Rider quotes from Pontiac post-race press conference. Fonseca: It was a pretty good race. I had a good start. I was behind Chad and Sean for a while. I had to close the gap on Sean, he was riding pretty good. He made a couple of mistakes and...
Rider quotes from Pontiac post-race press conference.
It was a pretty good race. I had a good start. I was behind Chad and Sean for a while. I had to close the gap on Sean, he was riding pretty good. He made a couple of mistakes and fell a little bit off the pace. I passed him and after that just held my own race. I got a little bit tight towards the end of the race. The track was tough. It was really slippery and the whoops were key. I passed (Sean) in the whoops. I had a pretty good drive through there. I think he cased the jump at the end and I made it past him. I had maybe 2 or 3 laps where I was really consistent.
I haven't crashed that much like I did at the beginning of the year. It seemed like it was never going to end. I don't want to say that I am happy with third. I want to be realistic and look at Chad and Ricky's lap times. They are a little bit faster right now. I am improving and getting closer and closer as the season goes on. When Ricky passed me my goal was to stay behind him and stay as close as I could. He got away a little by little. Right now these guys are faster. I am trying hard. I have to keep plugging away and improve my lap times and give these guys a battle.
Obviously I need to get a little bit better starts. I think there are places for me to improve on out there on the track. Chad is riding really good. I know I need to be faster. I still feel that I am pretty good and just need to work on a few things that make it easier for the race. I am not going to grieve on what happened tonight. I am just going to try to better myself.
On the starts:
Right now it is hard to come up with an answer. I will just go home and work on my starts. I got a killer start in my heat race and didn't in the main event. I need to switch or get two good starts.
A lot of it is mental more than anything else. At this point it comes down to getting a good start. When you have someone who rides really good you can't give them a little lead like that. The lappers weren't necessarily too bad. Everyone has to deal with them. They were not worse than other times.
On his bobble in the whoops:
It throws you off when you have some momentum going, it messes with your rhythm. I shouldn't have made a mistake. I did and it definitely didn't help matters. If I didn't make that mistake it could have been a lot closer. It is tough to make up a second unless there is a bobble on behalf of any of us. It makes it tough to catch someone. The only thing you can hope for is a mistake.
I am not going to sit here and tell you I want Chad to win every race. Of course I want to go out there to win. I am going to go out there and do everything I can. It is fun for me to have someone challenge me. I don't get in a stale rut of going out there and kicking ass every weekend. It gives me something to work for. It has been pretty easy for me up until now. Now I have a challenge. It has been a while since I had something like that. It keeps me motivated. It's fun.
On the injuries:
I think that everyone is trying to step it up and they are riding over their heads, or not riding within their limits. When you are not riding in control there is only one way to go-hit the ground. There are a lot of races too. Some of these guys race in Europe too and they are so fried, it is easy to make mistakes and not be on top of your game. That is probably half of it right there.
On racing in Europe:
I haven't even thought that far ahead. That is so far down the line I don't even think about it. That is a lot of races. I can't imagine having more races. Pretty soon there will be only one or two factory guys up here.
On outdoor stadiums for the nest three races:
Weather can work out good for anyone or bad for anyone. A good champion should be able to deal with anything. If it rains it rains, if it doesn't it doesn't. Everyone up here has had good races in wet and bad races in wet. I am not going to worry about what the weather is going to do.
On near crashes in the whoops:
That one lap I thought for sure I was going down, that one lap for sure. I thank my trainer that I am in good shape and that I can hold on to that thing. I have a lot of strength. Four years ago I would have been sitting on the side of the track because I wouldn't have been strong enough. When you are trying to catch up with someone you have to hang it out a little bit.
On his pit board that said "push it."
Dave (my mechanic) is pretty funny. I would like to know what it takes to not get a "go now" or "push more" on my pit board. At Anaheim 1 I was way out front and he was all "come on, more, I want to see better lap times." I think that helps to keep me in line and keep my times pretty even. Tonight we had a tough track. The whoops were I think the key. My bike is awesome in the whoops so I was feeling good coming into that. I just needed to get a good start. I came away not with the holeshot but I got the lead and Sean passed me back again and I had to mad-dog it in the whoops so I didn't have to mess with him. From there Dave and I just worked together. He gave me the pit board and I rode my hardest.
On his strategy:
I just wanted to get into my rhythm as fast as possible and start putting laps together. This weekend Doug from Bridgestone worked really hard with me and I was really happy with him because I think he was part of the reason why I won this race because the traction was difficult and he got us the best tires. I was thankful for that.
(When you are) the first guy to the lappers, it can go two ways. It can be like they see the blue flag and they get out of the way, or you come up on them pretty quick. Ricky and I were 3 or 4 seconds a lap faster than most of the people so we were coming up on them quick. The only one I had trouble with was Larry Ward. I was coming up through the whoops and I was hoping he would stay to the inside. I just knew that he was going to go down through the right and get in my way. I just tried to adjust and get the double at the end of the whoops. I did the double and almost landed on him. It was pretty scary.
On does he have a chance at the title:
Yes and no. Those two races when I got sixth really ruined it. There are the kind of mistakes you can make in your rookie season. I tried to get that out of the way. I started off with a big win at Anaheim. I started with such a big win and people were saying "you can win the championship" and I got wrapped up in that a little. No I am just ready to win races. I am the only one left at Yamaha and I like that (smiles). It's all about me so it's cool.
I have mixed feelings on it. For me to be world champion its takes a little bit away because Ricky didn't go. I left Europe, if I wanted to be world champion I would have stayed there. This is where I want to be and I want to be the American champion because that is where the best riders are. Since this is my first year on a 250 we were able to test a lot of things in Europe so I think that helped a little bit. Maybe next year we can go to Australia. The money is always good. You can always find toys or something.
On do other Honda riders besides Carmichael try and get in his way:
There may be a little bit, but it seemed in the beginning (of the season) it seemed like every Yamaha guy out there would be racing with me, like I would be calling Keith (McCarty) on Monday morning and saying "Help me out here!" It seemed like it was like that but it's getting better and better. The hard thing is not having another teammate to help you out. If it were to come to him getting second or Ricky getting second there may be some tactics, but I just want to win. If there are tactics there are tactics.
Are you getting more comfortable with Carmichael behind you?
Knowing now that I can go 20 laps as hard as anyone, that helps a lot. The sacrifice you need to give up to go 20 laps as hard as Ricky can do, a lot of people don't realize how hard it is. We work hard during the week and I think it shows on the weekends. Tonight was definitely the most comfortable I have ever been out front. I knew where he was and put the laps together.