If I asked you what you've put as your occupation in your passport these days, what would you say?

Mick Doohan:
I don't think we have that field in an Australian passport, but if we did, you can take your pick, though I think that the best description of what I do these days is 'investor'. I've got assets like an aircraft group but I'd say that investment is our main business and that goes across a number of fields.
Do you find that the kind of qualities which made you such a successful motorcycle racer also help in your business life?

Mick Doohan:
Without a doubt. Having that determination, commitment and attitude are important to do anything well and I have to say that I enjoy what I do. I retired from motor sport in 1999 and this is a whole new life.
Did you find retirement a hard adjustment to make?

Mick Doohan:
No not really. I stopped racing through injury so perhaps that made it easier to accept. I also stayed with Honda for numerous years doing various things so it wasn't just a total switch off.

I always totally accepted that motor sport would have to come to an end one day and I was prepared for that even though it finished quite abruptly. It wasn't as if I could just park up the bike, get off it and walk away to live happily ever after. But nonetheless I accepted it and that's the way it goes. I've got no regrets whatsoever in that I knew I would have to exit the sport and achieved a lot while I was there.

In a way it might have been the best way to leave because my injury meant that I was unable to be definite about any commitment for quite a few years and by that time I could the decision was taken out of my hands and I was off doing other things.

Everyone's different and there's never an easy way to retire from a sport that's such a large part of your life. There were years in my early retirement when I felt that I could or should come back but then you reflect and think and find that you're quite happy doing other things. There are plenty of people who regret stopping but I don't, but that doesn't mean that I haven't missed it from time to time.

I'm 14 years out of racing now and I don't sit around dwelling on what it would be like to go back, but that hasn't stopped me keeping a couple of my world championship bikes.
Some of your injuries were very severe, have you now recovered fully from them?

Mick Doohan:
In general, yes absolutely. I did have some bad ones and the one which I retired from was particularly grievous and took quite a lot of time to get over. The only injury which has given me any permanent affect was the 1992 one where I almost lost my right leg and that has resulted in a fused right ankle.
Now that you no longer have a formal arrangement with Honda, what connection do you keep with the racing world?

Mick Doohan:
I don't have much to do with the racing world at all nowadays to be honest. I just do little bits and pieces like for example I'll be going to Motegi this year for Honda to do some promotional work in October and I'm also involved with the Australian MotoGP but that's probably all I'll be doing this year. I don't think that there are that many roles in the industry that I could add too much value to.

Also, being on this side of the globe there really isn't that much opportunity to be involved. I do watch it on television though and still very much enjoy it.
Did you find the traveling aspect of racing hard the way some Aussie racers do?

Mick Doohan:
I didn't actually live in Australia when I was racing and only moved back here six or seven years ago so that was never such a big problem for me. Living in Europe meant that travel was never a big issue. I didn't find the traveling lifestyle unpleasant anyway, in fact I really enjoyed it and that may have reflected in my results!

Now that I'm here though I can't really afford the time to travel long distances just to attend a race. If there's something happening or I'm close to the area then I'll drop in but it's not something I make a habit of. Television coverage is also great now so the imperative isn't there.
I believe that Jeremy Burgess once said comparing you with Valentino Rossi that Valentino enjoyed the racing but that you enjoyed the winning, would you agree with that?

Mick Doohan:
I don't know about that, let's face it; you've got to race to win, I think it's all part and parcel of the same thing. I was racing since I was a kid and you don't keep doing it if you're not enjoying it. I don't know if it makes a big difference anyway because we've both won a few titles, and I'm pretty sure that Valentino enjoyed the winning a little bit too.
When Valentino was starting out, your name was often mentioned in association with his. Was there any link?

Mick Doohan:
We were actually going to be team-mates if I could have made it back in 2000 but that never came to fruition so Valentino ended up with my entire race team. He then got the Azzurro sponsorship and it became a separate team. We were originally going to have different sponsorship for a two rider team which I had been speaking to him about but it was then all taken over by Honda and I was contracted to become general manager of racing for them.

The people I'd been working with including Jeremy Burgess had been with me for a long, long time and we'd put together a great winning team which Valentino inherited. I still see many of them now. I saw Jeremy a few weeks ago and Dick Smart works for me now in the aviation group. I believe that many of that team are still with Valentino today.
Do you sympathise with Valentino's decision to change his crew chief?

Mick Doohan:
Honestly I'm not really close enough to him to be able to make a valid comment on that but he's certainly having a rejuvenated year as far as results go and he seems to be really enjoying riding the bike. I guess that if that was what was necessary to respark his interest then good on him.
Do you feel the championship lost something when it moved to four strokes?

Mick Doohan:
Not really, no. Qualifying now is actually a lot closer than it was even towards the end of my career so that's an improvement. Also as my career progressed the two strokes became far easier to ride and that closed the grid up as well.

