Monday Conversation 2: Antonio Cairoli

May 7, 2007 12:00pm
Antonio Cairoli has stamped himself as the best small bike rider in the World (Championships) and while names like Ben Townley and Ryan Villopoto will fight for the AMA Lites championship in the next six months it will be Cairoli who will go to the 2007 Motocross of Nations as the guy with a target on his back. We caught up with Cairoli just after his victory at the Grand Prix of Italy last weekend and the always-smiling Yamaha factory rider gave us a bit of an idea why he is riding so well in 2007. Amazingly he isn't looking at the opposition, just taking care of business.
Racer X: You seem to really have a big advantage over defending World MX2 champion Christophe Pourcel at the moment. Were you surprised that he didn't have the speed to race with you in Mantova?
Antonio Cairoli: I don't think about Pourcel, I just think about winning all the races and not losing points like I did last year. Second race I looked back and saw him, I waited for him to come to me, because in the first few laps he is always really fast. I was expecting him to catch me, but I then saw that he couldn't catch me.
The Italian public really made it a nice weekend. So many people and so many calling your name. The fans were crazy for you, it's like you’re a rock star in Italy!

The Italian fans are really good. I could hear them all the way around the circuit. They helped me get even more motivated. For me, riding in front of the people and knowing that most of them wanted me to win, that is a special feeling for a rider. Motocross seems to be getting more popular in Italy, and I hope that will make my work nicer, I really enjoy having the people willing me on.
Many people are saying after your Motocross of Nations class win that you have a new level of confidence. Is that what you feel?
The Motocross of Nations gave me a lot of confidence. I went into that race with a new bike, the 2007 bike, so I was already excited about that. I know that the new bike was better, so that really gave me a good feeling. I am not more confident that I was in 2005. I had a good training this winter and everything was really good for me, plus I am not making mistakes like I did last year.
It's a while off, but the Motocross of Nations will be held in America in September. Are you thinking about that race yet?
I just go to the Motocross of Nations in Budds Creek to win. It is a little early, but I want to win there, I want to win the MX2 class again. It's important for me to be the best, to win as many times as I can and I know that when my speed is good, when I feel good on the bike, then I am hard to beat.
Next weekend we head to Germany.  It's not one of your favorite circuits in the world, so what are you hoping for?
I don't like Germany. In the last three years I have not finished top five, in fact, never have I been inside the top five in Germany. I go there with not a great feeling and I look for a podium. Of course if a win comes, then great, because I don't like it there. It's so fast and I made mistakes in the past there. Last year I made a big mistake there and crashed, so I will take it careful this year.