Bruce Stjernstrom introduced the meeting before passing the microphone to Jamie Little. All the teams were introduced, from Motorsport Outlet to Cernic’s Kawasaki, as well as the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit team and the now-in-house Monster Kawasaki. That meant the new bikes of James Stewart and Tim Ferry had Monster logos on them, and they showed up for the cameras for the first time. The look is impressive, as the bikes were carefully prepared and designed—it’s like the dust and the mud won't even leave a scratch on them!
Stewart and Ryan Villopoto also received from their respective team managers, Mike Fisher and Mitch Payton, rings from Kawasaki for the titles they won in 2006—World SX for Bubba and the AMA MX Lites for “Villopodium.”
James and Ryan show off their rings
Christophe Pourcel is another rider who won a title in 2006: the FIM MX2 World Championship. He was on hand and seemed very nervous when he needed to speak English. People smiled and tried to make him feel okay. He'll let the racing do the talking, was the general feeling.
Absent was Ben Townley, who stayed in Florida to keep his focus on his training and practicing. He'll be at Anaheim1 for the race, though.
After the lunch, Mike Fisher took the photographers to the back of the building to shoot the Monster Kawasaki of James Stewart, and he let us do a short visit at the racing shop. He also showed us a nice photo hanging in the racing team's meeting room from 1972 with the factory team of that year. Pretty cool stuff. The Stewart-Red Bull-Monster issue basically never came up. We heard Kawasaki waited until after December 31 to show their new graphics, as James' contract with Red Bull expired that day. The guess is James won't have a Red Bull logo on his helmet anymore.
Team Manager Mike Fisher
The Kawasaki USA president was all smiles and had a really nice speech about the countless number of riders they are supporting in 2007 ("I am running out of fingers to count them all") and the money they invested ("I am running out of money!”) Stjernstrom was proud of the new deal with Monster and said the company's productivity accelerated some 11 percent since they started drinking Monster in the Kawasaki building after the contract was signed. The contract between Kawasaki and Monster is a long-term one, and as far as we could see it's a perfect match.
Finally, it was a good meeting for Kawasaki as it is obviously a big family, and everyone felt really comfortable. They were very nice with the media as well. They are ready for Anaheim!