Q. You almost signed with Ducati here in the US for 2002. The lure to get back on a big red Twin must have been large after all the success, amazing success, you've had on the Ducati with Vance and Hines.
A. To a degree. For me, a Ducati is an easy bike to win on and an easy bike to ride, but - they made an offer and - I thought about it, but Yamaha made a better offer and they offered me a future. I hope that if things go well for us this year that they'll consider me to ride the M1 Grand Prix bike in 2003. Ducati didn't offer that. And to be honest, Ducati's offer wasn't that great.
Q. Is your life's goal still to win the 500, er, Grand Prix title?
A. Yes, it is. That's the only thing I think about for the future, that hopefully Yamaha will let me ride that bike. I'd love to get back to Grand Prix again and have a go. I'd love for Yamaha to ring me up and say, 'Anthony, you've done well for us, come and test the M1, come and ride the M1'.
Q. Many people think that although Mat Mladin won the title this year in an incredibly dominating fashion, that next year the team to beat will be Honda in Superbike. Do you agree?
|"I think he's going to do amazingly well. This year he struggled on the 500 with Michelin tires; but to me, the problem there was with Michelin, not the bike or Haga."|
A. Not at all.
Q. Really, why?
A. Well, Yamaha is going to be one of the teams to beat, for sure. I've been training and the team's been working hard; I think if I can stay healthy, that we're going to surprise a lot of people.
Honda will be tough, no doubt. I think next year in AMA Superbike it'll be the most competitive season ever. Mat Mladin is going to be tough to beat, the toughest really. He's a three-time champion and a deserved champion because he works so hard. So Suzuki will be tough. Eric Bostrom and the Kawasaki will be tough, too. There's going to be a lot of guys dicing for the lead. I'm just happy that Yamaha has made it so we'll have a much better shot at beating those guys. I can't wait for the season to start.