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GP Week : Issue 161
about any throttle. So – completely off, and that first one percent you want something. My throttle would get to about ten percent, it felt like, before anything would come in. Then it would come in – bam. So, connection? I’m pretty good in the rain most of the time. Today you can see I am about six seconds off the pace. You could have gone back to World Superbikes. Are you sorry you didn’t? No. Been there, done that. I wanted to build something. I like to develop and play around, with engineers. That’s what I was looking for ward to, really. So what went wrong? Did you start from the wrong place? Yep. We didn’t start in left field. We started on the other side of the parking lot, and we’re still trying to find our way into the field. What is it actually like to ride? It’s like a raging bull with a headache, with poison ivy up its ass. I call it The Beast. You’re not the only highly experienced former champion having problems. What do you make of Valentino’s struggle? I wish I knew. You look at the bikes he’s been on over the years, and it’s a different animal. You look at how Casey rode it. Casey used to scare the shit out of me, watching the race after the fact. Jeeeezus. What I would think of as getting away with murder, but I don’t ride like that. I ride more smooth. If you see me out of control I am usually going slower. Valentino’s definitely struggling. It’s a bummer. You don’t think – I shudder to say this – that it’s a young man’s sport? Any time you’re talking about putting your balls on the line, putting your life in somebody else’s hands that’s punching numbers on the keyboard or putting brakes on for you, putting stuff together for you to go out there and launch yourself into the tyre fence, for sure a younger man is going to have less fear. The more age you get and the more times you’ve hit the ground, and that effing hurts ... you crash, you get up, brush yourself off and you go again. But – yeah, I would agree with that. It’s fire in the belly versus wisdom and experience. Yeah. Wisdom and experience is good for what I’m doing, to develop something. If you’re young and dumb and full of piss and vinegar, we’d go through a lot of bodywork and buy a lot of front forks, and not go any further for ward. Probably less. Were you surprised by Casey deciding to quit? Yeah! I’m 38 and obviously getting towards the end of my career, but if you told me I could race for ten more years I’d damn sure try. I love it, I love riding motorcycles, I like pushing my own limits. It’s a long time to do nothing. Fishing – I love it. My family – I love them. But if I was to be home 24 hours a day seven days a week I probably wouldn’t have a family. My wife wouldn’t stay around. My plan from the beginning was to retire at 32. But I got there and thought: this is too much fun. So, how much longer? Will you race into your forties? I don’t know. If they keep wanting to pay me to ride motorcycles ... I’m having a good time. I don’t know how you would say no. 19 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: