AMA Teleconference - April 16, 2003 Hosted by Infineon Raceway AMA U.S. Chevy Truck Superbike riders Eric Bostrom (Kawasaki) and Ben Bostrom (Honda) participated in a teleconference on Wednesday, April 16, in advance of the AMA Supercuts...
AMA Teleconference - April 16, 2003
Hosted by Infineon Raceway
AMA U.S. Chevy Truck Superbike riders Eric Bostrom (Kawasaki) and Ben Bostrom (Honda) participated in a teleconference on Wednesday, April 16, in advance of the AMA Supercuts Superbike Challenge, presented by Honda of Milpitas, at Infineon Raceway, May 2-4.
Q: Eric, Suzuki took both Superbike race victories at Fontana - were you surprised by that? What problems might Suzuki encounter at Infineon Raceway due to not testing here?
Eric: Well, I wasn't too surprised that they had such good results there (Fontana) because the track is real fast and they tested so well there. Right now, they just seem to have motor advantage on the rest of the field, but we're all the same going into Infineon Raceway. I'm pretty sure that their advantage with the motor won't matter there. We haven't raced a tight track yet this year, from Daytona to Fontana, and Infineon's always been best for my bike. For some crazy reason I've never won a doubleheader yet, and that's definitely my goal.
Q: Ben, how's the transition been from World Superbike?
Ben: It's been a bit of a struggle. I thought it would come easier. Your brain gets used to a fast moving tracks, and you come back to Superbike and the turns are a bit slower. Fontana is a bit of a stop-and-go racetrack. Obviously I'm not finishing up front, so I need to get my brain in gear. I'm riding a great bike, so hopefully that will move me up front.
Q: How great is it for the two of you to be racing together again? Obviously, with Ben in Europe quiet a bit, it must be great to see each other and compete against one another.
Eric: It's really been special because for the last three years I've been kind of lonesome. Ben's been awesome and I just haven't had a good partner to play with and train with. Even today, we got to the track down here and we were off checking out some boulders down south of Atlanta, doing a little climbing. It's really special to have someone to do that with. The racing's great too, because we're both really competitive. To have someone you know so well is almost a good benchmark. You think, I've really got to put it to my brother.
Ben: It's been great to be back - with your brother and your friends. It's almost like I took a break from my life (when in World Superbike). On the track, Eric's as competitive as ever and it's nice to have someone who doesn't mind having you follow them around. At some of the tracks we just go around together to try to figure things out. It's just great to be back with my brother.
Q: Ben, how do you look back on your experience in World and what made you decide to come back?
Ben: The experience was second to none and I wouldn't trade it for anything. The first two years were great, but the third year was tough. I needed to come home to recharge and remember where I came from. When a seat opened up, I wanted to come back home to Honda and the fantastic company. And it's just nice to remember the good things in life.
Q: Ben, did you get to test yet at Infineon?
Ben: We did. I went up there for a couple days and tested. It was strange because I couldn't wait to get back on the Honda and do some laps. But, at the end of the day we were a second or two behind the group. I was riding with Nicky's transmission, but he's a different rider, so that was hard. It's a fantastic track - much, much safer and they've made some great change. Now I believe it's a safe place to race and they've provided for more passing spots.
Q: Last year, there was lots of flap about the race and the safety issues. Obviously the track has spent some money on changing things, what are your thoughts on the improvements?
Eric Basically, there were several issues at the track last year, but I think Infineon's the first track we've ever been to that's asked the riders for feedback. They brought us all up to the track there a few months ago to get our input. It really shows their commitment and how much this event means to them. We came up with some pretty good options that made the track safer and made more passing opportunities. I'm looking forward to going back - I think it's the first time I'll be able to ride that track to my fullest ability. I'm looking forward to a good race. (Turn 1, 8-10 and 11 to address concerns).
Q: Ben, you mentioned earlier that when you were testing you were on Nicky's transmission on the Honda. What do you like about the Honda? What are you doing to make the bike more comfortable for you? What are the differences?
