This Wednesday will mark race day in Salt Lake City, Utah for the sixth consecutive time. And Aaron Plessinger will be present front and center as part of the Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing Team that will try and make a run at victory inside the Utah Utes NCAA college football venue.
Aaron Plessinger’s 2020 race season has not been bad, but it has not exactly lit up the klieg lights, either. Hovering in and out of the top 10 and top 15 during the season’s first 15 races – pre and post COVID-19 – Plessinger is looking to Wednesday’s Salt Lake round to make a run at a top five, if not a podium finish.
Q: Going back to the very first Salt Lake City race run on May 31, you’ve raced to 12-12-11-9 main event finishes. What do you make of racing inside the same stadium? Wednesday evening will mark six straight races here at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
AARON PLESSINGER: Yeah, it’s definitely weird not switching stadiums and just being in the same venue for so long, but it’s kind of cool, actually. I don’t know. I guess I’ve gotten acquainted with the stadium. I will say it’s really weird without fans, man. It’s definitely odd. You can hear everyone talking down on the floor, especially when we’re getting ready to start our bikes up – you can hear a pin drop out there. It’s pretty wild. It was awkward at first, and we’ve finally gotten used to it. But it’s definitely weird. You can yell inside the stadium and hear yourself echo. It’s odd and definitely a new experience, for sure.
Q: When taking a quick look back to the 2020 season-opening Angel Stadium round up to this Wednesday’s round in Salt Lake City, what do you make of your racing season thus far?
AP: With my season, I was starting to get going, I guess. Things were starting to come around for me a little bit. I was pretty bummed when Indianapolis got cancelled because that was my home race and I think I was about to get a podium there, man. I was really excited. I had just got off a good week and I was super-bummed when the cancelled it. So far, I would like to do better, as we all do, but I have to take the positives out of every race and just go with it, and just build off what I’ve been doing. I just have to remind myself every time that I can be up front, and really put that into my head. These 450 riders are unreal riders out here. It’s no joke in the 450 class. It’s a struggle, at times. I’m not going to lie. I’ve been keeping it fun and keeping it light, and I think that’s what’s been helping me come back happy at every race and keeps a smile on my face. You know, I definitely know I can do better than what I have been doing, it’s just a matter of getting off the line and pushing myself to get up to the front.
Q: You’re a champion. You’ve won very big races. Maybe the stars just need to line up?
AP: Yeah, for sure. It’s just a matter of putting everything together and keeping it there for 20 minutes plus a lap. Yeah, it’s pretty stressful at times when you don’t do as good as you think you’re going to do, but that’s what keeps us coming back. It’s kind of like golf, when you don’t do as good as you think you’re going to do, but you know you can do better. All that keeps you always coming back.
Q: You guys live and die on your results.
AP: Yeah, for sure. And as they say, you’re only as good as your last finish. It’s tough when you don’t perform like you want to.
Q: What can you achieve over the rest of the summer?
AP: I mean, finishing off supercross, I know I can top-five. That’s a no-brainer. I’ve been there before and I’ve done it before. It’s just a matter of getting that start and getting it up top. And for outdoors, I’m shooting for the stars. I want to get podiums and I want to get a win. I really love outdoors, and I think it’s going to bring me and the team some good. And I think the fans will be there. That pumps me up, because as you know, I am definitely a fan person. I love my fans. I’m really, really, really excited for that.
Q: What does the future hold for you?
AP: I’d like to be up battling for the championship, you know? It’s a tough class, but I know I can do it. I’ve been there before and I’ve won championships in the past. I know I can get there. It’s just a matter of getting the stars to align and us getting the bike to where it can holeshot and me getting myself to where I can stay up front. In the next few years I’d like to be close, if not win a 450 championship.