I think Paul wants the MotoGP team to grow, Stuart Bland (co-ordinator from the BSB team) was here recently to check us out with regard to staff requirements and Paul is also investing in a larger hospitality unit for the rest of the season. Paul has another year's contract with Dorna and I believe wants to extend that into the future for a fully British team for British riders to be able to make that step up.
How did you feel sitting on the grid for round one in Qatar?
I'm quite level-headed that way, it didn't really affect me. Without being blasé about it, it was a bit of a non-event. We were really struggling, I had qualified last so I was just having a craic with my team on the grid and just going through the motions.
It was strange because it was a night race with no crowd, so I kept the lap times consistent and passed one guy in the race. We were on the back foot there because the bike had arrived so late and I didn't want to put us backwards by crashing.
I was far from comfortable on the bike at that stage, we hadn't got the chassis or electronics working so I just tried to get my first MotoGP finish under my belt. Phil Borley is acting as my crew chief and the bike is his baby so I brought it home and did what I could.
What is the difference between your bike and Yonny Hernandez's?
Yonny is running the full Aprilia customer bike, the ART, it's quite similar to the World Superbike RSV4 with a slightly modified frame for the Bridgestone tyres.
The only Aprilia part on my bike is the engine, with the rest of the bike constructed by PBM. PBM is classified as an official constructor. PBM have built their own chassis, put the Aprilia motor into it and added the control Magneti Marelli ECU.
It's a very different bike to Yonny's, with different airbox, frame, exhaust and totally different ECU.
For the first three rounds the ART was a lot more competitive. I rode it in testing and it was a far more sorted package. Our target is to get closer to that level and at the end of Jerez I felt that we were almost at an even keel with it. Our target is now to get to the level of the Aspar ART bikes within three rounds.
Why two different types of bike in one team?
Yonny did a deal where he would only ride the ART and didn't want the development bike. He wanted the proven package.
Until I signed up, it wasn't clear whether PBM would be running another ART or go the development route. Some time after I signed up though Paul gave Phil the all systems go to develop their own bike, the PBM1, which was the goal when starting the team.
That was in December and it was January before they really got going. I signed knowing that I would be riding the development bike and that it would be tough, but I felt sure it would come good as the season went on.
It was a little tougher than expected. I tested the ART bike at Sepang and jumping onto a comfortable, developed bike was almost too easy so coming onto the unrefined PBM1 was hard. There's light at the end of the tunnel now and we know what we need to work on to develop the bike step by step.