When it comes down to the race there are still only two or three guys who can run at the front then and now so I don't really think it's changed when it comes down to competition. I think the same guys would be winning whether they were riding two strokes or four strokes.

The sport's a changing thing anyway and you can't really let it stagnate on old technology. The way Rossi, Lorenzo and Marquez are riding is impressive regardless of the bike.
Have you ever tried one of the modern MotoGP machines?

Mick Doohan:
I did a couple of demonstration laps on Casey Stoner's machine but that's about as close as I've come to riding a modern day bike. Speed wise, although I felt I was going quite quick I think I was about 10 seconds off the pace so you can't get a proper impression of the bike.

It felt like a hugely powerful race bike but at that speed any bike feels reasonably friendly to ride, I'd need to get to within a couple of tenths of the top guys to get a valid impression so I can't really comment on what it's like to ride one of those in anger.
Talking of Casey Stoner, did you sympathise with his reasons for retiring?

Mick Doohan:
I know Casey but I don't fully understand why he retired because I haven't been through it with him, but if he felt it was time then good luck to him. He's in his second year of retirement though so if he was thinking of coming back then now's the time to do it.
If he's happy then I'm happy for him.
Don't you feel that with the relative lack of electronics in the older bikes meant that the rider could make a bigger difference?

Mick Doohan:
I don't entirely agree. Marquez could ride anything whether it had electronics or not. There might be a difference with how easy it is to get to grips with a new bike but once you've built up the familiarity and confidence there wouldn't be much difference. It's how the top guys work regarding understanding a bike that makes the difference not the electronic level.

With electronics, some riders want them and some don't but the manufacturers certainly do so it's just something we've got to live with. I don't think that the top riders would be much worse without them anyway. It's the also ran riders that might have a bit more difficulty without them.

When it comes to competition I think without electronics qualifying would become more spread out and so would the race.

A good amount of why manufacturers are so keen on electronics is also just to keep the riders safe, they don't want to be in the business of injuring riders.
What's your assessment of Marc Marquez, would you say he's the latest in a long line of hotshots or would you say that he's historically special?

Mick Doohan:
He's certainly historically special but at the same time is the latest of the hotshots. Statistics speak for themselves though and he's having a bit of a unique run and dominating in spectacular form. For someone to be dominating incredible riders like Lorenzo and his team-mate Pedrosa and setting records that's got to be special.

When I was racing and perhaps claiming a few records myself, that wasn't the main thing on my mind. I was just focused on the race and championship but when I see Marquez on his way to beating them it's exciting to see. I think he's equalled the winning streak of ten that I had and it would have been great to see him beat it because that would have been good for the sport. It's great that riders like Marquez, by setting and beating records get people talking about the sport and that can't be a bad thing.
Talking about hotshots, do you think Jack Miller's potential move from Moto3 straight to MotoGP is a good idea?

Mick Doohan:
I met him at the MotoGP race and he looks pretty good. I don't think a move straight to MotoGP is such a big problem but I believe it's only a rumour at the moment anyway.
He can certainly ride a motorcycle and that should carry over well to the bigger bike, once he gets used to the extra speed he should be fine and I don't think that should take him too long.

Honestly the biggest hurdle would be to do it with the right team. If you've got the right team with the right information and the right team members then anything's possible. He really needs to move up with some kind of factory team because they'll have the information he needs when he starts out. The important thing is that he's got the talent necessary.
And another young Australian getting into racing is your son Jack, right?

Mick Doohan:
He is but he's racing karts. He's tried dirt bikes but I think he enjoys the karts more. He seems to be really enjoying it. He's going quite well and he's leading the Australian series for his age group, there's no career plan yet though, he's just having fun.

As a father, it doesn't worry me so much but you can't help getting a little nervous about your son's safety but I think it's a great thing for him to learn. He's learning a lot about car control which might contribute towards his safety on the road. I think sport whether it be motor sport or any other type is really good for you because it builds the character and can help you deal with all sorts of situations in life.

I try to give him advice but he's got to stage where if his father is telling him what to do he's as likely to do the opposite.

My daughter grew up riding bikes and messing about on the beach as well now she's got into different sports though so I don't think we'll be seeing her on track.
So why do you think there isn't a top female rider?

Mick Doohan:
Honestly I don't really know. There is the physical aspect of it where a fair degree of strength is necessary to manhandle the bike but with the right training I don't see why a female shouldn't compete.

It is mentally quite tough though. It would be really difficult to have the mental strength to push through in a male dominated world. Possibly a woman might give up on it after being pushed around so much. One of these days it might happen because we've seen plenty get good results but none have got on the top steps of the podium yet.
Apparently you had Angelina Jolie come over and house sit for you recently where she could use you private kart track, can I just let you know that if you need any house sitting in the future that I'm available?

Mick Doohan:
(Laughs) No problems, I'll bear that in mind.
Thanks Mick.

Mick Doohan:
No worries.



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