They've definitely been positive for the championship. I don't necessarily endorse the shootout system and it wouldn't be my personal choice. It just seems fairer to me from the rider's point of view to have the traditional points tally, but when I see the dwindling numbers on the grids of Superbikes and MotoGP and then you see we've got a full grid of Superbikes in BSB, whatever they're doing it's on the right track.
When you've got a great crowd for a domestic championship, with great competition and racing, something is right. It makes a great opportunity to attract new sponsors. Our jobs revolve around keeping the championship healthy so when a championship is this productive, you can't really question it.
You always look incredibly miserable when you come second in a race in the post-race interview, are you aware of that?
I'm certainly aware of it, and I try, I try not to do that! I watch it and it definitely doesn't look good. There are guys who've raced for years in BSB and have never made it onto the podium and there I am pulling a big sulk because I'm second? I do feel a little critical of myself and think that I should show a little more respect.
My problem is that I can't help my own feelings, if I come second I don't feel I did myself justice, I should have done something better or am thinking how I can improve next race. It definitely comes out in my personality that I'm disappointed to come second, but then when I watch it back later I think that it might not be a very good attitude to have and I should be a bit more happy. I guess I just can't change how I feel.
When you arrived in BSB, you initially got a reputation as someone who raced too hard?
I don't feel I was portrayed very well. I certainly didn't feel I got a warm welcome. I don't know any of the people personally who I feel didn't give me a fair chance, but I certainly don't hold a grudge. Nobody actually came out to me to say that they were disappointed that I'd arrived in BSB, so I wouldn't know who to talk to anyway.
I don't blame anyone because you can only form an impression according to what you can see, read or hear and if you're seeing, reading and hearing the worst things then you're going to make a bad impression. My problem was that the reported facts weren't accurate to the situation.
When I first signed for HM Plant, the general opinion seemed to be that there were plenty of good Brit riders and why do we need another international rider so I was already on the back foot there.
Then, the team wasn't set up to employ international riders and I couldn't get a visa until Honda UK as a company were registered as a sponsor with the UK border control. Until they did that I could do nothing. I then missed the first round and the public's thinking, 'Is this guy an idiot, doesn't he know how to fill in the paperwork?' so I get slated again.
I did OK in my first round and then I went to Donington Park. There the brakes failed and I crashed into Sylvain Guintoli. Honda would have been held liable if they had admitted fault with the machine. So the only way to avoid liability was to say it was a rider error and if it's rider error it just goes down as being a racing incident.
So you're saying that the team said it was a rider error when they might have known it was a technical problem?
Oh absolutely, they knew 100% it was a technical problem, but they couldn't admit liability and publicly and in the press it became a rider error.