When things are going bad like in my WSBK
years, coming back to my motor home and finding my boy there smiling at me meant that it didn't matter whether I'd finished first, last or whatever. His smile takes everything away and levels things out. The fact that the compression damper's out just doesn't matter, it makes everything real. They're always going to be there for me and I'll always be there for them.
Do your children or wife ever call you 'Shakey'?
My son sometimes jokes about 'Shakey Byrne', but my wife calls me 'Shane' and my kids just call me 'dad'. My son often comes around with me. When I'm at a race I become someone to him, but apart from that I'm just his dad and that's all he knows. But Zack's done some TV interviews with me.
What would you say to Zack if he said to you he wanted to be a motorcycle racer?
I would say 'Whatever you want to do, I'll help you'. But I'd rather he picked up a golf club or played football, because this is a cruel sport.
There are a lot of people who are part time friends when things are going well, but don't call you when things are going bad. I would help Zack whether he wanted to be a cricketer or draughts player.
He's got a little motorbike at the moment, but 9 times out of 10 he's not that fussed about going out on it.
How can the sport be cruel?
It's an incredible small paddock and it's an incredibly small world and many of the people in that small world you wouldn't go out for a beer with, but you have to be nice to them because you might have to do something with them one day.
It's kind of hard because a football player may take six months out of a game because they've cracked a toenail, but they'll be OK because they're on 100K a week, but we struggle. If we don't get on the bike for 5 seconds someone else will jump on to it and the team gives them a job.
The team needs to put the bike out there and we put ourselves through a lot to make sure we're on the grid. There are a few riders out there with chequebooks who'll talk to teams in those situations; I think they're ruining the sport for those who want to make a living out of it.
I was asked why motorcycling isn't big in the UK, and I said that back in the day racers like Barry Sheene and Kenny Roberts were earning millions of pounds and living the dream. Nowadays you hear of a footballer smashing up their Ferrari but if you look at the BSB
paddock, it's 'Shakey got caught speeding in his Vito [van]', it just doesn't have the same effect!
At the end of the weekend some riders go back to being bricklayers or plasters and that's how our sport is at the moment.
Top riders - like other sports personalities - sometimes get criticism from online trolls, does it bother you?
Not really, although sometimes you'll read something and think 'What the f**k do you know?' You never meet these people because they haven't got the balls to say something to your face.
There'll always be some haters whatever you do in life. I just think 'You crack on mate, because at the end of the day, I'm the one who's come from a council estate and is now enjoying the life I do and work at something I love'.
When does pre-season testing start for you and what are you testing?