5 Minutes with... Jeff Alessi

Jeff Alessi has been trying to get out from under older brother Mike’s shadow for most of his career. In 2009, Jeff will be racing with the MCRMX team on Hondas in the Lites class. So, he’ll be on different bikes, and in different classes, from his brother. That might not stop the comparisons, but it does take the pressure of racing against his brother off of his shoulders. We talked to Jeff about his new team, and what he has going on for 2009.

  • Jeff Alessi
Racer X: You spent the summer racing at a cost to you of something like $5000 per weekend, how did that transition to this ride you have now with MCRMX?
Jeff Alessi: At Millville, after the last moto, Mike Genova and Eddie [from the MCRMX team] came up to me and they asked me if I would consider riding for their team, and I said that the bike needed to be good if they wanted me to be on the team. They said they could make a good bike, and that was that. It was early, and it didn’t really stick with me yet that this team was really coming around. Then, about two or three months ago, I got the word that there was a team building a new structure and that they would have really good bikes, and I talked to them a little bit more, then I rode the bike, and it was really good, so I decided to go racing 250Fs with them. My agent is the same agent as was doing all the work for the team, so it came together really easily. I didn’t have to deal with three or four different people; I just had to deal with my agent getting it done. It went together really smoothly. I had offers from other teams, and none of them sounded that good. I wanted a good program and good bikes, and it seemed like this team could give that to me. I signed the contract and I’ve been riding the last two months with the bike, and I’ve been really happy. Whatever I’ve needed, they haven’t taken their time getting it to me. When I needed something, it was at my door two days later. That’s all anyone can ask for. I just wanted a dependable team so that I could go out there and do my job and not be distracted.

That’s a far cry from what you were doing this last summer, isn’t it? Did that experience this past summer change the way you look at racing at all?
With the outdoors this past year, people can say what they want, but it made it less motivating to race motorcycles for me when I was doing it at my own expense, because it just wasn’t fun going every weekend and paying five grand to race a dirt bike. I had to do that twelve times. It was hard to stay motivated, but I just took it as a new start to go out there and stay focused on doing good. I did good, and it was really fun, and I had a really good time in the outdoor season in the end.

  • Alessi is excited to be back on a 250F
What led to the decision to ride a 250F this year instead of staying on the 450?
I just felt more confident on the 250F that I could really ride the thing at my full potential. I think, right now, my body still needs to mature. I need to grow up, get a little bit bigger... I just need those little things to ride a 450, whereas the 250F, I can just hold it wide-open, and if the bike gets a little out of control, I’m really confident that I can bring it back. I think the whole deal was that I wanted a new start, and I think on the 250F, I can do that. On the 450, I could go out there and race the bike for 30 minutes, but at 20 minutes, I was getting tired on the 450, and on the 250F, I’m able to put more effort and speed into the bike without getting tired. For right now, the 250F is where I need to be.

What are your goals on the 250F this year?
My goals are nothing shy of top seven this year. And honestly, that’s just one goal. I have way more goals inside that I have for myself, and I’d rather keep them to myself. My goals are a lot higher for myself than they are on the record...

{LINKS}Does having your own team like this make it harder to train with your brother, Mike?
That’s the good thing about my team: My whole team is on my program. I don’t have to go ride with the team because the team is actually riding at our track and living at my brother’s other house that’s right next to our tracks. All I have to do is come to the track and my bike’s there, ready to go. There are a lot of things about my team that I really like. I think my team does things a lot more professionally than some others. They take care of the riders the way riders should be taken care of. For example, even Michael has to take care of some things on his own, which I think is normal, but my team doesn’t make us do that, like I know Michael just turned in his paperwork for his license, and I went to do it, but when I called the AMA, I found out my team already did it. It’s things like that that make a rider’s life a lot easier.