This weekend in South Africa, Neil Hodgson will make his return to the premier GP class, on a d'Antin run Ducati, nine years after he rode as a privateer in the then 500cc world championship.

Last week, Hodgson joined fellow Brits Shane Byrne, Jeremy McWilliams and Chaz Davies at a special London launch to preview the upcoming MotoGP season.

During the event, held at Tottenham Court Road's Dominion Theatre and attended by, Hodgson answered questions about his return to the premier GP class, his plan for success and the differences between MotoGP and World Superbike...

Q: Neil, welcome back to MotoGP - it hasn't gone too badly has it?

Neil Hodgson: Yeah! It's gone terrible so far! No, the last test went a little bit better. The first three tests were just sort of me getting used to the bike, at least at the last test in Spain I felt like the bike wasn't such a surprise. Going down pit lane you feel like 'this is my bike' and I felt very comfortable on the bike.

But those first three tests - my god it was scary! The bike was sliding in places it shouldn't just because of the extra power and the bike being a bit lighter. It was a constant surprise, it felt like you knew what the bike would do and then it'd do something different. I think I'm over the initial scary period and now I'm into the next period, which will be equally as hard, but certainly a lot more enjoyable.

Q: I think you've got a three-year plan mapped out?

Neil Hodgson: Yeah I've got a cunning three-year plan - like every other rider! Every rider's got there own little plan. I certainly anticipate this season being a learning year. Hopefully I can get a few 'one off' good results, but I'll try to be consistent, constantly improve and try and get closer to the leaders - the time between me and the winner. And then hopefully build on that next year, and again in year three. That's the cunning plan anyway - I'll speak to you in three years to see if its worked!

Q: Is there a big difference between where you've come from (World SBK) and MotoGP?

Neil Hodgson: There's certainly a huge difference with the motorcycle, and being in Barcelona - when I got into the MotoGP paddock for the first time and saw all the (trucks) - it was a bit of a shock to the system.

I remember testing at Valencia for World Superbikes pre-season and it looked like club race meeting - I don't mean that disrespectfully to World Superbikes - but that is the difference. You can see the money that's involved in MotoGP.

The sheer professionalism is mind blowing. I see a huge change from '95 when I did the old fashioned 500 GPs - its really stepped up and gone in the right direction. I'm proud now to be a MotoGP rider.



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