Hangtown: Alessi debuts KTM 350 SX-F

AMA Motocross News

I love it when skeptics are silenced. Jagermeister/KTM rider Mike Alessi did just that Saturday at the Hangtown opener of the 2010 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship.

Alessi, riding the all-new KTM 350 SX-F in the vaunted 450 class, battled to a 4th place finish in the first moto after dicing with Josh Grant and Davi Millsaps.

He followed that up with an impressive holeshot in the second race that paved the way for the trademark #800 to walk away with the moto.

The total tally of points from Alessi’s 4-1 day garnered a solid second behind winner (and title defender) Chad Reed. Just 2 points separate the two after the first round.

The result was a well-earned debut for the 350cc KTM, a project championed by 10-time motocross champion and Director of KTM Racing, Stefan Everts.

Alessi has been fielding questions about the wisdom in giving up 100cc to his competitors and developing a 350cc machine to go up against the brute power of the 450s.

The concept behind KTM’s new machine is simple; the reduction in displacement and horsepower is less fatiguing to a rider, especially in the late stages of a race. The bike is easier to manage by virtue of reduced power and weight.

It’s a simple fact, a 450-due the sheer power they produce-becomes difficult to hang onto when a rider’s arms get tired. That 100cc deficit makes the KTM more manageable, especially when tired, making up for the loss of power in its ride-ability.

Alessi was able to answer the naysayers with action, putting the KTM at the front in both motos and accentuating the bike’s capabilities (and resuming his own trademark talent for getting holeshots) by getting to the first corner ahead of a throng of 450 machines.

All in all, it’s always a welcome thing when a concept that goes against convention proves itself out. Bravo to KTM and Mike Alessi.

2010 AMA Motorcross 450 Results (Moto 1 – Moto 2)
1. Chad Reed, Australia, Kawasaki (1-3)
2. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., KTM (4-1)
3. Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Honda (3-2)
4. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Honda (5-4)
5. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha (2-10)
6. Ben Townley, New Zealand, Honda (6-7)
7. Ryan Sipes, Flaherty, Ky., Yamaha (7-8)
8. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki (10-6)
9. Ken DeDycker, Belgium, Yamaha (8-11)
10. Andrew Short, Smithville, Tex., Honda (15-5)

2010 AMA Motocross 450 Championship Points | Round 1
1. Chad Reed, Australia, Kawasaki, 45
2. Mike Alessi, Victorville, Calif., KTM, 43
3. Davi Millsaps, Murrieta, Calif., Honda, 42
4. Brett Metcalfe, Australia, Honda, 34
5. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Yamaha, 33
6. Ben Townley, New Zealand, Honda, 29
7. Ryan Sipes, Flaherty, Ky., Yamaha, 27
8. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., Suzuki, 26
9. Ken DeDycker, Belgium, Yamaha, 23
10. Andrew Short, Smithville, Tex., Honda, 22