by Rick Johnson
Rick: David, you were the only guy consistently beating RC in supercross last season. Then the shoulder injury. How do you feel now coming into 2003?
David: There are two ways to look at it. One is confidence, and it’s motivating to feel that. It helps then to go out and work and train and ride and be ready for the season. One other way to look at it negatively is to say ‘Oh, I did it before so I can do it again’ and then not work hard to make it happen.
I feel confident in my mind, but I don’t want to think about that too much because Ricky is so strong and so successful. So, I will go like usual with training and working hard. Our bikes are so good, and I’ll give it my best.
Rick: Where are you at now physically?
David: I’m good. My shoulder doesn’t bother me anymore. My lap times in testing are good. I’m comfortable. The surgery on the shoulder was a big issue for me – it kept me out of action for over three months. It’s all good right now. I’m back, working out, and riding a lot.
We have a few weeks until Anaheim, and I’ll be ready.
Rick: At the Indianapolis race this past season, you caught and passed Ricky on the last lap to win. How did you feel on those last laps as you closed up on him? Did you think he was playing with you? Were you giving it all you had?
David: Rick, you’ve raced, so you know about what I’m going to say. Sometimes you race, finish fourth, and you raced so hard and you are so tired – the race was very difficult. Other times, you might be in second place, and you feel that you can win, and you don’t get tired. You feel great. Everything is going well.
Indy was just one of those races. I felt good physically, I didn’t get tired, and I saw Ricky making some mistakes. Ricky doesn’t play any games like cat and mouse. He just wants to check out and be gone. I knew he wasn’t playing with me, but if he did (after 18 laps) that would be like a slap in the face. Everything just worked out good for me in Indy. I know you’ve had days like that before too.
Looking at the overall season, Ricky won 11 races. I won three races. That’s not enough. I rode with a broken shoulder blade, and it hurt like hell. Maybe without the shoulder injury I could of won more races. Maybe in 2003 I can win a few more. I’ll continue to stay focused, and try my best to beat everyone.
Rick: How about your bike for 2003?
David: The bike is very close to what we were running in 2002, but we do have some new parts from Japan that are better. The suspension is a little different, and it’s better too. At this level, the bikes are good. You don’t want to change the entire bike, but only change small things to make it better. Many of the little things are changed to make the rider happy and comfortable. It’s not like Formula 1 where the machinery makes such a big difference. In motocross, it’s the rider that makes the biggest difference.
Rick: Are you doing anything different physically for the 2003 season compared to before?
David: Yes. I’ve added David Bailey’s help.
In making a change in trainers, you get to hear and explore new ideas. David is a good guy, and very knowledgeable. And he’s excited about the challenge. I’m doing new things that I’ve never done before. That’s both difficult, and fun. It’s a challenge. If I go out on the bike and I feel good, that means some of the training is working. And that’s happening a lot.
I’ve only been back on the bike for just over one month so far. I’m going to ride the rounds in Europe to get ready for Anaheim. I always like to ride a few races in the winter. It will give me a good chance to see where I’m at. And then we’ll come back and see if we can make any more changes to the bike for Anaheim. I’ll be ready to go.