Mike, you just won the FMF Two-Stroke Invitational race. You looked great out there.
It’s always nice to win. The Two-Stroke race was fun. I really wanted to do the Two-Stroke National in April, but I got hurt with my collarbone and that kind of forced me to not be able to race it. For me, the race on Saturday was one of those things where I wanted to get back behind the gate and to start and go into the first turn and ride the first lap or two with intensity. I was able to knock the rust off and to be ready for next weekend. It was fun to get out there and just have a nice little race.
Tell us about the race program you have set up to content the CMRC Motocross Nationals.
I got hurt in supercross and that sort of stopped everything. Supercross was pretty much over for me, so I just started focusing on the outdoors. I got a deal working with Jason Hughes to ride for Monster Energy/Alpinestars/Kawasaki team and the first round is this weekend and then we’ll go four races in a row. After that, we get Fourth of July weekend off. After that we do six in a row and then it’s over August 13. It does go by very quickly. Before you blink, summer will be over, but during that time I’ll be enjoying my time up in Canada and having a good time racing the competition and traveling through Canada. I really enjoy it up there, the people are awesome, the scenery is great and the weather is, for the most part, awesome because most of the time the temperature is, like, 60 to 65 degrees. That’s a perfect riding condition. It’s all just a good time.
If the opportunity would have presented itself, would you have wanted to line up for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship this summer?
Well, the thing with SmarTop/MotoConcepts is that they only race supercross, so if I want to continue to racing the rest of the year and ride motocross, I have to go find my own deal. That’s what I was able to do with Jason Hughes last year. I rode with him in ’16 and now I’ll ride for him this year in ’17. I mean, I always wanted to come back and race the Nationals; I think the last National I did was in 2013 (Note: At Lake Elsinore), so it’s been quite a few years since I raced a National. Like I said, I had to go find my own thing for the summertime and I enjoy working with Monster Energy/Kawasaki/Alpinestars team. They do a great job and I’m looking forward to another good summer up there.
What’s the Mike Alessi battle plan for Canada during the next three months?
First and foremost, the battle plan is to stay injury-free, to have fun, and to try and win races.
I’ve never been to a Canadian National. How is the competition at those events? Is it serious racing?
It’s pretty serious, honestly. There are some good guys up there. You have a couple of good guys up there in [Christophe] Pourcel, [Colton] Facciotti, [Matt] Goerke, [Kaven] Benoit, Kyle Chisholm… There are some good guys. I mean, it’s not like it’s a walk in the park for anybody. It’s always good racing. The guys are fast and they’re competitive. They want it just as bad as they want it down here.
Getting back to the United States, would you like to give the Monster Energy Supercross Series another run come the winter of 2018?
Well, like you and I were talking about the other day, I’m not too sure, you know? I’d kind of like to weigh out the options come August when the season is over and I’m back home in Florida. When I’m there, I can think, “Do I want to do another year of supercross, or do I maybe want to ride the Canadian nationals for two or three more years and just enjoy my last couple years of racing?” I don’t know. I’m 29 right now and I’ll be 30 next year, so I don’t know. It’s hard to say. I still enjoy it and I still love it, but supercross is not an easy game. There are a lot of fast dudes and at this level you really have to hang it out to be competitive in the 450 class. Like I said, there are a lot of fast guys and you just have to go for it. We’ll see what my feelings are when August comes, and we’ll make a decision then.
You’ve proven that you are still very competitive in supercross. To that end, the stakes are high in supercross and, well, it’s an interesting era that we are in, huh?
It is. And like you said, I can still go out there and compete and possibly win heat races and semis, but you really have to risk life and limb to be competitive in the 450 class. For me, if I’m not going to go out there and give it my all, or if I can’t try to fight to be in the top 10 or better, I feel like I’m just kind of cheating myself and kind of cheating the team that I’m riding for. I want to be competitive and I want to go try and fight for heat race wins and semi wins and top 10s. That’s the goal. We’ll see what happens and how it all pans out come September.
Would you rather it work out to where you can race supercross?
Oh, I would love for it work out. I feel like my supercross skills have gotten so much better over the years in the whoops and the rhythm sections. I’ve really tried to fine-tune my supercross skills and that’s something I struggled with since the beginning of my career. Ever since I started working with Michael Byrne, I feel like that really was the turning point in my supercross technique. Now as a supercross rider, I can say I’m pretty dang good at it and still good enough to be inside the top 10.