Aaron Plessinger could be considered an unknown quantity at the Motocross of Nations, seeing as European fans have never seen him race, although most have pegged him as the favourite to take the individual victory in the MX2 class. Plessinger expects a lot out of himself too, just as he explains in this exclusive MX Vice interview from day one at RedBud.
MX Vice: It's your first Motocross of Nations and that comes with a lot of pressure and expectation, but based on your haircut and social media posts I get the feeling that you are ready and raring to go?
Aaron Plessinger: Yeah. I think the pressure this race comes with is definitely good pressure. With it being at RedBud I'm definitely comfortable being in the home country and having raced this race this year and winning both motos in the 250MX class, I think I am coming in here with a lot of confidence. With a good start and some good laps, I think I can run up front with these guys.
Winding back the clock to the week after Indiana, have you just been throwing down since then? Six weeks of non-stop moto or has there been a holiday? What have you kind of been up to?
Yeah! I actually took two weeks off and went to see my family and let them see my son, Jake. Got to spend some time back home. After that, it has been non-stop. I started back with thirty-five-minute motos and haven't stopped since. My last day of riding was Tuesday and I'm feeling pretty confident.
Can you afford to have two weeks off at your level? When you finally got back onto a bike, did you feel a bit slow and a bit sluggish or was it just immediately back to business and old instincts set in?
I didn't do anything for two weeks, so it was definitely a little tough coming back and straight into some motos, but after a few it was like old instinct and all of it kicked back in.
Did you mix a bit of time on a 450 on a supercross track in there since Indiana or has it just been 250F outdoor all of the time?
I really focused a lot on this race. I put everything into this race and I didn't even touch the 450F yet. I'm sure after this race it will be one hundred percent 450 supercross, bike set-up, training and everything. It's going to be pretty wild for a couple weeks.
A lot of people like to talk about the amount of work that goes into this race, especially for Team USA obviously, because your season ended ages ago. It applies to you especially though, because you could have chucked the 250F away six weeks ago and that time would have been really helpful. I guess from that point of view, if you put in all of this work for second or third place then you are going to be pissed.
Yeah, I'm definitely going to be bummed. I'm going to try my best to make sure that doesn't happen. I'm going to put myself in a good position so we can get this trophy and we can come back with it.
Have you done any research about this race? Watched old highlights or spoke to Eli [Tomac] or Justin [Barcia]? Do you kind of have an idea of how the starting procedure, the waiting area and all of that is going to work?
A little bit. Not too much. I kind of wanted it to be a little bit of a surprise. I've never even been to an MXGP race before. It's going to be a surprise. I think it's going to be pretty fun.
Having your first ‘Nations at home, there is probably nothing better. Is there a part of you that just wishes you could have flown to Europe and kind of done that whole deal though? Just something a bit different? Obviously you have logged plenty of laps around here.
As much as I like it being in the US, I kind of wish I would have gotten to be able to go over to Europe and race one of their tracks. I've never really been out of the country before. I've been to Canada and that's about it. Oh well. We got next year!
I saw on social media a couple of weeks ago, after one of the press conferences you mentioned something along the lines of the only MX2 rider who is on your mind is Dylan [Ferrandis]. Obviously the social-media people like to overreact to any little thing, so just kind of clear that up. Obviously he is going to be the only one on your mind, because you do not know about the other guys. How can you think about something that you have no clue about?
Yeah, I have never even met any of the European 250 riders. They are going to be really fast. I know they are really good. Jorge [Prado] obviously winning the championship. He is going to be on a high from that. A lot of these guys; Ben Watson, Hunter Lawrence and all of them are going to be really, really fast. I have got to watch my back for sure, but I am pretty confident on this track. Dylan is pretty fast here, so I am going to keep my eye out for him. If anybody comes through to challenge, I will take it head-on.
If there is one thing that is important at the ‘Nations, it's starts. You have kind of had a bit of a chequered history with those. Have you put a specific amount of focus on that? I feel like you kind of got them sussed a little bit towards the end of the outdoors. It definitely got better.
Yeah. I put a lot of focus in definitely towards the end of outdoors and this whole four-week block that I did. They have been pretty consistent. I have only had maybe one or two that have been off. I'm really confident in my starts now. I think I can match up with them jumping off the gate… Probably not keeping up with them through the first corner, but I will jump off the gate with them.
I asked Eli this same question. Obviously the team win is the goal and that would be great. If you are stood on the top step on Sunday as the winning team, but you finished second or third in MX2, would you be a bit bummed? Do you want both wins? Would you accept just a team win?
Yeah, it would definitely be sweet to win both, but if USA wins that's really all that matters. I'm going to try my best to win that overall.
Finally, what are your plans after this? I heard you are doing Monster Cup on a 450F, so I guess it's just straight into that grind?
I don't think I’m going to do Monster Cup anymore. I really haven't touched the 450F, so it would kind of be a little dangerous I would think. I haven't really touched supercross since Las Vegas. It's been a while. I think I need to get back onto supercross, on the 450F, before I can get back on the gate.
Interview: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: ConwayMX