MXA INTERVIEW | AARON PLESSINGER IS READY FOR OAKLAND
Aaron Plessinger with his new bike and career number.
After achieving everything he could in the 250 class, Aaron Plessinger moved up for the 2019 season. While his fellow 450 rookies had all competed on the bigger bike before, Anaheim 1 was the Ohio native’s first foray into 450 supercross via the Monster Energy factory Yamaha team, but by the end of the night, the soon to be 23-year-old proved he belonged on the bigger bike. While his on-track success has been outstanding, it is his personality and fun-loving style that make him a fan favorite. We recently caught up with the second-generation racer who’s Dad was a multi-time off road Champion.
BY JIM KIMBALL
AARON, LETS BEGIN WITH ANAHEIM 1; YOU HAD TO BE HAPPY WITH YOUR FIRST 450 RACE? Yes, for sure. I was stoked on my first 450 race, especially, to come out here with a top 10, and I almost had a top 5. These guys ride good, they are world class Supercross riders and I am racing against them. It is so crazy to think I have made it this far. It has only been five years since I have turned pro and I am already in the 450 class. It is crazy to me, I was out there, and somewhat star struck. I was racing Ken Roczen, Dean Wilson, and my teammate, Justin Barcia. I have watched them for so many years. It is crazy to me, and I am super stoked. I did not have the greatest off-season and to be out there racing and getting 6th place in the mud, having fun, I am ecstatic.
The young rookie Aaron Plessinger slides up the inside of the veteran Chad Reed. Aaron was only six years old when Chad first came to America to race Supercross in 2002.
YOU WERE BATTLING WITH A LOT OF THE TOP GUYS. IN PARTICULAR ELI TOMAC. I was in shock, pretty much. He came up behind me, and I was pretty tired. I think it was about 15 minutes into the main event, and I was like “wow, I am pretty smoked”, so I kind of moved over for Tomac. I was going to take his lines, and work with him. But then I took a better line than him, and got him over that double-double, and almost got past Malcom too, which would have moved me a little bit forward. Who knows, maybe I could have finished a little better, but you know, dicing it up with Tomac was incredible. I was dicing it up with Cooper Webb, who got by me at the end. And then dicing it with Malcom Stewart was fun too. I have watched these guys for so long, I am star struck still.
JOEY SAVATGY, JUSTIN HILL, AND ALTHOUGH ZACH OSBORNE WASN’T HERE, THEY ALL HAVE RACED THE 450 BEFORE A1 WHILE YOU DIDN’T, WAS IT COOL BEING THE TOP 450 ROOKIE? Yes, it is pretty crazy. I was going to go to Geneva, but I actually got a back injury and could not go. That bummed me out, but I just put my head down and started doing what I could with recovering and getting better. I think I put some good work in and it definitely feels good to be the top rookie. Hopefully I can keep it and get 450 rookie of the year.
SO, YOU WERE OFF THE BIKE FOR A WHILE? Yes, I was off the bike completely for about three weeks. And shoot that was a month ago, so I did it pretty late. It is a good thing that I was just training, and I was in pretty good shape before the injury actually happened, so I rebounded pretty quickly. I have really had two injuries that held me back. The gym work, I could not really do for about 1 ½ to 2 months. But I just kept my cardio up, doing bike rides, and this and that. I was just doing the right things, and it paid off. I only got two, 20-lap motos in before Anaheim 1, so to get 6thplace, I was ecstatic, man.
WHAT ABOUT PHOENIX? IT SEEMED LIKE YOU STRUGGLED A BIT THERE? You know I just seemed to struggle there. The track was a lot different than Anaheim 1, and much more slippery. I couldn’t seem to get my bike dialed in either. But I guess that’s all a part of getting used to all the different track styles. I never really found my groove there.
After a rough offseason Aaron and the Factory Yamaha team were all very pleased to finish 6th in Aaron’s first 450 main event. We look forward to watching Aaron this weekend on a track that is known to get rutted in Oakland.
AT ANAHEIM 2 WITH THE TRIPLE CROWN FORMAT, YOU IMPROVED BY THE THIRD RACE. Practice wasn’t that great, but the more time on the track the better I felt. In the first main event I got a bad jump off the gate and came out 21st! I worked my way up to 12th so I felt okay about that. In the second main I had another bad start but made some quick passes. I got a bit tired later towards the end, messed up a couple rhythm sections and took 9th. Then in the third main I got a much better start and felt good and aggressive. I passed Dean Wilson with two laps to go but couldn’t catch Chad Reed who was in front of me. So, I ended the final main in sixth, and took 7th overall. More importantly I felt very comfortable on the bike and am still top ten in points. I am feeling more and more like I can run the pace, but I’m just taking it one step at a time.
ONE LAST QUESTION. NOW THAT YOU ARE ON A 450, AND RACING, HAVE YOU CHANGED MUCH IN YOUR TRAINING? Not really much. Just longer motos during the weeks, a little heavier weight in the gym. Mountain bike rides while keeping my heart rate up a little bit longer, but other than that, it is pretty much the same deal.