Racer X: Mike, how did you feel in Italy, and how is that arm-pump coming along? Mike Brown: First race started great like usual, but I got arm pump again. Man, I hate people seeing me doing that, but there is nothing I can do; I am in shape, but my arms just pump up and I can't do anything about it. Getting in the front early like I have been is maybe not so good for me, but you always need to get the start. I felt better in the second race, but I crashed. I was fifth when I crashed; I had a good gap on Ramon, so that was a pity I crashed. In the second moto I didn't get any arm-pump and I said to myself that I would ride as hard as I could and if I crashed then so be it. This isn't a good track for me—I am not the best in the sand and the square-edged corners didn't help. I like Germany, it's fast and hard, so I feel I can do better there. I think I have maybe holeshot the last four races and out of the six I might had led all of them. I should still be top ten, it's still a long way and I think I can run top seven most races.
The previous round in Portugal you also took some great starts, what happened there? Qualification was going well, I held third place at the start, but then a bunch of guys did quicker laps and I ended up 15th. In the first moto I had another good start, like in Spain and was able to lead for a little while. On lap one I was fourth and I just tried to keep with the other riders, but my left arm got tired again. I didn't want to get arm pump too badly so I slowed a little and some guys went past me. The track was really choppy and rough and there were not a lot of lines to choice from, so that made it difficult sometimes. In the second moto I again got a good start, but drifted wide and lost the lead position. I was again fourth after the first lap, and held that position for a few laps, then Priem passed me. I just did my best to stay with the front guys, trying to get a good rhythm going. I felt better on the 450. Before Spain I had only had one and a half days on it after riding the 250 in the British championship, so that made it difficult in Spain.
Round two in Spain, that was a really rough track, and also fast. What stood out for you in Spain? I thought the track would have been a lot worse than it was, due to the rain and all. It was probably one of the ruttiest tracks I have ridden in a while. I went out and started in 12th or 13th in qualification. The first moto started like I was going to win the race. I got arm pump after about four or five laps and couldn't us the clutch properly because of that. I wasn't riding over my head; in fact, I felt like I was slow and I started to try and ride faster and that is when I got arm pump. This week I prepared on a hard-pack with no ruts and I wasn't used to the big ruts here. I haven't ridden with such big ruts on the 450, but I can't use any excuses—I just got arm pump, end of story. I couldn't pull the clutch in and I was getting into the ruts and just using the throttle. I was making a lot of mistakes and every time I made a mistake somebody would go by me. I figured it would go away. I thought if I slowed down it wouldn't be such a problem. I kept hanging on, but it wouldn't go away.
In the second race I was probably sixth or seventh in the first few corners. Somebody bumped me and I got caught in the green fence. I knew from that moment on that I just had to put my head down and go for it. I didn't get arm-pump. I rode good. I felt I rode better in the second moto, I came up from a long way behind. For sure it's in the head. Some people ask me, “Is it the bike? Is it something else?” but it's all in my head. I didn't get it in America, but I think because I have started in the front in a couple of races already I am getting nervous and riding too tight. I like Portugal, it's a nice track and I hope I can get some better results.
The opening round in Holland, was there any surprises for you there? I felt good in practice, always around 10th and 12th. In timed training I blew it a little and lost some places, but it didn't matter as I got good starts, my bike was working good out of the start. The first race I was like fourth of fifth, but my arms went tight. It's been a problem all of my career really. I mean, I shouldn't be nervous, but I was. I held my breath and wasn't breathing. I just went backwards. Second race I was second or third, and I relaxed, a couple of guys came past me quickly, but I didn't want to blow it out of the start and took my time this moto. I jut eased up a little and got into my own race. The track was rough. We don't have anything like that in America. I think it is similar to Southwick maybe.