JUST four days after winning the 2001 World Superbike title at Assen in Holland, works Ducati superstar Troy Bayliss let Motorcyclenews.com users quiz him about life, the Universe, and everything in another of our celebrity online live chat sessions.
The Aussie fielded dozens of questions from fans last night, thought many were eager just to say no more than "Well done, mate" to their hero.
Asked how it feels to be the best rider in the world, Bayliss characteristically replied: "Just the same as before I won the title really. I feel like someone should ring me up and tell I haven't won it."
And he added that he's not bothered he never got go head to head with WSB master Carl Fogarty, saying "they were different times" and that he never really thought about it.
Amazingly, Bayliss said he was much more excited after winning the MCN British superbike title in 1999 than he was taking his first WSB title at the weekend, and added: "The BSB series came down to the last round, whereas this one won't really sink in until the last race."
But he pledged to go all out for wins at the Imola season closer, and that he's unlikely to let team-mate Ruben Xaus in for a win if he can help it.
He wouldn't get drawn into a debate about Aprilia rival Troy Corser's on-off season, suggesting "he's got his reasons".
Unsurprisingly, he doesn't feel like trading his present Monaco home for the English midlands where he lived when a BSB rider, but said: "I miss the friends we had there, and the fish and chips. Not the weather though!"
Looking to his title defence season in 2002, Bayliss reckoned that his closest rivals will be much as this year, Ben Bostrom, deposed 2000 champ Colin Edwards, Neil Hodgson, and – intriguingly – Noriyuki Haga. Does Troy know something we don't? He's keeping it to himself if he does.
If you think all the Aussie superstars hang round with each other, you'd be wrong… Bayliss says he's only met GP legend Mick Doohan once, so hardly knows him at all. Other than that, he's matey with most of the people in the WSB paddock. Especially his team manager Davide Tardozzi, who he says has a great ability to make riders believe in themselves.
And how has life changed from his early days? Bayliss explained what it's like to go from a quiet Australian town to a worldwide hero and said: "It's a real turnaround, and hopefully even though it's all worked out I want to keep a low profile. I don't want to get caught up in all the rigmarole that you get with this job, because that is what changes people I guess.
"I know my home town has gone berko since I won, and I think if I'd been there the last few days I'd be in a bit of a state."
He and Corser live in the same part of the world, and though they get on and say hi when they see each other, Bayliss says the funny bit is that people mistake the two for each other. He said: "People come up to me for my autograph thinking I'm him, and they go away disappointed. Hopefully it happens to him too!" It looks like his hope for a low profile is paying off too… he was knocked off his bike while training Monaco a month ago by a car-load of Americans… and they didn't know who he was.
As you'd expect, a fair few questions were about Ducati's planned move into GPs in the nest couple of years, but Bayliss said until he's in the class he's not interested in it or how he'd fair on a two-stroke 500.
And looking to next year in WSB, he spoke of the rumours that Chris Walker might ride a Kawasaki in the series and said: "It'll be interesting. There might be a few tracks he'll need to learn, but I'm sure he'll remember how to ride a Kawasaki."
To read the full transcript of the chat, simply click on the link on the right entitled " Troy Bayliss: In his own words "