Speaking of the Austin race, there have been guys testing there the last few days and there are still guys running around there right now. Is that a track that you are looking forward to? Have you been following them there, as well?
Yes. I was obviously looking forward to it. I love going to new tracks for the first time, and I love the challenge. I was watching a lot of Tuesday, I was flying home from Germany and I had a four-hour layover in Chicago and I was killing time and reading up on what the guys had to say about the track. It was frustrating. Obviously I hated not being there and I hated giving those guys a big head start. But I was reading some of the comments and checking out some of the pictures from the track.
My question is and you are one of the few guys that can answer it. How much have Moto Grand Prix bikes changed from the first bikes 990 that you rode through the bikes you ridden up to the 1000cc Ducati today?
There have definitely been some changes. I would say the biggest changes have been with the electronics. I would say yearly those electronics can change greatly with the amount of changes and things. I would say 800 was a big change, small changes and the electronics have really made a lot of steps and the tyres. There the tyres were such a big part of finding the right tyre, when you had a lot options.
One race weekend with the single-tyre rule changed the way you went about the weekend. You had your qualifying tyres and many compounds front and rear. I would say there wasn't probably wasn't as many options with the bike. A lot of times during the weekend you were testing tyres trying to find the right tyre for the weekend because tyres make a huge difference where you can really make or break your race. Where now we normally have two choices. We have a little bit shorter session which probably are justified because less changes now and it is probably more about dialing in the electronics.
And how much of an issue, how much of a challenge for the team has it been to go from down to 21 litres and now 20 litres and does this change of you what they ask as a rider?
Well, I think you would ask the engineers that, of course. I think it makes a difference. I think for me sometimes, I think how does a litre of fuel make that kind of a difference? But it does and really over a race distance makes a big difference. Last year with the 1000 we didn't have too big of issues with the fuel and it really wasn't a big part of it. With a couple of tracks that were a bit thirsty. Obviously, Japan was the one that was probably the thirstiest and Malaysia used to be until they took a lap off the race a couple of years ago.
On 800, I would say the fuel really changed the game a bit. Those things, to really keep the bike and the power and to go off smooth was more tricky, and there were times as a rider we have had to change some things. I remember one time on Saturday nights, realizing that we have to make a big change or we aren't going to finish the race. There were times we had to change the transmission to make it longer to make less RPM's to save a bit of fuel and they have all kinds of little tricks, and it all adds up.
Little grams of fuel and I mean on corner entry, you don't realise to help the bike get into the corner and less rear wheel locking actually uses fuel for that. There would be times you have to use that and if it was really dramatic a couple of times, you would have to use a different gear in a different corner. Use third gear instead of second. That hasn't been much of an issue lately, but there was definitely a time where you lost a lot of sleep over just fuel consumption.
Nick, what can you do now as essentially as a lead rider in your team to influence direction and I guess in the new organisation do you feel like you are being listened to?