Ducati tried everything, and Valentino Rossi gave a lot of effort. It was impressive to see how he stayed motivated. We weren’t always on the same page with little things, but as far as the big stuff, we had a lot of similar comments. That was a good thing, especially for me, because it was clear he was number one.
Valentino didn’t take the easy way out going back to Yamaha; he’s got a lot of pressure on him. It’s not going to be easy. Jorge Lorenzo hasn’t gotten any slower since the last time they were teammates, but Valentino doesn’t seem scared of the challenge.
I’m not into making predictions. I’ve been really competitive with Valentino for the past two years, so I’m anxious to see how he does.
Ducati really has tried. They’ve rolled out new bikes, big changes, stuff that was unheard of last year. If anything, we’ve tried too many new parts. Everybody’s done as much as they could. We just haven’t done enough.
Yeah, we have some understeer.
We’ve never talked about the angle of the Vee, but with the aluminum chassis, marketing went out the window. Once Rossi came to Ducati, it was “get results”—do whatever it takes.
I couldn’t even match Casey Stoner in 2009. Coming from Honda, I had a little experience, and we made a bike that more people could ride more easily. By 2010, okay, Casey beat me a lot, but there were times when I was in front of him. As the bike got better, it didn’t help him as much as it helped me.
I’m not sure how to describe my “style.” I wouldn’t say, “Now, I’m a 250 style or whatever.” I feel like when I need to be able to steer with the rear, I can. I would certainly say I’ve smoothed out.
Compared to the 800, the 1000 is a nicer engine—especially off the bottom. When we went to 800s, they didn’t have enough power to spin the tire. Casey was still running the “screamer” and could still do it. Now, we’re back to where guys are steering with the rear to get the bike to turn.
When you’re following the Yamaha, you can’t see when they open the gas. With everybody else, you can see the weight transfer.
We’ve had more chatter this year. It seems to affect the Honda guys more—sometimes, they act like they can’t even ride. More or less, we can tune it out, make it manageable. With this new Bridgestone front tire, when Honda got more chatter, we got less.
I would not ride a CRT. I don’t really race for money, but you’re going to have to pay a good rider to ride one of those things. They’re breaking, they’re slow. The best you’re going to do is 12th and hope some guys crash? No way.
I’m not convinced CRTs are the future. I’d rather it be 21 full-factory prototypes. Two podiums? If I’m honest, I don’t love it. Some of the teams are saying they’re not going to finish the season. If a rider came in with enough money, he could probably get on any one of those CRT bikes.
Sometimes, you feel like you’ve put in so much effort that you just want results.
There was a time this season, if you believe what everybody said, that maybe I wouldn’t be back here at Ducati. Realistically, I wasn’t ready to go fishing. So, I had to start looking around—World Superbike, AMA. None of that got me really excited.
I take a lot of pride in what I do. I love MotoGP and racing motorcycles at the highest level. I come from Kentucky, where all my cousins are picking watermelons 10 hours a day. I don’t have a hard job—18 races, talk to a few people, sign a couple of autographs, fly First Class to some pretty nice country, get picked up in a limo. There are worse options. And I’ve done worse. I’m no hard-luck story, but I’ve worked in the fields. I’m not going to complain.