We both wanted to start racing in '93, I wanted to do motocross because I thought road racing was boring and he wanted to do road racing. Whatever we did though we wanted to do it together, so we were outside the NEC and decided to toss a coin to decide. We tossed the coin, it came up road racing and we went inside to get all the information we could about it so that we could ask my dad to see if we could do something about it. My mum and dad have always been so supportive of whatever we wanted to do; they never had any money but always figured out some way to allow us to chase our dreams.
It was my dad who got me my first bike, an MBX80, which I've still got and is my most important possession. I bought it back from another rider in 2001 and my Dad spent all of last year rebuilding it from parts lying around the garage, he was fighting bowel cancer from the end of 2011 and finally lost his battle on 19th Sept 2012 - ironically my birthday. He was terminal but hid that fact from the whole family until his final day just so he could be treated as normal and not be a burden on anyone. He must have been in incredible pain working away in the garage in freezing conditions but he did it because he knew how important it would be to me.
As I was on the road driving or flying to GP races it was easy for him to hide everything from me. On the phone he would always swerve the subject of his illness every time I asked how he was and wanted to just talk about my racing. Words cannot describe what an incredible person my Dad was and anyone who knew him will agree. I just hope I can be a fraction of the father he was to me to my 'soon to be' little boy.
Do you have a motorbike you ride on the road?
No, the only one I've got is the motocross bike that Tamworth Yamaha gave me this year to train on, the only time I liked being out on the road was on the back of my dad's bike when he used to take me to athletics meetings or our regular trips to Devils Bridge. I was never really that interested in having a road bike.
Having said that, I just love riding motocross. We go to Texas in the winter for three months so Sarah can spend time with the family and I can be outside trials riding and motocrossing. I'm not that good though, if you saw me on a motocross bike, you'd think I can't even ride it, I'm shit on one but I just love going around in circles and wearing myself out.
It's more of an endurance thing because of the types and muscle groups that it works. All the work I do in the gym isn't lifting big heavy weights or sitting on a bloody machine, it's all stuff to do with balance and trying to get myself in positions that tire out muscles that are being stressed on the bike. That's all you can do without actually riding a motorcycle. So basically, the best thing you can do other than riding your race bike is to ride the motocross bike.
Colin Edwards said recently that taking an over-structured approach to training can set you up for problems in the race in case you miss some?
That's what I was saying about being prepared. If you don't do the training then you can feel that the blame for a bad result is yours even if it isn't. So that is true. When I was doing a lot of travelling in the world classes and didn't get to do any training it could get into your head a little that you hadn't trained so that's why it's important to do it though regardless.
Colin Edwards seems very relaxed about training and I don't think he's ever run in his life. Don't get me wrong though, I think he's downplaying it a bit because he does a hell of a lot of motocross riding. I went to his boot camp this winter to do some preparation and got some idea of that. He keeps it low key but he does a huge amount of preparation and is totally serious about racing. As far as getting into a gym though, he's not bothered.
The thing you've got to consider is that there's a new generation of riders now, I know Marquez is in the gym, Pedrosa's in the gym and you can be damn sure that Lorenzo's always there and these are the riders leading the championship. It does make a difference.
How did you get into MotoGP in 2004?