Although he finished 12th in the main event, coming from behind after hitting the gate off the start, Mike Alessi turned in a performance in his heat race that he called one of the highlights of his career. The MotoConcepts Suzuki rider grabbed the holeshot and led from start to finish, beating out Ryan Villopoto in the process. The win was a very emotional one for Alessi, as well.
“What can I say about the heat race, it was magical, just a feeling you can only experience by winning,” said Alessi. “It’s been a long time since I won and I can’t thank my team enough.”
Alessi feels he is coming into the 2014 season in better shape in ever, thanks to the help of Michael Byrne, who is working with Alessi with training, diet and bike setup.
“Michael has been so supportive and he’s helped me a lot,” said Alessi. “He’s been a huge part of my success this year, just being there for me and helping me with pretty much everything, and just a great friend. Even Chad Reed has been helpful.”
Alessi changed things up a bit during the off-season, in an effort to keep from burning himself out too early coming into the season.
“Believe it or not, I didn’t ride any Supercross until November, and I think that kind of helped me out,” said Alessi. “I did a couple of off-season races in North Carolina which was really good for me, because it kind of took me back to the perspective amateur racing. I was able to go out and race and still have fun, and I thoroughly enjoyed that; it was good for me. So I started racing Supercross in November and then December was mostly testing suspension, so I kind of came in fresh into Supercross, which was good for me.”
Even though he was out of the top 10, Alessi came away from A1 with a lot of positives.
“As far as the night, there were not many negatives,” said Alessi. “I tried to pull the trigger on the start and I hit the gate and I was last off the gate. But I felt sharp tonight, even in practice, and in the heat race, and I think that’s where the racing I didn’t in September and October came into play. When the gate dropped in the heat, I just rode as hard as I could and tried not to look back. I just wanted to win and when that white flag came out I thought, ‘there’s no way anyone is getting by me.’”