Colin Edwards, Nicky Hayden, Jorge Lorenzo, Ben Spies and Hiroshi Aoyama were all in attendance at the official press conference held to mark the Indy MotoGP.
All the riders are the focus of press attention this weekend for different reasons: Hiroshi Aoyama marks his return to MotoGP since his injury at Silverstone, Spies will be announced as Rossi’s replacement this weekend for the factory Yamaha team from 2011, and Colin Edwards marks his 130th MotoGP start.
Read the transcript of the press conference below:
MODERATOR: We said all the things, Jorge, 77 points, wins at Laguna, Indianapolis. You come here in very, very good shape.
JORGE LORENZO: Yes, I come here in very good shape. You know, all the things are going so well this year. There was sort of — I got second position, so I couldn’t ask for anything more. And we come here in a track that I love. In 2008 with a lot of rain and very hard conditions, I made my first podium in rain in my career, and last year I won. So it’s always very positive that MotoGP comes here in America, and I’m happy for that.
MODERATOR: And just walking into the Motor Speedway is a special place, an iconic place, isn’t it?
LORENZO: Yeah, very special with a lot of history and a lot of races here in the past. And obviously we are — we want that this continues for long years, but I don’t know whether it’s going to happen for the next years.
MODERATOR: We sat here two weeks ago, not here but in the press conference in Brno in the Czech Republic, you said: “Now I think very hard about the championship. I have to be careful. Wins not so important but podiums. We just want to win the race again.” Is it the same philosophy here, the same theory?
LORENZO: Obviously, I want to win. Nobody in this world want to lose and to make bad results. You know, but we have the possibility to lose a race and to get zero points. But anybody knows what can happen if you crash. Maybe can happen nothing and you are OK physically or you can hurt yourself. So it’s better not to take so many risks and to be on the bike.
MODERATOR: Off the track at Brno, many things happened. Valentino Rossi will not be your teammate next season. It does appear that Ben will, although that has to be confirmed yet. How do you feel about Valentino going and Ben joining you?
LORENZO: Well, Valentino is going to Ducati, it is official. It’s very big news and very interesting news. Very hard challenge for him, for Ducati. We all hope next year the championship could be more interesting, this for sure. For my side, I still haven’t signed with Yamaha, but we all hope that it comes very soon.
MODERATOR: Jorge, many thanks.
We come to Nicky Hayden, of course to Jorge’s right. Nicky currently sixth in the World Championship. As I say, two podium finishes on the Ducati here. Nicky, I know we always say it’s a special place but I think for anybody coming here, we always think, wow, this is a bit different.
NICKY HAYDEN: Yeah, absolutely. Been a lot of history here, a lot of racing, period, went on here, especially in this whole area, Indianapolis. You can race about anything within, you know, 30 miles of here. So it’s, I think special for anybody but for me it’s double because it’s so close to my house. And to drive to a MotoGP race for me is still the third year kind of seems strange because my first couple years in GP was no American rounds, so I definitely enjoy it and happy to be here and looking forward to the weekend.
MODERATOR: And the wrist obviously you crashed in qualifying, wasn’t it, at Brno, you rode in the race very bravely, you had a couple of weeks to at least make some sort of repair.
HAYDEN: Yeah, absolutely. I crashed there and was an easy crash, but I was telling Colin I always hold on to the bike too long think I’m going to save it, save it, and the bike landed on it and it definitely wasn’t real fun there in Brno for the race. After the warm-up, I was praying for rain for the race and didn’t get it. But managed to do even better than we thought in the race. But I’ve had about 10 days, and bones don’t heal up 100 percent in 10 days, so us riders we think they can sometimes and they should. But it’s certainly a lot better than it was last week, and this track doesn’t have the hard braking it had in Brno. So, you know, I really don’t expect big, big problems with it. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow. But left wrist is a lot better than the right wrist. So, you know, we’ll see. But I’m hoping for no big problems. We ain’t got time to be messing around with sore wrists this weekend; we’ve got to go for it.
MODERATOR: So typically it didn’t rain in the race at Brno, you had the test on Monday and the rain came in the afternoon. You did get some laps in, didn’t you?
HAYDEN: Actually the rain, I was done anyway, I had a couple things to try, but I couldn’t ride, so it didn’t hurt my feelings that the rain came. Every man for himself. If I couldn’t ride, actually probably just as soon nobody ride. But I think everybody got to do a few laps in the morning which I think everybody needed because it had been since Jerez that we got to try anything.
MODERATOR: Your brother in Moto2, that’s going to be interesting, isn’t it? We’ve had him in MotoGP, but Moto2, a lot of riders for him to contend with to start with.
