MONZA, 7 May, 2006
Q. On behalf of Akrapovic exhaust system
technology, we would like to welcome you among those riders who are
using our systems. I guess this is not the first time you are using our
exhausts? Could you give us some general impressions about our exhaust
systems and where you see Akrapovic’s main advantages?
A. Thank you for a warm welcome. But I’m not
new to your camp. I remember I was using Akrapovic exhaust systems in
2001, when I was racing at 8 Hours of Suzuka with Honda. The result was
fine – 2nd place. Well, I can’t tell you much from a technical point of
view, but my impression is that Akrapovic exhausts contribute to better
engine performance and power delivery. The engine runs smooth and
provides me a great deal of fun. Their sound is fantastic and they look
Q. As a racer you have been involved in
motorcycle racing from 2-stroke engines all the way to MotoGP and
Superbike machines. If you now look back and compare them, what would
you like to point out, especially if you compare MotoGP and Superbike
machines? Is a different riding style and technique needed?
A. Yes, but not too much. As a racer I always
just wanted to be fast – if possible even the fastest out there. You
have to consider the fact that in Superbike we ride bikes you could buy
in your local motorcycle shop, unlike the bikes in MotoGP, which are
prototype machines. And I am using different tires this year, compared
to my MotoGP era. All that contributes to my riding style, but as I
said, not too much.
Q. What are your impressions of the Superbike
scene and the philosophy of the championship in general (racing on tuned
road bikes one could buy)?
A. I think it’s great! First of all for the
crowd. The spectators can see the same machines they ride themselves,
competing with each other around the tracks. They can compare them as
they are speeding down the straight or going sharp into the corners. And
they have similar bikes standing in their garages! For that reason this
is a great championship also for the manufacturers. You know: win on
Sunday, sell on Monday. I think this championship has a strong future,
for the exact reasons I mentioned.
Q. I guess you still have high hopes and plans
for the championship. What is your aim at this point of the season?
Some predictions say that you will be in the fight for the title.
A. For sure my aim is to be among the best
riders on the end of this year’s championship. I’ll try to fight even
for the title in this year’s competition. We have pretty good material
and I think we are competitive enough to be able to achieve that aim. I
guess that would give me another boost to continue my career in the
World Superbike Championship.
Q. And finally your plans for the future: are you
planning to stay in the World Superbike camp, or do you have plans to
go back to MotoGP – or maybe something else?
A. For the time being, my plans and near future are tied around World Superbike.