A brand new layout and some heavy rain leading up to the High Point National presented a challenging track for the riders to learn quickly on Saturday. Jeremy Martin and Zach Osborne looked comfortable on the revamped track and ended up splitting moto wins on the day with the tie breaker for the overall going to Martin. Aaron Plessinger came in behind them with 3-3 moto scores while dealing with an injury to his ... "rod," which allowed for a pretty hilarious question and answer session.
Here’s what will probably be the funniest post-race press conference of the year, hosted by Jimmy Albertson.
Racer X: Let’s just address the elephant in the room with Aaron [Plessinger] and Zach [Osborne]. Aaron, what happened in practice? Everybody wants to know. People are saying it’s the frank, maybe it’s the beans. What do you got going on? Tell us.
Aaron Plessinger: So, I crashed in practice and the thing got smashed by the bars and scraped it up a little bit. It was inner thighs and the rod. It’s not fun. It stings a little bit. Especially when I tried to walk down. I got it wrapped up right now in a cast, a makeshift cast. We’re doing alright.
How is the cast affecting the pee test right now?
Plessinger: I’m going to have to unwrap it when I get back.
We got Zach Osborne. Obviously, you’re out there just completely savage mode with no goggles, backwards visor, running into people as soon as you rip your goggles. What was that all about? Run us through that.
Zach Osborne: I got hit by a rock the lap before I passed Alex [Martin] straight in my face. When I did it splashed all the sweat down into my lens. I couldn’t see very good. I knew I needed to make a pass quick so I could get them off just to be able to see the ruts good enough to where I could make a pass. I got them off and I went to take them off it hooked on my visor and broke my visor. Then my goggles were flopping in my face. So, then I just got a handful of it. Then I just made it happen.
That could have been a pivotal moment right there.
Osborne: It could have been really bad.
Jeremy [Martin], you’re really the only one we have any serious questions for, I guess. Your first overall season, your overall with GEICO Honda, it’s got to feel awesome.
Jeremy Martin: For sure. It’s been one heck of a rough season I guess for me, supercross and the beginning part of outdoors. DNF right away first moto. So, it’s nice. I make sure I enjoy it. These are hard to come by especially with how good these guys are. Hopefully the team and I enjoy it tonight.
Aaron, in the second moto you got a good start and then dropped back a little bit and then put a late charge in. What was going on there at the initial first five laps or so?
Plessinger: I’m not sure, to tell you the truth. I was just riding tight and then when Zach passed me I said, “I got to go, I got to get back.” That’s what I did. [Austin] Forkner went down and then I got by Dylan [Ferrandis] and Alex. Late moto charge.
Aaron, did it [the injury] actually affect your riding or were you okay once the moto started?
Plessinger: It didn’t really affect me.
Martin: I was in that section and I saw him go down in practice. I was looking over there to see if I could see it. [Laughs]
Tell me about the first moto.
Osborne: First moto was really good for me. I got off to a second-place start. Aaron passed me pretty much instantly. He was yelling like a real redneck so I got scared when he passed me. Then I got him back three or four laps later and just kind of put in a couple good laps behind Jeremy and then made the pass and I was able to open up a little gap and just kind of manage the race from the front, which was nice.
Jeremy, did you say you were pumped up that first moto? Did not go the way you wanted?
Martin: For sure, I got off to a great start. I was pumped up right away, but no excuses. I did my best to manage it. I could see Zach coming. I’m like, dang it. He was able to get around me. It is what it is. We made some changes for moto two and felt better. I was able to kind of keep him at bay even though we got a bad start.
In the second moto you once again had to pass Big Al [Alex Martin] for the lead. Take me through that battle there.
Martin: It was great. I could see Alex. We’re going to be on the same flight home tomorrow, we’re going to have dinner tomorrow night. I’m like, it’s time. It’s time to make a move. This one’s for the boys. I got bragging rights this week and I’ll text TK [Tyler Keefe, Troy Lee KTM Team Manager] and I’ll be talking some shit this weekend.
Jeremy, the downhill double over here on the backside looked like an area where you guys were making some time. How hard was it to hit that thing? Did you know that it was a jump that they try not to have downhill doubles?
Martin: That thing’s massive. I saw it and I saw my brother hit it and I’m like, “Dammit, now I’ve got to hit it.” It’s big. I remember back in ‘15 I think it was a little bit harder than it was this year. They really had the lip built up pretty good. I felt even more safe hitting it.
Osborne: It’s one of those jumps when you show up and you hope no one else jumps.
Martin: Pretty much.
Plessinger: That’s all the big jumps for me. [Laughs]
Zach, talk a little bit about when you were sick in Colorado, plus you’ve got the altitude. That didn’t look like a fun situation.
Osborne: It was a tough weekend and in the first moto I got a really good start and threw it away right off the bat, so I had to pour a ton into an eighth place in the first moto which was not ideal. Then I just settled for a mediocre fifth in the second moto. I was really sick at Glen Helen and then after the race it just got worse and worse and I wasn’t able to kick it before getting to Colorado. But now I’m well and it feels good to come back today and win a moto and solidify it all again.
Jeremy, I think you said in the past you’ve dealt with arm pump early in motos. Have you been able to pinpoint what may be causing it? How have you adjusted?
Martin: For me it’s more about comfort. You’re gelling. I like High Point, but I’ve always kind of struggled a little bit here. It’s a real hard base. I think everyone’s going to agree with that, and the ruts. My bike was working really well, but I could feel it just up in the edge in that moto. So, we made a couple changes just to smooth out the edge a little bit. It helped.
Did you get it at all in the second moto?
Martin: No, I was good.
This is for all three. What did you guys think of the new layout and your thoughts on the track in general?
Osborne: [At first] I wanted the old High Point back where we were racing out there in the field and on the off-cambers. When it rained it was slidey. Coming here after I saw the drone footage I was like, they killed it. It turned out to be really good racing. I think when we come here every year we know it’s going to be hot or rain and it’s always going to be just like this, nasty. I think it’s one of the better tracks we come to, even with some of the elements taken out of it.
Martin: I like the old High Point. I like this High Point. I knew with it being as muddy as it was this morning … I knew that it wasn’t going to be fun to practice, but come time for the motos I think the track was pretty solid and there was a lot of lines. I don’t think it was a negative change.
Plessinger: I liked it pretty good. It was a little more wide open. I think if they didn’t get so many ruts it would have been really, really fast. It shaped up for really, really good racing. I think it's a really good racetrack now. I like the old High Point but, sometimes you’ve got to change.
Aaron, you thought the racing was good. I think by straightening the track out it allowed for some more passing. How was the passing today? Did it feel easier than normal High Point?
Martin: I think so. In the past, there were a lot of off-cambers and it would open up and then get really tight, so you’d start to get a drive and then you’d get shut down. I think there’s a little bit more room to move around, so I think it was a little easier. Just the track was so gnarly. Look at the downhill over there. There’s eight lines.
Osborne: For me, when the track’s wet and prepped like this, or like Hangtown, it’s always going to be better for us, for racing and for passing. This is what it’s supposed to be like, in my opinion. I think it was really good. All in all, I like the off-camber stuff a little bit better, but overall it was pretty good.
Plessinger: It was pretty good. Like Zach said, when it’s really muddy and soft in practice it makes out for a really good racetrack and means a lot of lines and a lot of ruts. You get a lot more opportunity to pass somebody.