James Dobb is a former 125cc World Champion and currently rides the KTM 250SX for the factory KTM team.
TransWorld Motocross: What did you think about Hawkstone today?
James Dobb: It wasn’t the best race for me today, we learned a lot, we had a few problems with the bike but we can make those things better for the next race. But I think mentally I wasn’t very good today, I had an injury that I was carrying from last week and I was thinking about that too much rather than forgetting about it and getting on with it, so… It’s one of those things, but we’ll learn from it and it was a good training day today. I did two-and-a-half good motos, then I crashed in the last one. Things are going in the right direction, I’ll keep working hard and get ready for Spain now.
TWMX: You ride a KTM250SX, is that correct?
TWMX: You’ve seen Pit Beirer on the 250 at Matchams Park and you’ve seen how things are going in the U.S., now obviously the 250 has probably gotten more GP experience than it has had SX experience so far, how do you see this whole thing going?
JD: You know, it’s a hard one because we did have problems last year and we were getting them better and better all the time and we were learning new things. The disappointing thing is that we’ve got in the U.S. is that Grant Langston and Jeremy McGrath rode those bikes against the factory Suzuki and factory Yamaha, against all the Japanese bikes, and they preferred the KTM.
So, I think things aren’t going their way and they are making little mistakes and they’re blaming it on the bike. I don’t know, I am not riding the bike, so that was hard.
Development’s been good, it’s been slow at times, just because of directions, but it’s going good. Like I say, it slowed down when Jeremy and Grant said how good the KTM was, they were like… they think it’s better than them so it must be the riders, but you know, everyone’s really focused at KTM at the factory in Austria, every day, everything is getting better.
They are going back down there now, Nick, our engine guy, he’s really motivated to make things better and it’s going in the right direction.
TWMX: So, would you say that next year we might see a stronger KTM 250 team in the American Supercross series with changes that they learnt this year, or how do you feel about that?
JD: It just depends, you know, it needs a lot of hard work, they need to put a lot of hard work in, and develop the bike like I did last year with the team and we are doing it this year every day. At the end of the day, bikes are fantastic in this day and age, you know, so we have got to put a lot of work in to… we have to play catch-up all the time. Look at Honda, they have a very good bike now, but it’s been mediocre for a number of years and it’s only now that they are getting it going good. We’re trying to catch up with that. Like Suzuki are getting close to the end of their development. They’ve got all that much more that they can go, you know, like so many things.
It’s for us to keep working hard, developing the bike. Like I say, we’re playing catch-up but I think the thing is that we have a very good production bike, but the difference between our production bike and our race bike is a lot closer than say… a Japanese bike. So what Mickael rides is 30% better than what you can buy on a shop floor. It’s like a completely different bike, where ours is very close to what you can buy on a shop floor.
TWMX: As far as the GPs are concerned, you are in the 250 class with the 450 4-strokes coming into the mix, who do you think is going to be your biggest challenge or competition in the GP season this year?
JD: There’s a load of different guys this year, Mickael and Stefan are going to be the main ones, and we’ve got Joel Smets. There are just so many, it’s kind of strange times with looking at the four-strokes because in some ways it’s exciting, but for the fans I don’t… as a fan I don’t think it’s a good move.
Four-strokes are completely different, and they should have left it as it was. It’s a completely different story to go into that one. It’s going to be a tough time, in one way an exciting time and a different time ’cause it’s like nobody really knows whether the 450s are definitely ahead, but who knows when you get to Spain and on different tracks, harder tracks or when there is good traction. It’s going to change things a helluva lot, we’ve got to wait and see.
TWMX: Donn wants to know whether you’re ever going to make it to a U.S. supercross again to actually race a U.S. supercross again. We had a nice chat and he said to me, well, we used to hang out at the gym a lot, so he wants to know, are you coming back, or are you ever going to do that again, whether it’s just for a race or two, or are you just going to hang out like you usually do?
JD: It honestly just depends on what kind of year I can have here. If I have a good year and can fight for a championship then yeah, maybe I might want to have another year or two in America. I mean, I do love the place, and it’s nice racing there, but there are positives here. I like racing here as well, so, it’s on a day like today where you’d obviously prefer to be there. We’ll just wait and see, hopefully when opportunities arise, yeah, I’d love to.
TWMX: Do you have any closing words for Donn?
JD: Tell him to behave himself.