HAYDEN: Yeah, MotoGP this year and World Superbike, Moto2 this weekend. We joke around the house: “Why if there’s any race somewhere, what he’s done at home. Surely he can find something, British Superbike or go-kart race, get involved in BMX.” But, yeah, he’s definitely looking forward to a good weekend. I think it’s a great opportunity for the American fans, too, because the whole Moto2, they didn’t come to Laguna. The championship, I’ve said before, seems a little unknown to fans around here. The whole concept of single-engine deal is not really something that’s been used a lot in the American championships in any kind of racing. So I think it will be great racing for the fans, we’ve seen 40 bikes within two seconds is good racing. And put in a good effort for the team. So it won’t be easy, as anybody knows it’s a World Championship level, so to just show up here and jump it in, it will be tough. But I think he can see how it goes.
Qualifying will be really important for him, just like everybody in Moto2. But hopefully have a good result, be fun. We certainly got the support, a lot of friends and family and stuff making the trip this year, probably more than ever. So we need to bring our A game.
MODERATOR: Just finally, 2011, there was rumors or we felt that you may make an announcement this weekend about 2011.
HAYDEN: Yeah, certainly we’re really close, and a announcement is coming soon. So officially I can’t say a whole lot more than that, but everything is looking good and soon we’ll know something.
MODERATOR: No great surprises we don’t think.
HAYDEN: No, not at this moment. So I don’t expect anybody to be shocked when they hear what’s happening. It won’t be nothing too overwhelming.
MODERATOR: Nicky, thank you very much indeed.
We come to Jorge’s left, of course Ben Spies. Ben, first season in MotoGP. Ben, at least you arrive at a circuit that you’ve actually ridden on before. That’s a start for you, isn’t it?
BEN SPIES: Yeah, I look forward to it. We were here a couple years ago and it was, I think we kind of raced in the hurricane then, but it was — I like the track, it’s definitely a different track for us. But for Indy, they put on a great event for being inside a speedway. It’s as good as it can get. I like the track. So it should be fun. A lot of, like Nicky said, he’s got a lot of friends and family, same for me. It makes it fun. It’s serious, you’ve got to perform on Sunday, but it’s kind of like a little vacation. You get to hang out with all the people that you used to like when I was in AMA and stuff like that. So I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully we can continue with the momentum from the last few weekends and just keep going. It’s tough but hope to have some fun.
MODERATOR: And I think for us Europeans, we find the place is so, so different, Indianapolis and Laguna Seca. They’re almost different countries to us. Do you feel like that in some ways?
SPIES: I grew up riding, and it’s a little bit different coming back after being at Brno and places like that. But no, it’s still nice. It’s riding at some tracks coming up that are a little bit worse than this. So it’s good. Like I said, I like the track. For what they’ve done inside a speedway, I think it’s awesome.
MODERATOR: In 2011, we all think we know where you’re going, but is there anything actually confirmed yet?
SPIES: I think you know with a few riders there’s been the worst-kept secrets of all, but like I said, I don’t think a whole lot of people will be shocked. But we have an announcement coming this weekend, and that’s pretty much all I can say right now.
MODERATOR: And Brno you did get to test in the morning anyway before the rain came?
SPIES: Yeah. We got in some laps. We did what we needed to do. We didn’t set the world on fire but we got some data and, you know, got an early look at some stuff. And hopefully found some things, too, for this weekend and the future of this year. And then, you know, started some development for next year and, yeah, it was a good test for us.
MODERATOR: It was an important test, wasn’t it? I think you’re right, so much to do with so little testing for 2010 before you can even look at 2011, it was important.
SPIES: Yeah, I mean there’s for a lot of the riders and like I said, not just – even not so much for next year but just for the rest of this year, just looking at some stuff, trying some stuff we didn’t get a chance to with Brno. The weather was kind of a little bit iffy through a couple sessions. There are some things we wanted to try and never got to. We tried to. Some things worked and some things different. We’ll just try to put it to the test this weekend and the rest of the year and try to get ready for next year.
MODERATOR: Ben, thanks very much indeed.
Come to the far end, ladies and gentlemen, of course, Ben’s teammate, Colin Edwards. Colin, 130th Grand Prix appearance. It’s been some run some run, hasn’t it?
COLIN EDWARDS: It has. Can I just say something real quick for future reference? Earlier when you said 10th in the championship, that’s like a dagger in the heart. So let’s just leave that shit out next time, OK? If it weren’t for these assholes being so fast, I might be a little bit higher up in the championship. (Laughter)
No, 130 races. Oh, man, I’m getting old, aren’t I?
HAYDEN: He’s a professional. He should be able to put a better spin on it than that. (Laughter)
EDWARDS: Yeah. No, it definitely, 130 races, yeah, it’s been something special. It’s been some of the best times of my life. It’s been awesome.
