Jeff: Pretty much just training and riding with my brother, trying to ready for this outdoor season that’s coming up. I’m really looking forward to the outdoor Nationals. I’m working as hard as I can and I know I can be really good this year.Why the move to the 250 class instead of the 125 class?
I just feel more comfortable on [the KTM 450]—kind of like the same thing Michael did last year. I rode it a lot during this year and got adapted to the bike. I never really got to ride the 250F because it was [late] production; I grew towards the 450 four-stroke and there wasn’t really enough time for me to start practicing on the 250F. It’s a great bike, but right now, I’m better on the 450.What are your expectations going into this season?
I want to get top 15. I want to finish every moto and be consistent. I want to try to do good each and every race—stay consistent and not do tenth one moto and DNF the next. I think the more experience I get, the better I’ll do every round.Last year, your brother had a tough time in the outdoor series. Do you think any of that has affected you?
No, it hasn’t really affected me. I like to look at what he did wrong and make sure I don’t do the same thing. He told me what he did wrong and what I need to do in the outdoors to keep my head on straight. So now I’m basically doing what he’s been telling me.How is your relationship with the other riders?
I don’t really know a lot of the pro racers. I know Ricky and Chad a little—I’ve talked to those guys a bit. I think they’re great racers. I think everyone in the 250 class, not to mention the 125 class, are really good people. They all want to do what Ricky, myself and all the other guys want to do; they all want to go out there and win. Those guys work really hard and I know if I want to do good this year, I need to work just as hard.
Mike Alessi spent some time in the off-season overseas racing the FIM World Championship Series in Europe. He turned out some impressive results, finishing on the podium of the MX2 class (equivalent of the AMA 125cc class). Mike talks about his time in Europe, his competition and his expectations for the coming Motocross season.DR: How was Europe?
Mike: Europe was pretty good. I was there for three weeks and had a good racing experience—I got third overall in England. I was second in the first moto and I was winning the second moto until my bike DNF’d going up the uphill… not much I could do about that. Besides that, I gained a lot of experience there. I learned a lot about riding in the sand and the riders were fast. Mike Brown was there, Cédric Melotte, and several other riders were definitely fast.How do you feel you were accepted as an American rider over there?
You get different treatment, for sure. You get all the second-rate stuff because you’re not European. In France it was hard [with the language barrier], but as long as I know how to say “bon jour,” I guess I’m all good!What do you think of the new 250F?
The new 250F is awesome. It’s fast! I’m confident I can do good in the outdoors.What are your expectations for the season?
Obviously to win the championship… but there are 39 other guys who want to win just as bad as I do. It’s not just me out there; there’s a handfull of fast guys who can win this championship. I’m just going to try my best every weekend and try and be on the box. Hopefully at the end of the season I’ll win the championship, but if not, [I'd like to be] pretty close.Who do you think’s going to be your toughest competition?
There’s not just one good guy who’s my comeptition; there’s 10! There are so many: the champions, past-champions, the top-ten guys from last year and also the rookies coming up this year. So I’d say everybody’s my competition.Last season was obviously pretty rough for you. How does it feel coming back into the series?
It feels good to be back this year. I learned a lot from that last year at Millville and Steele City and I’m ready to see what I can do this year.
The 2005 AMA Motocross Championships kick off this weekend, May 22, at the Hangtown Classic in Sacramento. Check on Dirt Rider for season long results, photos, and more interviews with the riders.