Mitch, how do you feel before this opening GP?
I feel really good. I have been training a lot in Belgium and Sardinia, doing a lot more volume compared to how I used to train; it was a different style of training but I feel really good working with the team and a new trainer. Everything is on target; I had a small injury and that’s why I didn’t do any pre-season races but I feel healthy now and had a couple of days back on the bike before flying out here to Argentina. I wouldn’t say that I am 100% yet, but at least I’m fresh for the start of the season and we know that it will be a long one!
We are in Argentina for this first GP; you like this location?
I always love to come back here despite the long travel; it takes longer for me to come here than to go back home to Australia from Europe. I really enjoy the track here; the fans are great, it’s a technical track and I believe that it will be rougher than usual with more riders on-track this weekend. That’s also a bonus; I always love coming back here as it’s not only a beautiful track but also a very nice country. I’m glad we came here one day earlier than in the past; it gives you a little more time to recover from the trip.
You have some great memories here?
I raced my first-ever Grand Prix here and got my first-ever podium that day: that’s really good memories. Usually I’m pretty strong at the beginning of the season and, even after not having so much time on the bike, I’m confident with my speed and my fitness so I’m looking forward to a solid weekend. There’s not so many factory rides in the MXGP class, and one of them was for you at Kawasaki.
How did you join the team?
I have always had a little contact with Antti; it was always a team I kept an eye on and when I heard about the support they give, that was what I was looking for. We started talking to each other and, even though I had some other offers for World Supercross, GPs, America and Australia, I knew that I really wanted to continue racing the MXGPs and I felt KRT was the best place for me.
Did it take time to feel comfortable on the Kawasaki?
There was a lot of different things on the Kawasaki compared to the bike I was used to, but a lot of things that I really enjoyed. We didn’t do so much testing before Christmas but I was comfortable on the bike straight away and when we started intensive testing in January we soon found the best settings to suit me. I feel really confident on the bike now.
You discover new people at the Kawasaki Racing Team, how was it?
I live fifteen minutes from the workshop so I’m there pretty much every day and I’m really happy. That was something I was really looking for, being more involved with the team and having more inter-active support. When you come from Australia you don’t know anybody over here, and you don’t really know what to do, where to go so having that support is really beneficial. It’s the first time in my career that I have such a strong connection with the team members! Every day I go to the workshop I say hello to the guys and can see they are always super-busy and working hard. To see them investing so much time and energy to their job gives me even more appreciation of the work they do. I'm really thankful for everything they do for us. Another good factor is that if I want to try something new on the bike we can have it prepared and test it straight away.
So you’re confident for this new season?
I’m not stressed at all; we’ll just take it race-by-race. I want to focus on taking good starts and racing up-front; Romain got good starts at Hawkstone, and last year we already saw how good the bikes were out of the gate. It's quite funny; last year I purposely never took a gate next to a Kawasaki and now I’m on a Kawasaki!