You started traveling around the world--Europe, South Africa, Japan--racing MX2 GPs when you were only 16 years old. What was that like?
I had a few hard times but never worried about being away because I knew where I wanted to be, which was America. I knew I had to keep my eye on the prize. The travel in the World Championships takes you all over the place in Europe, plus Japan, Australia, and through Russia. The biggest thing was being able to see the different cultures, the food, the way other people live. I got to see so many cool things at a young age, seeing things from the Swiss Alps, to England, then out to Sweden, Italy and all those different places. It was amazing.
Can you tell us about some of the major lessons you learned along the way during the World Championship series?
That was the whole plan about moving away. I knew if I wanted to race in America I needed to get out and learn to live in another country and live as an adult. I learned a lot about things in life other than racing, because up until that time I had lived with my mom and dad and was still going to school. I learned more in that first year than anything I’ve done in racing. I went from being nowhere to the top 10 in the world, and then winning a world Championship and that was a huge gap.
This year you’ll begin in Supercross Lites on the CRF250R, then switch to the bigger CRF450R for the Motocross season; tell us about that plan.
I raced the 450 class in Europe in 2005 and thoroughly enjoyed that bike and got third in the World Championships. So my goal was to race the first two years here in America in the Lites class, then move up to the 450. I’ve only had one year of Supercross in the Lites class so far so I’ll have one more year of that and then I’ll move up to the 450 class. I feel I have what it takes to ride a 450 well outdoors. I don’t think the transition will be any problem; it will be something new, and it will add more motivation.
Tell us about your goals for 2008.
In 2008 I’m shooting for a Lites Supercross Championship aboard the CRF250R. After that I’ll be on the Honda CRF450R for Motocross, and I’m looking forward to getting out there and making sure every race counts. If I can do that, then I hope to be in the championship hunt on the CRF450R as well.
What does it mean for you to be a part of Honda Red Bull Racing?
I was working toward getting a ride with Honda for quite a while, and I feel the opportunity came at the right time. I have a few titles under my belt now, and I was looking to take another step forward. I think Honda Red Bull Racing is the place for me to be.