It wasn’t the ideal day at Hawkstone Park for Ben Watson with a few bike issues not allowing Ben to get the results that his speed deserved, but it’s all learning days until the World championship starts in under two weeks in Argentina.
There is a confident determination about Watson these days, he knows it’s his time to shine and that he has the talent to justify his ambitions at world level. As we found out when we caught up with the popular Kemea Yamaha rider at the end of the day at Hawkstone, for him, the season really starts in Argentina.
It turned out a tough day for you, you were going well in the first one then disappeared and had a few problems from then on…
Yeah, I felt really good on the bike all day. In qualifying I took my time because I thought there was ten minutes free practice and then 15 timed. So I cruised a little bit and tried to get a rhythm going before the fast laps and everybody was actually going for it! The track was slowly getting destroyed and my best lap was the final lap of the session so it was impossible to get a lap like I should have at that point in the session, so I made a mistake there but again my riding was good.
First race I was running second, feeling comfortable and good, it was early on in the race and normally I come on stronger towards the end. I was feeling good and a stone jammed into the rear sprocket and bent it, therefore the chain derailed and yeah, if I had put it back on it would have come straight off again because it’s not lined up.
Second race I didn’t have such a great start but was coming through okay and then just had a problem with the clutch, the hydraulic system, it was an issue out of my hands. The guys worked really hard to fix it before the Superfinal but just didn’t have the time, all we could do was change the clutch plates. When the chain de-railed in the first one it destroyed the gearbox and I couldn’t use that bike.
So I had to ride my other bike in the second race and then again in the Superfinal, so the clutch was going to be the same, it was fine in the first lap and then the clutch was gone again. I tried to carry on riding and I was actually not going so bad and I came over a small single and tried to give it a handful through the slop on the landing and normally where you control on the clutch and slip a little bit, there was nothing there and the bike just got away from me! So at that point I said right, there is no point riding with no clutch and to be safe just stopped.
You didn’t seem too happy with your pre-season races in Italy, I saw you then went to practice some hard pack, has it been disappointing with how these pre-season races have went or are you still feeling good and and just looking forward to Argentina?
Honestly I don’t care about these pre-season races, it’s just to get back behind the start gate and get back in than rhythm of riding a little bit. It’s always the same with me, last year here I was worse than I am today. I actually prefer my results this year and the feeling leaving this year than last year. I didn’t have any problems last year it was just in myself I wasn’t feeling so good. So yeah, I just stay positive, I don’t care about these races, it’s Argentina that matters to me and what I’m really going to put my heart into.
The goal for the first few rounds, are you looking to come in steady and get stronger or what is the plan for the GPs this year?
I’m just going to go to where I feel comfortable and I’m sure that’s going to be the top to be honest. I’m not saying I’m going to win or anything but I would like to come away with a top five for that first round and stay consistent and keep telling myself it’s a long season. I just want to come away from Argentina with a good feeling and not worry about the result.
You got your bronze medal today from the Nations at Red Bud, you rode really good there, especially that second moto, it must be nice to get third even if it isn’t the way you would want it?
Yeah it was good to get third awarded to us but it’s never the same when there is a reason behind it or we don’t get to celebrate that then and there in America. We all put so much effort in as well as Mark, the manager of the team, so this is a nice reward at the end to see all our effort, that something still comes from it, let’s say.