I got on their 2011 bike with the Dunlop tyres and everything and I went fast immediately, like straight from the second or third session. I was straight down to the times that Takahashi and Pirro were doing [on the same bike at a race].
The second day I came away from the test joint fastest with Corti and all the other top riders were there. At that time it looked like I'd jumped on a sorted bike and it was like 'what's the problem? I've adapted to the bike already'. It took me a couple of sessions to get used to the tyres but once there I was going as fast, if not faster, than their previous riders.
It felt a bit like when I went from Superstock to Supersport but a bit bigger jump.
So what happened in 2012 with Gresini?
At the beginning of 2012, they turned up to the official test, a couple of weeks before the first race, with a very different bike. It had a different chassis, the same manufacturer, but a new chassis and a completely different make of suspension; they'd changed to Showa.
That suspension had never been tested on a Moto2 bike and the whole thing was a disaster from the first test. All of a sudden, back on the same track, only a couple of months down the line we couldn't get to within two seconds of what we did on the old bike.
Why was the change made to Showa?
You tell me. I think it was more of a money issue or some deal they had come to. Showa's a great manufacturer but it had never been tested on a Moto2 bike, so we were going into a race with equipment that wasn't even close to what everyone else had. We were the only team using Showa and it was mission impossible.
The suspension was probably the biggest thing holding us back in 2012, but we also had issues with the Moriwaki chassis not being developed while the other chassis were being worked on and improved.
The problem was that we had changed chassis and suspension at the same time and there were too many variables, we had no base line to work from.
To try and get a handle on it and work on one of the variables we changed to the Suter chassis during the season. That seemed like the easiest way to start, given that we were contracted to Showa, but we just continued getting the same problems.
To make things worse, the Suter is also a very difficult bike to get right. It's got a very, very small window where it works right. So if you've got no testing and have other problems on the bike, that doesn't exactly help. We just never got into that Window. We were turning up at circuits with no baseline and no data and were 20 steps behind. At that level if you're slightly off the pace you're nowhere.
Did you get on with the team?
Yeah, within the team, my mechanics and crew chief were great and we got on really well, it was just the politics of being contracted to unsuitable products which was the problem.