. Yesterday we were doing 40 minute motos. We’re doing what it takes to win a championship this year.

You made it through supercross healthy, how big of an advantage will that be?
Yeah it was good making it through it healthy, it’s a big plus. I figured if I could make it through all 17 rounds injury free and go into motocross 100 percent, I’d have a good shot at winning this national championship.

You rode well last summer. Are there things you learned that can make you even faster this year?
For me right now, I’m forgoing testing because I’m going to ride the same setup as last year. I know the bike is great, we had a real solid platform last year and I know the bike is fast and ready—it was great last year. The whole team is good with Rockstar Makita Suzuki. So without testing, I can do more practice motos and do more training so I can get even more fit.

So you think you’ll be even stronger this year?
I think I’ll be exactly where I was last year. I won’t be faster or slower. I’m doing the exact same thing as last year, from my motos, to my training, to in the gym, to exercises and stretching, I’m doing the same things I did last year.

  • Alessi rocketed out of Monster Alley with a big lead last weekend
The competition around you is changing, though, it sounds like James Stewart isn’t going to race all the rounds and defend his championship. A few guys are moving up, a few guys are on new teams. Do you think about that?
Like I said, I’m training really hard and putting in my best effort. That’s all you can do, is put in your best effort, and that’s all you can really ask for.

You’ve battled with Millsaps and Villopoto before as amateurs, and this will be kind of a rematch with Villopoto outdoors. Does that change anything?
You know, I’m just going to put in my best effort, and whatever it is, is what it is. I’m going to give it 100 percent, and that’s all I can ask for.

You’ve been a pro since the end of 2004, and before that you raced as much as an amateur as anyone. A lot of guys at this point in their career start getting burnt out. How do you still put in the kind of effort you did today?
Because I want to win and I want a championship. Like you said, it’s really easy to get burned out because day in and day out, training and riding is hard, man, and it’s easy to want to get burned out and not want to do it anymore. But those are the guys that give up, and they don’t push anymore, and they throw in the towel because they’re tired and they don’t want to do anymore. That’s what it’s all about, pushing through that pain and keeping going. Those are the winners.

Did you surprise yourself a little bit in supercross?
By far. I got a podium and I maybe could have won Seattle. I think there were a few other races where I could maybe get a podium. I surprised myself and I think I showed people I can actually ride supercross, and I might actually have a future riding it. I’m happy to be able to get through all 17 races and be ready to run for this national championship outdoors.

  • Alessi is ready to take it back outside
Mike, the whoops. If you could solve the whoops problem, you could be right up there in supercross. Is that something you look at to improve on next year?
After the outdoors are over, I’m going to work on that for sure. I’m going to work on hitting fast whoops, big whoops, whoops right out of a turn. That’s what I’m going to work on, whoops and dragon’s backs.

So you’re not just going to be a motocross guy, you know you can do it in supercross, as well.
That’s right. I’m going to try to show everybody that next year I’ll be ready to go. Like you said, I’m probably one of the faster guys around the track in every section but the whoop section. I think it’s something that’s fixable. We have quite a good off-season to work on that, so we’ll focus on trying to be faster in the whoops.

Well, sounds like you need some rest. I’ll let you go. Thanks for the time.
No problem, Jason. I’ll see you in two weeks.

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