MODERATOR: Tough year for you this year.
EDWARDS: Oh, you think? Is that just being honest? (Laughter)
MODERATOR: I’m being honest. You’ve had a tough old time out there.
EDWARDS: Yeah, it’s been very difficult. We obviously finished fifth in the championship last year and came here kind of on a high thinking everything would be cool. This dumb-ass six engines per year rule, I don’t know what they have there, but we’ve suffered. We’ve obviously suffered. We got a little bit something extra at Laguna, not necessarily engine or whatever, but we developed a little bit of a faster bike overnight and it seems to be working. Our two best results were Laguna and Brno and we’re just looking to build on that.
MODERATOR: And the future, do you want to stay in MotoGP?
EDWARDS: I’m going fishing. Screw this shit.
MODERATOR: You’re beginning to sound more like Kenny Roberts every day. (Laughter)
EDWARDS: No, I would love to stay with Herve. I’d love to stay with Yamaha. That’s my No. 1 goal at the moment. We just need to try and make it happen.
MODERATOR: So an important second part of the season for both of you.
EDWARDS: Yeah, I think there are a couple chips that need to fall in the right place and I think it can happen, it’s just a matter of — is it a full moon yet? I don’t know. Anyways, we just need to see what happens.
MODERATOR: I think I speak for everybody, we hope it happens. We don’t want to lose you from the MotoGP.
Finally, I remember a couple years ago when you first came to Indy, you said what a special place to come and actually race here, just so fantastic.
EDWARDS: I have so many memories here. You all probably heard the story, it was ’85 or ’86 when Danny Sullivan did the 360 and still won the race. My dad was drunk on the bed, and I was a little kid. I just remember my dad being drunk, “God damn, did you see that?” I’m like, “Dad, that’s the 10th time you said that. I saw it already.” (Laughter)
But I have some memories of this place, most of them televised that I was watching. And to be here and to be parked in the same Paddock in the motor homes and just being in this area, it’s something special. They’ve done a great job with it, you know, to build a motorcycle track here, it’s a good job.
MODERATOR: Colin, many thanks. Congratulations on 130. Thank you.
We come to the far end, ladies and gentlemen, Hiroshi Aoyama. Of course, the current 250cc World Champion. He finished second here in the 250cc race last year. Been out of action for over two months. Welcome back, Hiro. It’s been a long, hard road for you.
HIROSHI AOYAMA: Thank you very much. It was two months ago, and I crashed in the warming up. It was not really hard crash, a simple crash. But when I crashed I had so much pain and they brought me to the hospital, and doctor said my back is broken and it takes three months. I was very sure at the beginning, I didn’t want it to be that, but after that I stay in my bed for one month. Sometime I had any hand and my leg numbness, so I was really scared. But now I can come back to here and it was really hard time to be, being at home for two months. But I did testing last week — two weeks ago in Brno and feeling was OK. So I think now it’s time to come back to racetrack.
MODERATOR: Will you have some special protection or some strengthening for the back?
AOYAMA: Yes, we made a special corset for riding the bike because my back is not 100 percent yet, so I need some support. With this I can ride normal. I hope I don’t have so much pain during this weekend. Last time in test I did 10 laps continued, it was OK, but after that I had to lay down on the floor. Now it’s two weeks later, so I hope it’s going to be better.
MODERATOR: And while you’ve been away, have you been watching the races on television?
AOYAMA: Yeah, these two months I was away watching the MotoGP and it was kind of stressed, but also I felt I love motorcycle and I’m really happy that I can ride a bike again, also I can walk normally.
MODERATOR: All I can say, Hiroshi, I think from everybody, a big welcome back, it’s good to see you back. We’re glad everything is OK. Thank you very much indeed.
AOYAMA: Thank you.
MODERATOR: Questions from the floor, ladies and gentlemen. Put up your hands, the microphones will come.
You silenced them all, Colin.
EDWARDS: We’ve got a question here. Right here.
SPIES: So is your dad the reason you don’t have a filter, is that it? (Laughter)
EDWARDS: He is Australian, so maybe that filter is gone. (Laughter)
Q: Pretty much the talk of the morning has been Ben’s NBA exploits. Can you tell us a little bit about your basketball? I heard you’ve been knocking down three-pointers like they’re going out of style.
SPIES: You didn’t see me dribbling too much, did you? I used to play basketball a long time ago. That was the first time, it was fun going out there and seeing how big the stadium is, how small the court feels in the stadium environment and meeting Rik Smits, that was a pretty cool deal. I got hot for a second, and then I missed everything else. (Laughter)
MODERATOR: Anybody else, ladies and gentlemen?
Q: Nick, have you tried to ride? Have you ridden your dirt bike or anything?
