Antonio Cairoli has been the shocker of the MX2 (125) class in the World Championship, where he finished the year in third. He won his first GP at the exacting and tricky Namur track in Belgium—the first time he raced there. This silent and thin Italian boy immediately came to the forefront of world notice thanks to his starting skills and his riding style, which is so aggressive and spectacular that European fans promptly gave him the nickname of "Young Goblin." I recently had a chance to quiz the new wonder kid from Italy about his rise and plans._DR: What do you attribute your excellent results this year to?_
Cairoli: Undoubtedly to the hard winter training I underwent—I spent two months in Belgium with my team (the Italian team of Claudio De Carli), to train on its sandy tracks. That helped me a great deal since most GP races take place on sandy tracks. To be honest, when the season began I would have never expected to finish in third place, since in 2003 I took part in only three GPs and never qualified. As for 2005, I am still going to race in the MX2 with De Carli. I find myself at ease with them. We're still going to use the Yamaha, but we have to do some testing to decide whether to choose the 2- or the 4-stroke. My team and I intend to be among the top three again. Then, in 2006, I'd like to race in the USA. At the moment I have no contacts there, but I hope to find some. I think a good performance in 2005 World championship would be an excellent visiting card. Racing in the Supercross is my dream, it has always been, and I'd like to be the first Italian doing good in the States, no one has succeeded yet. I'm not worried about moving; I live in Sicily and these last years I've always had to move to stay close to the team I was racing for, so I'm used to staying away from home._Maybe you're attracted by dollars as well, aren't you?_
Of course I am. I'll give you an example: I won Namur, which earned me only O900 as Prize Money, which is really a small amount of money! Someone told me amounts in the USA are quite different... Moreover, if you consider that in 2005, Youthstream (the World Championship promoter) is going to take out the prize money, you'll have a whole nice picture of the situation and understand why the young emerging riders that race in the World championship want to go to America._What kind of arrangement did you have with the De Carli team this year?_
Well, this year I've had a special agreement; I raced with all expenses paid, which includes bikes, spare parts and so on. But as a reward I just had the Prize Money, so I only gained according to my final position. For 2005 I will have a different agreement that let's say... is more interesting._Do you keep yourself up to date with what is going on in the USA?_
Yes, I like to be well informed about what is going on there, and I do that through websites and the dirt bike magazines._You've got a spectacular racing style; do you draw your inspiration from any particular rider?_
Yes, I like and admire Jeremy McGrath very much—I think he is the best rider ever. I studied the videotapes and DVDs about him very carefully, trying to understand his tricks and put them into practice. I'm curious about seeing him in action again during the SX races he is doing next year. As for my riding style, I draw inspiration from no one in particular. I like jumping very much, so I like Supercross and Freestyle motocross. However, since the show doesn't always pay you in terms of the best trick, I had to calm down during the GP, but if it came down to me, I would always whip my bike.