New World Superbike champion Neil Hodgson made a startling admission in the wake of being handed the prestigious title-winner's trophy - the honour simply could not compare with the emotion of his daughter's birth.

Holly Jean Hodgson was born on the Tuesday immediately prior to the weekend's double-header at Assen - incidentally the same date as one of former multiple champion Carl Fogarty's girls was born - and Hodgson admitted that he had been swept of his feet by the occasion.

"Disappointingly, winning the title is nowhere near the same," he revealed, "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."

Despite being decidedly underwhelmed by happenings in Holland - at least as far as other events in his personal life were concerned - Hodgson did admit that the title was the culmination of a lot of hard work - and setbacks - in his career.

"It means everything, it is the reward for 20 years hard work," he said, before going on to lay to rest suggestions that the crown had been devalued by the defection of key figures from recent seasons.

"I beat everyone last year except Colin [Edwards] and Troy [Bayliss], who were on factory bikes and Michelin tyres," he reasoned, "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."

Naturally, the question of whether or not he would follow Edwards and Bayliss into MotoGP arose, but Hodgson was typically coy about his future.

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

Asked how he would fare in the grand prix series - should he land a Ducati seat for 2004 - however, and the Briton was not about to be negative.

"I've learnt over the last few years that, if you never give in, anything is achievable," he explained, "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."

The full transcript of this interview is available in the Features section of Crash.Net's WSBK channel