Behind every legendary rider, there is a legendary team and Alex Briggs is part of such a legendary team. In fact, as Valentino Rossi’s mechanic, he is one of the most essential parts of Team Movistar Yamaha.
We sat down with Alex between races at MotoGP Catalunya to find out a bit more about the man behind VR46’s bike.
How many people do you work with in your team?
I am part of the core group of eight that work at the track. This consists of four mechanics of which I am one. Our chief mechanic Sivano, Matteo is our data man, our Japanese technical engineer Ohishi and Mark our Ohlins Suspension man. But there are many more that help to get the bike ready for the grid on Sunday.
How did you become Valentino’s mechanic?
I started working with Mick Doohan at HRC in 1994 and when Mick stopped racing, a young Valentino swung his leg over the bike back in 2000 and we have worked together ever since. The real long story is on my website.
Aside from your team members, your equipment is most important, I guess. How much equipment does the team usually travel with?
This is not an easy answer. In Europe, the whole show is so big. We have five semitrailers just for our hospitality. Then we have four trucks for the racing team. But when we fly away to races such as Qatar, Malaysia etc. we have about 45 large boxes that include the bikes and almost enough spare parts to build another five or six bikes.
Did any equipment ever get lost en route to a race? If so, what was plan B?
The shipping company that do all the freight for all the teams is great. We sometimes have something delayed but I don’t think I can remember anything ever being lost! Plan B is PANIC!
What’s your must have tool that you can’t work without?
For a motorcycle mechanic, it’s T-bars. And for me it's the 10mm T bar. I also love my tie wire pliers.
How many days a year are you ‘on the job’?
This is never the same each year. It also increases almost every year. When I started in 1993 we had 13 GPs, now it's at 19.
But back to the question: At the moment it's around 250 days a year. Also living in Australia, I spend around 550 hours traveling in airplanes. That's around 20 days!
Going back in time, what’s been the most challenging moment for you and your team working with Valentino?
I think the two years at Ducati have been the most challenging so far. It was never dull and always interesting but it was never easy.
What is the most pleasant race, work aside, for you?
My favourite race is or always was Laguna Seca in the USA. But from the tracks we go to now, it’s Mugello. Mugello is fantastic in every way.
What fascinates you most about your job?
I think it's probably Valentino and his never ending will to push and his desire to win.