There is talk next year of there being three races in the United States with Laguna, Indy and a race down in Texas. What does it mean to you as an American to see the growth of this sport compared to say when you first came in the World Championship in 2003, there were no American rounds? Laguna didn't come back until 2005, and now 11 years later, there might be three. Talk about the growth of MotoGP in America.
You know, this might now be the most politically correct answer to your question but honestly, I think it awesome. The merrier, the more I get to hang around my house and my family and do what I love to do. That is awesome and the scary part of that question is the growth part. Are we growing? Yes, we are, but I am not sure that we are selling a lot more motorcycles than we were 10 or 15 years ago or if we are even selling them at all. But the reality is when we were at Mugello, the decline in attendance and I know that no one has any money to buy a ticket. But at the end of the day, that is Rossi's home track, and it is normally nuts, and this year kind of scared me, to be honest with you. I was like, 'Where did everybody go?' I would much rather see Mugello wide open just because that is the heart of MotoGP racing, and that was just scary to me to see that and I don't know why. I don't know if it is economy or whatever.
The question about three races in America reminded me of something. Mugello Saturday in the press conference, we had five Spaniards the front row of the MotoGP and the two pole sitters in Moto 3 and Moto2. And things are not looking very hopeful to follow you and Nicky and Ben, maybe in MotoGP. Where do you see the next great American road racer coming from?
That is a good question. Give me 10 years because I am training my boy right now. Man, I don't know. I know that we have little Joe Roberts from Houston, great kid. We have some young kids around that are running local, Dustin Dominguez. I don't know; I just don't know. I was just talking to Jorge this morning and Cardus, and they were talking about a little training camp that they have in Spain, that Jorge's dad has, and they have 5- and 6-year-old kids on pocket bikes running full schools. It's that Tiger Woods routine, and that is starting them on a bike as soon as they can walk and roll with it. I know that we have that here; that is what I did. But I am not sure how many kids are getting that opportunity at 3 or 4 years old to get out and do what they want to do, which is go ride.
To me, the problem seems to be not so much the talent but the clearly faster Americans out there. There was a whole host of them that came over, but they seem to have all gone home and are racing Supersport or the Daytona Sport in the AMA. How do we keep Americans in the series? Do you have any ideas?
You can ask Nicky on this and don't quote me, but for the first time that I remember he was in the right place at the right time and had the right passport. Obviously he is doing a great job for Ducati, but there was talk about maybe Cal or keeping Valentino. But this is Ducati's biggest market, and they need an American rider, and you don't ever hear that usually. It is normally we need to have a Spanish rider and a Japanese rider on the bike. He had the right passport in this game, and it was a good play for him to have an American passport.