HAYDEN: Yeah, I rode a little bit a couple days going at my house, me and my dad, just a normal deal. Actually, yeah, I felt OK. Like I said, not just great, and I didn’t push it, but, you know, my home race, so it’s not going to get caught up thinking about it too much, just ride. So I don’t really — I’ll see tomorrow, breaking in on one of these things is a little different than riding up your driveway, backyard type thing, but it will be all right.
Q: Nicky, did you seek any kind of medical treatment for the wrist injury?
HAYDEN: Yeah. Well, I mean I went obviously to Costa after it happened and after I got home, I did an X-ray and scan because I have a screw in my left wrist, too, riding in the scaphoid area where they were worried about because at the Clinica, they can’t sometimes see 100 percent on X-ray and so close to that scaphoid bone they say needs a couple days before it can really show up. So went home to my doctor, and another doctor checked it over. Some normal therapy stuff, ultrasounds and things like that. I’ll maybe get another X-ray in a week or two and see if it’s still healing, but I don’t expect no surgery or nothing like that.
Q: Then, also, I understand maybe the new Ohlins forks were made available this weekend, but you’re not going to use them?
HAYDEN: We’re not going to use them tomorrow. I’ve got one set that, you know, I used a bit in Brno and I really didn’t have, you know, anything but — didn’t like better than what I had. I tried, really only changed one or two things on them and we’ve talked this week and it seemed after they got back and checked the data more, maybe we started off with the wrong setting on some of the static compression or whatever was maybe not the ideal place to start. So, you know, not confuse things tomorrow but maybe try them again here, Misano or something. We brought them and we’ve still got them around. So something we might look at but not tomorrow.
MODERATOR: Anybody else?
Q: Nicky, assuming that the announcement is what we all think it’s going to be, what are your thoughts of being teamed back up with Valentino next year?
HAYDEN: You know, if that was to happen — (Laughter)
You know, I think it would be great for our series, great for the championship, obviously for the Italians to have Rossi on the Ducati. I was just doing an interview and told them they better get their tickets for Mugello now because I can only imagine that place with him on it. Even the test at Valencia if he rides that, there will be as many people trying to watch the test. So I think it would be a great opportunity. We’ve been teammates before; we got on well.
You know, sure, put a lot of pressure on me and everybody to do a good job. But he has a lot of experience. Everywhere he’s went, he’s great for engineers because he’s consistent. His feedback from what I’ve been around, you know, is very clear. And I wouldn’t certainly have a problem with it. I could see only for the most part good stuff. So I hope that’s the case. I think it would be a lot of fun.
Q: For the three American riders. Obviously, to compete at the level that you guys are competing at, you have to ride beyond the edge so often anyway. But I know when you come here to race in the States, you want to win so bad and perform so well. What do you do, what do you say to yourself? How do you dig deeper for an even better performance or to try to achieve the goal that you hope for when you’re here? Because mechanically you’re to a point but you try to take it so much further on your own.
EDWARDS: You’ve been doing all the talking. Do you want to talk first?
HAYDEN: I’ll keep going. I’m warmed up. (Laughter) You’ve got to be careful. Like you say, you always try your hardest. You come and think, “Oh, wow, you’re going to try that last bit, but sometimes there’s not any more.” You try too hard and the pressure is too much, and you go slower and make mistakes. I think, if anything, you’ve got to be more careful. Just stick to your routine and do what you normally do. Really, I can’t say I’ve been holding anything back. I’ve been on the ground a lot this year. So not like I got a whole lot left, but I’m going to try to find something on Sunday.
EDWARDS: Go ahead, Ben.
HAYDEN: I’ve never heard Colin turn down the opportunity to do a little talking. (Laughter)
EDWARDS: I’m thinking.
HAYDEN: Do you feel OK, man?
SPIES: I think it’s kind of what Nicky said. You know, every Sunday, no matter what country you’re in, we try hard for 45 minutes. You want your best result to be at home. I mean, that’s what you want. You just hope everything comes together. You get good qualifying, you get a good start, the bike’s working good and try to put it together. But, yeah, I mean a week and a half ago at Brno and before that I’m pretty sure I rode as hard as I could and the same thing here. Just hope it comes together and get a good result for everybody.
EDWARDS: Honestly the same. You don’t really do anything different. Every weekend you go and you ride your balls off. And every weekend after Sunday after 45 minutes of riding you say that’s the hardest race I’ve ever ridden, this is bullshit. And it’s going to be the same this weekend. There’s nothing really different, you just do the same thing. Being on home soil, yeah, maybe a little extra incentive, maybe a little more attuned — I don’t know — kind of focused on bike setting. Maybe a little bit more trying to find that extra little 10th or two, but that’s about it.
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