RJ: Last season finishing second was different for you and Jeremy. What are some of the changes you are pursuing for the 2002 season?
Skip: We’ve been spending a lot of time reviewing and analyzing. I spent a lot of time looking at photos and videotapes all the way back to 1993. We analyzed Jeremy’s body positioning, and how we can improve the bike as well.
For all of us associated with the team, myself, the family, Yamaha, the guys back at the shop, our vendors, and Jeremy, it really comes down to the two “D’s”: Dedication and Determination.
So many things are going to be different for ’02. It’s a completely different set-up than we’ve ever had. Ricky pretty much kicked everyone’s butt, pure and simple. We’ve got to come out of the gate hard and strong. We need to be stronger, better, faster …. it’s kinda’ like that Six Million Dollar man set-up – stronger, better, quicker, and faster. RC raised the bar … we hope to raise it again.
RJ: So many little things make a major difference on the bike, handlebar positioning, foot peg positioning, jetting, tires, suspension …. what are some of the changes for ’02?
Skip: You are going to see a completely different motorcycle. It’s quite different from what we had in ’01. We changed the handlebar positioning, …. we changed how the motor works … we tried a few things at the last supercross in Vegas that helped us see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. Vegas was a huge mental boost for all of us involved. Maybe we were going in the wrong direction with the bike earlier, but those changes got us charged up.
We focused very hard all summer on making the bike better. Then we went to the US Open, and you saw more changes. And you’ll see just as many, if not more changes before the first round in Anaheim.
RJ: How about you personally. How are you feeling?
Skip: I was getting a bit worn out and spending too much time away from my family a few years ago in doing all the series. But now with just doing supercross, everyone is so excited about what we are doing. Plus we feel confident we’ve made our entire program better. I know all the other major teams are feeling the same way. It will take maybe four or five rounds to see how things will shake out. I think we have a bit of an advantage in that we only have to focus on 16 rounds. The team’s focus and dedication is only on those events … we don’t have to pace ourselves.