Mike Alessi is a catch for the MotoConcepts team. He is a bonafide top five AMA National rider?a something that MotoConcepts hasn’t had before.
MotoConcepts is one of three American motocross teams that could rightly be called a “vanity team.” What is a vanity team? It is a team that is owned by a millionaire, who is basically spending his money to fulfill a personal dream. The other two significant vanity teams are Valli Motorsports and L&M Racing.
There are many different types of race teams?all designed to get riders on the track and achieve a stated goal. Vanity teams differ from factory teams (which are formed to sell motorcycles and are represented currently by Honda, KTM and Kawasaki), satellite teams (which are supported by the factory and outside sponsors?like Pro Circuit Kawasaki, Yoshimura Suzuki, Geico Honda and Joe Gibbs Yamaha), privateer teams (which are funded by aggregate sponsorship from a variety of sources) and private-funded teams (which are built solely to support a single rider like Chad Reed, Nick Wey or Jason Lawrence). It takes a lot of creativity to get the millions of dollars it takes to keep the circus moving.
MIKE ALESSI’S BOAT
Mike Alessi found himself in the same boat this year as Chad Reed did last year?with no place to go. Not because Mike isn’t talented, but because his unique blend of skill, personality and entourage wasn’t in demand for 2012. After leaving Team KTM last month, Mike was on the verge of going the Chad Reed route for 2012. He was going to form his own Alessi Racing team and fund his own team.
As luck would have it, MotoConcepts was also on the cusp of its racing life. Although a viable team?with support from Yamaha and funding from a millionaire, they had nothing to show for the money they had spent. In fact, during the 2011 season, they missed events (because of rider injuries), manned their team with fill-in riders and their team manager was left with little to do beside troll the internet and machine gun out tweets daily, hourly and by the minute. It was, as one of the other millionaire team managers once said, “like putting $3,000,000 in a pile and lighting it on fire.”
The solution for Moto Concepts? Get out of the game or up their game. For 2012, MotoConcepts will unify its team with Mike Alessi’s fledgling team?in an attempt to be relevant. It could work. It gives a vagabond team a chance at a potential top five rider?and maybe even an outdoor victory. That is a chance they haven’t had in the past.
MotoConcepts owner Mike Genova said, “Unquestionably, Mike Alessi brings an increased level of attention to our team. The interest and chatter from the media and fans since the rumors started are greater than we could have anticipated. Furthermore, I believe in Mike and Tony Alessi, I think their work ethic and commitment is second to none and they are the most genuine people I know.”
As for the 2012 season, Mike Alessi will race a Suzuki RM-Z450 in the 2012 AMA Supercross and National series. No word on any other MotoConcepts riders, although they had announced a few weeks ago that they were hiring Jake Canada for 2012.
As for team manager David Vuillemin?he quit (which he tweeted immediately).