Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger has been a revelation thus far this year. Following two extremely difficult seasons in the premier class, he has found his feet and started to become a consistent threat for podiums both indoors and out. The fact that he started the 2021 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series with a 4-2 scorecard, which left him in second overall, is proof of that. One would think that a maiden 450MX podium is not too far away at this point.
The fact that he landed on the overall podium was particularly poignant for Yamaha, who won the class with Dylan Ferrandis. Having a YZ450F on two of three steps is something that they have not managed in quite some time – the drought lasted a total of 4327 days! The last time that it happened was at Washougal in 2009. Josh Grant and Jason Lawrence sat in second and third overall on that day. Who would have thought?
MX Vice: You have not had the amount of track time since moving into the 450MX class. You finished off your 250F career with a championship, but it has kind of been rough sledding since you moved up. Now, this season, it just seems like you are back to the old AP. The momentum is carrying over right from supercross and you had another great day. Assess your day for us. How does it feel to be on the podium? You are now a part of that deep field that we are always talking about.
Aaron Plessinger: Yeah, it feels great man. After the last two years, not really getting what I came for, to be battling up front for the lead and overall wins just feels good. It was a great day – it started off a little shaky in practice and then I pulled it together. I qualified ninth, then in the first moto I got like a mid-pack start. I think I was like twelfth and then, yeah, I went back and forth with Chase [Sexton] once or twice. I kind of did the same thing that he did – I just rode around a little bit and started picking off guys later on in the race.
I ended up in fourth in moto one and then grabbed the holeshot in moto two. Kenny, man… He was on a roll. I wanted to stay with him – I knew I could pace off of him. We were on a mission, for sure, and I kind of caught him a little bit late in that second moto. I made my run at him and then had a sketchy moment before the finish line. I kind of backed it down and just rode it in for second. I missed the last two years of outdoors, so I do not want to do that again. Yeah, it was a great day. Good to be back on the box. It is good.
Coming towards the end of supercross, and coming into motocross, things just looked that much better for you on the motorcycle. You looked happy. Aaron Plessinger was the guy that he used to be in the 250F class. What was the difference? Was it just that going back to Star [Racing Yamaha] was comfortable for you and like going back home?
Yeah, I think going back to Star definitely played a big part in this whole thing. They have turned the bike around – it works so good now. It is almost like riding my 250F again. It is unreal what they have done to this bike! Confidence comes with it too. Coming back this team, I knew I was going to be around guys who I know. They knew my lingo, knew what to do and how I like the bike. I think that plays hand-in-hand and just clicking off round-by-round while getting confidence in the bike and me. My fitness was getting better. Everything was just adding up! I think it is all starting to fall into place. Our starts are getting good and I think there is going to be a lot of blue up there this year.
You obviously had such a good season in supercross. You have said on a number of occasions now that the bike is a lot better, but were you automatically confident that it would transfer outdoors? Is proving it to yourself on a day like today also important?
Proving it is a little more important. I knew coming into outdoors that I was going to be up there; if not on the podium then top five or top ten. Somewhere around the top spots! I just felt really, really good the last four weeks when getting ready for outdoors. The first time I hopped on my outdoor bike, I felt really good. We did not really have to change much until we started testing a little bit closer to the national. I think my confidence for outdoors just came with doing my motos and clicking off good day after good day – just feeling as prepared as I was in 2018. I had a lot of motos under my belt back then and I have a lot of motos under my belt now.
You know, it almost surprised me in the second moto. Keeping up with Ken [Roczen] like that was gnarly. We put a pretty big gap on third place. I got really sketchy at one moment and looked back but did not really see anybody. I thought somebody would be right there! We were riding so good. I was just feeding off of him and doing some of the lines that he was doing. I had some lines of my own that were pretty good, but we were riding so good. I am stoked on it. I like outdoors more than I like supercross too – I do not know why. I have just always been like that. It is just a good start to the season, and I think it is going to be a fun year.
Interview: Press Conference | Lead Image: Align Media