The Honda deal was a little slow to come together though because of the red tape that had to be completed. During that time we heard that Shakey had turned down the [PBM] CRT ride and I then got the call from the team offering me the ride.
It was a tough decision, but I have to say it was a blessing in disguise that the Honda deal was taking so long because I was available when the CRT ride came up. Looking back, on top of the CRT offer, my firm options in BSB were Milwaukee Yamaha and Samsung Honda and I had to decide which direction I wanted to go in.
I had about a week to decide and in the end I had to go with my gut feeling that I had always wanted a shot at the World Championship. I felt that if I didn't do it now and it never came up again, I would kick myself for passing it by. So we sat down with Birdy and Phil and made a plan. My contract with PBM is for one year with an option for a second.
I've got a little unfinished business in BSB, but I've got time in the future to come back to it. Overall though I'm pleased the way things turned out.
It's tough in the CRT ranks when there are prototype bikes with 50hp more than you, smoking past you on the straights. Having said that though, it's seen as its own class and I have my own targets of beating the other CRTs. I'm getting closer every weekend and am really enjoying it.
Did you discuss the move with your brothers?
Oh at length. It was a question of positives and negatives in that if I had had a difficult year wobbling around at the back it could have a really bad effect on my career. You can weigh it up on riders who you might have come up against in the past though and I felt sure I could do a reasonable job in CRT.
We didn't know what level the bike would be at, but in the end both John and Eugene agreed that I'd have to go for it and give it a shot and I've surprised myself with how competitive I've been able to be early in the season.
I've had plenty of doubters saying that I didn't win [the title in] BSB last season so why should I move to MotoGP, so it was great to be the second quickest CRT rider in pre-season tests and I've shocked a few people who realised that I really can ride a bike.
When I was young I had always wanted to get into the World Championship but thought you had to go through the Spanish system to get there. I always aimed for World Superbike because I thought it would be more realistic, so getting into GPs fulfilled an ambition.
How does Paul Bird split his time between MotoGP and BSB?
Quite evenly though it's actually Phil Borley who is the manager for the MotoGP team and he handles the majority of things with Paul being available as back-up. Paul pretty much manages the BSB team and is onsite for the BSB events but not the MotoGP ones. The GP team is smaller than the BSB team but it's a well-run operation.