WSBK »

Q&A: Neil Hodgson.

No. I don't think so, because the Ducati looks very strong this year and that would eventually be the bike I'm riding. There will surely be less pressure than being in the factory team. And there is a goal - if I succeed, then it will be a perfect step into the factory team.

Q:
This has been the first season that Ducati has not done much pre-season testing - how hard has that been?

NH:
It's not been too easy but, in a way, it's been good for me as a rider because it's made me work really hard every weekend at tracks. I can't waste a lap - every lap, I've got to be on it to get the best information from the bike to get the handling better. It's a sensitive bike and I can only compare it to last year's bike, which had six or seven years development and did everything you wanted. On the 999, the parameters are wider, the bike is unbelievably fast and is so good. This will be good for me if I do go to MotoGP next year, because the bikes are more sensitive.

Q:
Did you think you would be sitting here today if you hadn't gone back to British superbikes and toughened up?

NH:
No, what could have happened was that, if I had got a ride in 1999 in WSBK, things might have been different. I would probably have got spat out after three or four years for being too old. I got spat out at 25 and won the [British] championship when I was 26, so I still had a few more years left in me.

I've got to thank GSE Racing immensely, they were the right team at the right time and I've got to thank Darryl Healey, who gave me this opportunity. I was lucky to win the championship with them, and be with a team that wanted to go to the next level, and win the world championship. He's like a member of the family now, but it's a shame I didn't win it for him. GSE built the foundations around me and Fila Ducati built the house!

Q:
Do you think that your Michelins made all the difference, even though they didn't do a lot of development work?

NH:
People think they didn't do as much development work, but I did three tests with Michelin and they turned up with 20 new tyres just because I didn't like the feeling at the front [of the bike]. They couldn't have worked much harder - they must have produced sixty tyres for me to test, which I'd never experienced before. They didn't really have to because I was leading the championship and going well. They realised I had a problem and so they worked hard. At the start of the season, I was nervous about doing the transition from Dunlop to Michelin, but I took to them like a duck to water. They are the best tyres I have ever used.

Q:
How does this compare to becoming a father on Tuesday?

NH:
Disappointingly, it's nowhere near! Being a dad was so much better. I am actually not that fond of babies, and I was dreading Tuesday, but the bizarre feeling I had when Kathryn gave birth.... nothing comes close to that - not even winning that second race and becoming world champion, I'm sorry to say! On a scale of 1-10, ten was Tuesday and one was today - and I genuinely mean that.

Q:
Is it right that you have bought a Porsche that you will drive only now that you have won the championship?

NH:
Yes, it's true. When I was a child, I had a little Porsche car and it was my dream. I went through school and wasn't very intelligent and didn't pass many exams, then I left school and I was a builder and I didn't think I'd ever own one. But I said that, if I can achieve my goal of winning the world championship, then I will buy myself a Porsche 911 Turbo. When I get back to the Isle of Man, I'll go and collect it.

Q:
What was it like out there with 30,000 Union Jacks and British fans?

NH:
Absolutely mega! It's something I've dreamed of since being in Carl Fogarty's huge shadow. I've seen that and wanted it to be for me - and now I've come here today and it's there. Not everyone is a Hodgson fan out there, but it means the world to me and is very special.

Q:
What did Carl Fogarty say to you on the grid ahead of race two?

NH:
He was actually very nice and congratulated me. Normally, he says something sarcastic but he said 'now you'll go a lot better! I could tell you were tense, but I know you'll do well in this race'. Then he was talking about Holly Jean being born on Tuesday - on the 2 September, because that's when his first child Danielle was born. It's quite a coincidence really - two world champions, both left-handers, both from ten miles apart, both started at the same schoolboy motocross club - very bizarre.

Q:
Next year, what will the World Superbike Championship be like, with regard to the change in regulations?

NH:
It's difficult to comment because I don't know what factory support there will be for the other manufacturers. I hope the factory-supported teams will be successful and that World Superbikes continues to be strong. It hurts me to think that it will continue to go down.

Q:
It must be a strange feeling for you coming from 500 and going to GPs again after all these years?

NH:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Neil Hodgson celebrates his WSBK title triumph at Assen
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]
Chaz Davies - Ducati SBK [pic credit: David Salisbury]
Davide Giugliano - Ducati SBK [pic credit: David Salisbury]
Ducati Super Bike Teami, Donington WSBK 2014
Davide Giugliano - Ducati WSBK [pic credit: Gavan Caldwell]
Davide Giugliano - Ducati WSBK [pic credit: Gavan Caldwell]
Ducati classic, Imola WSBK 2014
Ducati Super Bike Team, Dutch WSBK 2014

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.