Ben: Basically we're putting laps on it. Every time we go test I try to stay out and put as many laps in as I can. Anytime we change the bike too much it seems to get worse. Nicky and I had a slightly different set up, so we're running a different front end and transmission. The transmission is so important because it changes the back pressure of the tires through the corner. Minor tweaks to the chassis mean a lot, too - it results in a major, major change for the motorcycle. I'm still just trying to get comfortable on the bike.
Q: Is it a frustrating process to try to dial in the bike week-to-week now that the season's started?
Ben: It's really frustrating. We went to a test, our first good-weather test, and we were so far off the pace I couldn't believe it. Riding these bikes is supposed to be fun, and it's not an opportunity you get too often. You want to just put your head down, but when you're not comfortable you can't do that. It's not any fun to run in the back, so when we get to Infineon we hope we'll be excited and ready to go. I think the results will get better as the year goes on.
Q: Thinking back, what made you want to try World Superbike?
Ben: Initially, it was something new to try. We raced for Ducati in 1999 and I wanted to stay with Ducati in 2000, but they wanted us to come over to World Superbike. I didn't think I was ready to go, but I was excited to try something new, ride fast tracks and see the world. I have the goal of being the World champion and there's only one way to get it - that's what pulled me.
Q: Can you compare the fan following and travel between World and AMA Superbike?
Ben: Traveling is much better now. You're at home, climbing, surfing, whatever. You climb on an airplane and within five hours you're at the track. You get there on Thursday, get on your bike and by Monday you're back home, sleeping in your bed. The first year in World is fantastic - there's lots to see, lots to learn, the food, motorcycles are a way of life over there and it's great. You go into a restaurant and people stand up and clap - you almost can't get a free moment. It's great in the states because there are so many sports, nobody knows who you are. It's kind of nice.
Q: Ben, you mentioned climbing and surfing. Where do you call home?
Ben: Las Vegas, but we're in the middle of working on a house there. When you want to surf, you go to California (near San Diego). When you want to climb, you go to Las Vegas.
Q: What are you thoughts on some of the local (Central Valley) riders - Kurtis Roberts and Tony Meiring?
Eric: Tony is an up and comer. Good kid. Basically he's still trying to pound his way through the ranks and he's doing a good job, coming up quick. He's currently in 600 Supersport and 750 Superstock. I don't compete against him, but his results continue to get better. He had really fantastic results down in Fontana. Kurtis is another competitor and son of a world champion. He's a great rider, but sometimes he's up and down with his results. He'll put in fantastic results one week and really be a threat, and the next week he'll just fade out. They're both good guys to compete against.
Q: Ben, are you headed back to World Superbike in 2004?
Ben: No, with the manufacturer's taking a year off to rebuild their bikes, they'll return in 2004 and I think the series will be fantastic again. I have no plans right now. I just need to get back on my feet and learn to ride the Hondas and relearn the winning ways.
Q: What are your thoughts on racing a pair of guys (Nicky Hayden and Colin Edwards) who are now in Moto GP? What does it mean for Moto GP to have those guys moving to that series?
Eric: It's great to watch Nick and Colin. They're both fantastic riders. It's cool to judge yourself against them because you've raced against them. You know they're trying hard and adjusting to new tracks and new teams. It's exciting. I'd definitely like to get a chance to join them in the not-too-far distant future and get back to racing against great competitors.
Ben: They're both fantastic riders. I think, for Nick, he was champion last year and he wanted to go try something new. With World Superbike taking a break this year, Colin was world champion and wanted to try something new, too. It's great to have some Americans over in the series and to have someone to root for.
Q: Ben, Honda has certainly dominated at Infineon raceway with nine Superbike wins. Is there a reason why Honda would do so well here?
Ben: I think they've had some really great riders in the past, like Hayden (he's a charger and likes a track like that) and Miguel Duhamel (another charger and comfortable there). I'm hoping this year, Honda will take it again.
Q: Eric, how is the Kawasaki built for a track like this?
Eric: This track suits our bike really great. Last year it seemed like we should've given Nicky a better run for his money. The bike didn't work very well with the tires last year. This year, Dunlop fixed the problem for us and the track really suits our bike well. I was disappointed to not be a threat last year.