Ahead of his debut with the Milwaukee Yamaha team, Tommy Bridewell chats to Crash.net about his excitement for the new season.
Do you feel as if your career proper starts here?
No, I wouldn't say that. I feel like it started last year really. But this year has been the first one where a strong team like Milwaukee Yamaha have backed me.
I think that the ride with Halsall changed my life a bit and they were simpler times with a smaller team. Here there are a lot of team duties but I'm happy to do them for the team and the great ride I've got.
Having said that I've always known in myself that I could do it but now I've got the people around me to bring it out
My life has changed a little in that I'm now training twice a day now and putting everything into my racing but unfortunately because of that commitment for this weekend I think I've probably overtrained a bit. Sometimes you train so much that you can feel a little drained.
The problem is that when get into a training routine you can't stop yourself.
Riding for Yamaha is now my full time paid job and that means that I don't work full time any more because I've got to commit myself to the team and their schedule. My problem is that I've developed such a work ethic that I still do some work at the family workshop between training and other commitments.
You're testing with the fast guys but not absolutely at the front, can you make up the difference?
We've had a decent preseason test but at Brands we've only had a little extra session. My times here are actually what I'm looking for but my position obviously isn't. I set myself little goals for each session and I feel I've achieved them but I'm not exactly over the moon.
We've had some massive problems with the chassis here which are probably specific to this track. We're running the bike really, really low which has made the bike difficult to turn in. At the moment we're raising the bike quite a lot to get a bit more weight transfer. Josh is running his a lot higher than me which means that he can point and squirt more and ride more agressively.
My bike's more low and stable which would be fine at Silverstone but here it's holding me back.
At least we know what the problem is so I'm not too worried. I'm also running a pretty old tyre so that's not too bad. We're not worried. The problem is that Shakey's got a good bike and he knows it, for him it's like putting on a pair of old slippers - you know they're going to be comfy, so we're going to have to get it right but we're not far away.
You mention targets, do you have a target for the race?
Sure I've always got targets and I've always got to convince myself that I'm happy when I meet them but I never am unless I'm always fastest and winning everything but I have to be realistic and as long as I can start the championship on a nice steady note to bring home some points then I'll be OK. Wherever I can be I'll be, but I'm not going to try to be a hero.
Is this the new mature Tommy Bridewell talking?
Yeah, for sure. I can lose the championship here but I can't win it, particularly at this track.
This track's a tricky little one really because you need a fast reacting bike and if you're one tenth off you can lose a lot. The settings I started with were good for Silverstone or Assen but here we're having to do a bit of work.
Do you feel the proverbial 'monkey on your back' regarding a win?
No, not really. I'm not over desparate to go out and win.
I used to be a pretty desparate rider where I'd always feel the absolute need to win and if you're like that, if you have an off day you maximise the pressure on yourself and you're sat in your motorhome feeling down. I want to win the same as any other rider but now if I don't win I know it won't be down to my attitude or preparation. With the team I've got and the effort I'm putting in it'll come and a rider who puts in the effort deserves it. Either way you can be sure I'll be trying exactly 100%.
Do you feel you're doing Ollie proud being where you are now?
Yeah and in a way it just adds that little extra pressure on myself because I so want to make him proud of me and if I've have a bad day I not only feel I've let myself down but also also him. That does drive me not to have those bad days but also when I do to keep my head up and rectify them.
The day Ollie was killed was the day I started taking my career seriously and it's really strange how it changed me and kept me commited to the sport. I think the loss gave me the impulse to do it for him and my first win will definitely be for him as well.