I think there's also a good mix and variety of guys in the team so you can bounce things off one another. Especially at evening times when all the tools are down, the bike's packed away and you're on the way to the hotel. Everyone has a drink, you can chat things over and it's like a bunch of mates going out for a Sunday evening.
It was never like that at Honda, there's an extremely corporate atmosphere there that beats the fun out of it. It was like if you had a smile on your face, there was something wrong. Whereas at TAS, even after a sh*tty day when there might have been a crash or a fall, you can brush off the negatives of the day with a few drinks and laughs and the next day you're back up to speed again. I think that's a great balance to have.
So you're set to stay at TAS for a while?
I've only ever had year by year contracts. In all teams I've ridden for it's always been like that.
There's no use a team holding you to ransom to stay there if you're not happy nor would I want a team to have to retain me if they weren't happy with my services. If you've had a great year and agreed the terms for next year then perfect, if you can't agree terms, no harm done, each goes their own way and you wish each other the best. I'm happy there but then there's always every motivation to move on to bigger and better things, I don't want to rule out any opportunity that may come my way in WSBK or MotoGP.
Are you planning a long term commitment to the TT?
I'd like to, but short circuits are still my main priority. The TT at the moment has been like perhaps a satellite plan running in conjunction with BSB and if a contract I was pursuing clashed with the TT then it would have to take second place and I'd continue my short circuit aspirations. If the chance is there though, I'll continue to do it.
You would certainly need to take part for at least a couple of years before you could expect to win anything, even if you had a great team and good motorcycle skills. I feel I did a great job this year to start with though. I set the record for fastest newcomer and I feel that was probably the best I could hope for and that has already happened. I think that a top ten result in Superbikes on a first visit there, you could even say was exceptional.
The circuit has so much to offer in itself and regardless of which position I finished in, it was the single most rewarding thing I've done in my life. It also carries the highest risk of anything I've done in my life and before you go you've got to do the maths and take your choice.
For the next year and the year after it I still want to be there and to improve, my problem is that I don't know how long it will take to win though, it depends on the individual. I took to it well but I don't know how fast I would improve. Having said that, the track does have a huge amount of enjoyment regardless of where you finish.
You also get a lot more pressure as you get closer to the front. I didn't have any pressure to perform and could just take it as it comes. When you go for your second or third years and you become one of the recognised front runners, like my team-mate Guy Martin, you must get a lot of pressure to do well, perhaps represent products and you'd also have your own expectations. I don't know how much I would enjoy that. Also when you start to represent a manufacturer and sponsors you kind of lose that feeling of doing it for yourself.
It's a fiercely dangerous place and if you got carried away you could easily make a mistake. I really, really enjoyed it as a first timer there without that expectation and we'd like to go back again, it's just that I'm not sure how much I'm looking forward to the hopes and pressure in the future.
Coming back to BSB, how would you rank the Suzuki against the main competitors?
I feel that the rules they've created in BSB have made an extremely competitive championship and they continue to alter the specs to restrict or help a bike depending on its results. I feel that our bike has some really strong elements that aren't actually being used to their full potential because of the rules and that other bikes are being given more leeway where their bike isn't as strong as ours.