When you're young, you look at individuals and worry about them. Now I'm 36 years old I don't concentrate on Josh [Brookes] or Alex [Lowes], I just concentrate on what I've got to do, worrying about what other people are doing is completely irrelevant.
People sometimes ask me if I've got one more title left in me and my answer is that both Troy [Bayliss] and Max [Biaggi] won their latest title at 41 and did people ever ask them that question at 36?
It's probably because they are global superstars, but I'm a kid who was once from a council estate and now that I'm 36 and back in BSB
that I don't want to race any more. Nothing can be further from the truth. I'm really, really hungry to prove my point.
Is there any difference in your motivation for the 2013 season?
I'm now probably hungrier than ever to make this year count.
I felt incredibly hollow after winning the championship last season. When I finished the third and last race at Brands I was so, so happy and it was a massive buzz. However from a championship point of view all I'd done was achieve the same as other people [three titles].
That's never what I wanted; I wanted to be the top guy.
In order to safeguard that place in history, I think I'll need to win at least another 2 races which will mean that I've been the most successful BSB
rider ever. And if Kiyo won another one next season, he'd join me at the top so I need to guard against that. Also I need to do a good job in case I get called away to ride in MotoGP
Also there are always things thrown in the mix, I have to make sure I don't make the same mistakes as last year. Like at Thruxton
where I felt strong, went to the front and didn't make a break, and because I didn't make a break, had nothing left at the end to fend off the boys. Now I'm a little bit older and a little bit wiser.
If you could get rid of the new shootout format, would you?
Last season you were asked to test James Ellison's CRT bike, what was that about?
It was just to get some kind of direction from another rider. I rode the thing and thought it was in an incredible pickle. It was like this thing you were sat on top of with a mind of its own and I gave my indications as to what I thought should be done.
Could you have replaced James?
I don't think so, I might have had to ride the bike this year. For me I like winning races, I don't want to be trailing halfway round the world to get a CRT podium. I'd rather be competitive in a championship.
If Paul owned the Repsol Honda team, then of course I'd want to be on his bike. I think it's important to be happy and I think that the organisers of BSB
are doing a good job putting on an exciting show.
When you were following Josh Brookes in the last race of last season, with the title on the line, what do you think your team was thinking, 'pass Josh', or 'stay where you are'?