Most forget that Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2's Ben Watson did not even finish the previous season, as he was ruled out with his second broken bone of the term. That makes his return to racing at the opening round of the Internazionali d'Italia series even more impressive. Watson pushed his teammate all of the way in both races, showed good speed and reminded a lot of people what he is truly capable of. MX Vice correspondent Lorenzo Resta caught up with him on Sunday evening.
MX Vice: That was a positive day. Second in the first MX2 moto – less than a second behind [Jago] Geerts – and then the second MX2 rider in the Super Final as well. Not a bad start.
Ben Watson: Yeah, definitely a positive day. To be honest, I came here and it's just the pre-season international. I just want to get back into the racing groove, because obviously – with my broken wrist – I missed some races at the end of the season. It's been a long time since I've been behind the gate or it feels like it anyway. We have been training in Sardinia for one month. I've been feeling really good, actually. I came here, had two good starts and two solid races. I finished second in the MX2 heat. I followed Jago the whole race.
I just sat behind him quite easily but it was just really difficult for me because he was riding obviously really fast, and to create an opportunity to pass was not easy. In that second race we had the 450 guys with us. Some of them pass you and disturb your rhythm a little bit, then me and Jago were kind of forwards and backwards. I tried to make a pass on him again on the very final corner of the last lap, but I didn't make it happen. I think I was second in MX2 in both races. I'm happy. It's been a solid start.
It looks like Jago could be one of the contenders for the title, along with you?
Definitely. Jago last year finished third in the series, and I finished fourth in the series the year before. We have both had a bit of experience at the front. I feel like we both had a solid winter. I haven't done a lot of riding or training with him, to be honest. We have come here and obviously he's on the pace. Now I'm also feeling good. I'm really looking forward to real racing. Now we are only at these pre-season races. Everyone's just getting back into the groove of things, so we'll see how everyone really is at the first GP.
You mean at home in England?
Yeah, at home in England. It's the first time it’s been the first race, which is a little bit strange. Could be a little bit risky, maybe, with some rain. It could be really good. If it doesn't rain on the weekend, for sure the track is going to be perfect. I hope it gets really technical. It's going to be a good weekend – it is my home GP!
It's really nice to see you back with a good smile – a big smile – and just relaxed. The really bad luck of last year seems like it went away.
Yeah, definitely. Last year made me learn a lot. To be honest, I sat back after my wrist injury at the end of the season and just took some time away. I went to Australia on holiday. I just kind of forgot about the sport for a little bit and found myself again, that kind of thing. Just started enjoying myself. Then I came back to Belgium and was just riding with a different mindset. I was enjoying myself a lot more. I just stopped putting so much stress on myself. If I missed one day of training, then I was always letting it affect my mind a little bit. Now I'm a lot more relaxed. I'm going to come to the races with a different mindset – just come to enjoy the racing and forget about everything else.
What do you think about those kind of English journalists that prefer to go to the United States following supercross instead of being here following the British riders who are making really good races [laughs]?
I think his name is Lewis or something [laughs]. Apparently he's a big fan of me, but I don't see him here. He's on holiday, I think. [Ed Note: I do not approve this message.]
Interview: Lorenzo Resta | Lead Image: Yamaha Racing