Did the pressure on you by Sete and the media affect the soap opera that has surrounded your renovation of the Honda contract or the alternative of Yamaha?
-- (Thinks long about the response). No, it's only a sporting decision. But surely the pressure from the press has an effect on everything.
What can you tell me about piloting the Yamaha next year?
-- I'm not going to reveal anything about my future until Malaysia. I don't know if before or after the race, but it won't be long before an official announcement is made.
How are the negotiations?
-- The first option I have always preferred is to continue at Honda, although we had to change some things.
-- It's said that I want to be the number one rider for the factory by contract, but that is not the point of the conflict, because I'm already that. What I want guaranteed is that I will carry the weight of developing the motorcycle. To be the one who makes the decision about what direction should be followed at all times.
And they haven't permitted that?
-- The hardest thing about closing a contract with the Japanese is that they have a different mentality.
Aren't they giving you enough money?
-- Money is not the problem with Honda.
In addition to the offer from Yamaha you had another with Ducati.
-- I can't talk about that.
In Italy they said that Ducati tempted you with the option of going on to Formula 1 with Marlboro in the near future?
-- It's true that they offered me that possibility, but that's not the principal motivation for taking it. I race motos and the principal factor in making the decision is the moto, not cars.
Do you see yourself piloting a Ferrari in the future? You've always said you like rally more.
-- Yes, it's true, I like rally more than F1, but I think for me and the future it's easier to drive an F1 car than a rally car.
Do you say that because of your experience in Great Britain and the crash you had on the second stage?
-- Yes, the world of rally is completely different from that of road racing. In Great Britain we had a lot of bad luck. I think I could have done well because we tested before.
Going back to your jump to Yamaha. Do you know who the last rider was to win the premier class with two different marques?
-- Yes, Lawson (his eyes shine and he smiles).
Would you like to follow in his footsteps?
-- It wouldn't be bad to emulate Lawson and win with two marques.
Biaggi doesn't believe you'd dare leave Honda and Capirossi says he's the only one brave enough to change manufacturers.
-- I think Biaggi ought to talk about himself and leave Rossi in peace. What he says doesn't influence what I do. And Capirossi is the only one who's had the courage to change marques because he was out on the street. He had to do it, he had no other choice for continuing in MotoGP.