24 July 2013
James Ellison - Q&A
When he said he didn't do contracts in that final meeting, I knew he had me on a piece of string like a puppet and I wasn't taking anything for granted and was just trying to do my best every time I went out there.
Do you think you got due credit for being top CRT in France?
No, did I hell. That was the other thing, I was supposed to be paid bonuses when I did well, after I'd done well he'd say I had a bonus coming, but then nothing. I lost a lot of respect for him then because he didn't seem to be the man I thought he was.
It was hard for me because I loved everybody in the team, the mechanics, crew and organisers, but Paul had me on a piece of string and could drop me when he wanted to. I think he kind of enjoyed it being in that position; it was mentally draining for me though.
After France it was like 'Good ride, you've got to do that every race now'. He actually put it down to the fact that he'd given me a bollocking the week before, after I pulled in at Estoril. For the record, that was because we were having serious electronic problems on the bike, Casey was coming round to lap me, there was a big battle going on behind him and it was getting dangerous. It's the only race I've ever pulled in from but it was a big no-no with Paul, so he ended up threatening me that he'd put Stuart or Shakey on the bike for France, but then came to his senses.
Up to that point, we hadn't really had any help from Aprilia and it wasn't until after Estoril that we got some support from them to help sort out the problems we were having. You could see that as the year went on Espargaro and De Puniet were gapping everyone else, not just us, because their team was continually paying for upgrades. It wasn't really until the last three or four rounds that we finally got the new engine that they were using but I could only use it in the warm-up and race. We really needed to be able to use it in free practice as well to be able to dial it in and get a decent result.
But I guess by that time your relationship with Paul had deteriorated totally anyway?
I'd text him and try and call him after the weekend to let him know how we'd got on and I'd send the press releases over telling about issues such as gearbox problems - we had a lot of issues in the race which caused us to drop back just like the other Aprilia teams had stated in their press releases.
I would send those in press releases the way Power Electronics were doing so that people could understand why something had happened. Mine were never released though, they just sort of got erased and it was another weekend where I'd underperformed - I was thinking 'You're f*cking kidding me!'
In America I was in eleventh and the gearbox locked up, so I went off track. It took me about 30 seconds to get it back into gear and I then managed to get back into the points. It did that three times and I still got into the points and all I got for that weekend was that it had been a disappointing ride from me and that I'd underperformed - another word he liked to use. It took credit from the team because they'd worked flat out and that's all we got.
How was your relationship with Phil Borley?
I was getting on well with Phil, they were doing the best they could but I definitely felt his loyalty sway to Birdy on more than a few occasions.
Why do you think you were having those kind of problems?
I think that Paul just likes some riders and not others and it can be worse than that in that you can be liked one weekend and not the next. I think it's a power trip thing because he just likes to be in control. He can't control Shakey because he's got the championship won in the past and that if he walks away this season he'll leave him in the shit
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