Mate to Mat: An Aussie Interviews Mladin
by mark bracks
Thursday, February 09, 2006
Mat Mladin is interviewed by fellow Australian Mark Bracks.
Australians have a natural affinity with their own kind. It must have something to do with their centuries-old hardscrabble life that makes them slightly more at ease with one of their fellow countrymen. Aussie press-man Mark Bracks recently sat down with Mat and had a quick conversation, from one Aussie to another.
Mat, who we suspect remains a bit of an enigma to US fans even though he's been racing here in the US for a decade, seemed a bit more at ease talking to a fellow Aussie in their home country. He delves into a couple of points he has touched on previously in his columns at here at Superbikeplanet—first and foremost that racing and winning may be the main motivational force in his life, but that when he's away from the track, it doesn't rule his existence.
Q. How much can you take away from an Australian test when you're going to be racing in America?
A. We're not here to test for certain race tracks. People get caught up in the whole thing that you need to test at racetracks you race at. Well, I think that holds true when it comes to testing some new tyres at certain racetracks that you're going to race at, but for anything else, really to me, it makes no difference.
I know the racetracks over there; I've done a million miles around them. I can test anywhere I don't need to go and test over there for testing certain parts against each other
Q. Any reason your teammates Spies and Yates didn't come out for some testing?
Don't know. Spies doesn't like to fly, so unless he caught the slow boat via China to Australia he wouldn't be able to come out here anyway.
Q. He's another Elvis; doesn't like jumping on aeroplanes?
He doesn't like getting on aeroplanes. But, to be honest with you, personally I don't think they really care to fly places overseas to go testing. They tested at Daytona and also Fontana so they have already done four or five days themselves already but honestly other than that, I really don't know.
Q. Not that you're in the process of winning people over, but have the American public and riders "accepted" you? Correct me if I'm wrong but was there some animosity towards you for being Australian or speaking your mind?
I wouldn't say it's got anything to do with being Australian. The fans are great in America. I've got a lot of fans over there and the people in America are great.
The riders are never going to be on the same page with you because whenever you're winning you're never on the same page as anybody else. That's just how it is. That goes for any sport and any class, it goes for anything, so you're always the one with the target on your back.
I don't care to be on the same page as the other riders. I don't associate with any of them; I do my own thing as we're there to race motorbikes.
Q. So you haven't made any friendships with any of the riders over there?
Oh mate ... there's a couple of guys that I get on with and we do our thing but, mate, I don't go to the racetrack on Thursday afternoon to spend three days to hang out and socialize. I'm there to do a job and race and while I'm seen as hard and some riders say some things, I really don't care. I'm there to do a job, mate, that's it.
It's a multi-million dollar industry and it's a multi-million dollar business and when the manufacturers are paying the riders what they're paying them, they don't care if you're friends, they want the job done.
Q. We're a pretty sporting hero-orientated country and I know you're not after accolades but ... (interrupted)
No, not at all
Q. No, that you haven't any recognition here?
I don't do it for accolades. It used to disappoint me a few years ago, but now I don't care one bit, especially now I've got a family and a daughter. It doesn't matter to her who I am.
Q. That puts everything in perspective when you see that little girl being born?
Oh yeah more than anything, yep.
Q. Did you actually re-think about racing after she was born?
Oh no, not at all. It made me want it more. She's put everything in perspective, that's for sure. She doesn't care if her dad rides a motorbike or anything, she just cares if she gets looked after and that's it.
I look at it like this: if there is a judge when I pass away one day, hopefully a long time yet, I won't be judged on how many races I won, so it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter one bit.