Q&A: Neil Hodgson.

Just hours after stepping off the Assen podium with the 2003 World Superbike Championship trophy in his hands, Ducati Fila's Neil Hodgson faced up to the usual barrage of questions.

What did it feel like to be champion? Where was he going for 2004? How much did the technical package help? How great was the influence of a return to the BSB?

It's all here....

What does the title mean for you?

Neil Hodgson:
It means everything, the reward for 20 years hard work.

Many people say that, with the loss of the factory teams and top riders, the championship had become devalued - do you see it that way?

No, I beat everyone last year except Colin and Troy, who were on factory bikes and Michelin tyres. I was very close to beating them on many occasions as well, so I believed that I was going to be champion whoever I rode against this year, particularly if I was on the best bike and best tyres - which I was.

What is the future of the world superbike championship?

I feel that, when the championship needed a boost, it has taken a step down again and it can't really afford that.

It was a formality, but you still had to win the title - did you have any moments during the year when you lost concentration as your lead was so great?

Everything went absolutely perfect until Misano, where I lost 30 points in one weekend. And it changed my mentality. I rode defensively instead of attacking everything, which is a shame. But, there again, you win a championship with consistency.

Were you bothered by the fact that you didn't win the first race at Assen?

Yes, very much. But all I can say is I tried my best and I was so tense on the bike. My body was like a piece of iron and I was riding so bad.

Are you going to MotoGP next year?

It looks like it's going to happen, but anything can happen, and it's not 100 per cent.

How do you think you will go in MotoGP?

I've learnt over the last few years that, if you never give in, anything is achievable. I didn't think, four years ago, that I would become World Superbike champion. I'm not going to say I will be world champion [in MotoGP], but I will say that I will hopefully go to MotoGP and ride every lap of every race and give 100 per cent.

Will it be a problem for you to go to MotoGP or will it give you satisfaction?

To be honest, I would be happy to stay in World Superbikes, but the 'old' World Superbikes, because I've raced it now for many years. I understand Ducati, the circuits, the people, so my goal would be to win more championships than 'Foggy'. But the decision has been made for me really because I have to ride against the best competition.

It looks as if you won't be riding for the full factory team - will this be a problem for you?


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Neil Hodgson celebrates his WSBK title triumph at Assen
Ducati garage, WSBK Test Jerez 26-27th Jan 2015
Ducati test rider on 1299, WSBK Test Jerez 26-27th Jan 2015
Ducati, airbox and forks, WSBK Test Jerez 26-27th Jan 2015
Ducati 1199 engine, WSBK Test Jerez 26-27th Jan 2015
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Chaz Davies - Ducati SBK
Aruba to be title sponsor of Ducati WSBK team
Nico Terol - Althea Ducati
Ducati 3C Racing
Ducati garage, Jerez WSBK 2014
Ducati engine. WSBK Misano 2014
Ducati garage, Donington WSBK 2014
Ducati exhaust, Donington WSBK 2014
Ducati exhaust, Donington WSBK 2014
Ducati, Donington WSBK 2014
Chaz Davies - Ducati SBK [pic credit: David Salisbury]
Niccolo Canepa - Althea Ducati [pic credit: David Salisbury]

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