4 or 5 weeks ago it was still affecting me off the bike, now after the rehab though, I don't have any day-to-day problems. It's on the motorcycle that we'll see where it stands. Maybe it's 100%, we'll just have to wait and see. Right now I feel fine, jumping on a 250bhp motorbike though, even when you're fine is a different matter.
So after a difficult 2012 season and frustrating injury, what keeps you racing?
That's what we do, it's the competitiveness. For sure there've been a lot of low points, I haven't been able to ride a motorcycle without pain since Sepang last year so it's been a long road and I've had 6 or 7 months with no fun at all, but the time will pass and we'll get back to where we need to be.
When you're 100% healthy, riding a motorcycle is what you started, what you have fun doing and what you love to do. When you're in pain though it's difficult to have fun and it's the competitiveness that keeps you going. You need to have fun and to do that you have to be healthy and that's what we're doing.
Going back to happier times, in AMA you were riding against Matt Mladin, was he the most competitive rider you have ever come up against?
Yeah for sure and those weren't easy times back then, I was having a lot of fun riding though. I can't say we got along that well either so it was great to beat him and to win, it was no cakewalk though. He taught me a lot about what to do and what not to do and looking back those were good days. I'm glad I don't have to race against someone of his tenacity again, that's for sure.
One of your finest hours so far was in WSBK, how did you do that?
I don't know, we just had a good year, but we had our ups and downs too. People often forget how many downs we had with mechanicals, crashes and big points gaps. I just got on the bike and pushed at 100% and we were able to win the championship. The things that came with it were new to me and new to Yamaha and I think that everything was so different and new that I didn't grasp what was going on and the records that were being broken.
I didn't bring all my crew to WSBK, just some of the people I thought mattered.
The overall speed in AMA and WSBK was about the same but there were more competitive guys who could do that speed. Me and Matt were about at the same speed in AMA and we were ahead, the difference in WSBK though was that there were 10 guys about the same speed as me and Matt and if I wasn't on my day in AMA I would finish second whereas in WSBK I would be 8th or 9th. The competition was just much more close
What was your perspective on last season, how do you rationalise that?
You don't really. I've never had a season like that before, we had a lot of mechanicals and problems and I also made some mistakes. It was just basically a really bad season and it shows how much the press and paddock's opinion can change in one year. If you can bounce back the next season it just automatically fixes everything though.
It shows who the real people are in the press and amongst the fans. In motorcycle racing it seems that you're only as good as your last race which doesn't say a lot for the fans of the people who are riding. I found it quite funny, but unfortunately that's the truth of it.
Usually I don't pay much attention to what people say online because they need stories to write about to get attention, but as regards what's happening behind the scenes with the rider and the bike, more often than not the fans are not getting the true story anyway because the factories won't allow it to be told.