Oh man, probably the lowest point in my career was 97/98 when I got hurt and I was more or less out the whole year. That was hard to do, I was only 24 years old and found it really tough. There was kinda a light in the dark though because I got my Castrol Honda ride after that and won a couple of titles with them.
Probably the highlight, when you add a whole career together was Imola 2002 [the WSBK title decider against Troy Bayliss].
Other highlights were the three Suzuka 8 hour wins, one with Haga, one with Valentino and one with Kato. Those are all happy memories.
Those are all in the past though, in much easier times without electronics and without all the other stuff we gotta deal with nowadays. It was pretty bare knuckle stuff.
You say that the times were easier without electronics?
You know, it is what it is now. Some people are saying, 'Well let's take them all away to get better racing'. OK, if everybody does it then that's fine too.
One thing I would say though is that electronics have extended my career, let's say that. It's that safety net at the end of the day that doesn't allow you to flip yourself to the moon like in the old days. My career has definitely been extended by electronics, hell a lot of the development in electronics has been done by me in the last ten years. If you take them away, then you say 'there's ten years of work you can't use any more'.
Either way, if nobody has it, fine, we go back to the right wrist. If everybody has it I'm going to work to make ours the best out there. You could say they're bad from the racing point of view but good from the safety point of view.
The 2012 season has to have been one of the hardest of you career right?
Oh yeah, for sure.
We had a different plan that we wanted to do and we ran out of time. We were looking to use a Yamaha engine and doing something different last year and we just ran out of time.
Whenever we agreed to do the Suter thing, we got our asses patted on the back and promises and this and that and at the end of the day none of those promises came to fruition.
We were told that a new chassis was going to be built, that it was going to be a full team effort and in the end we were just given a package and it was 'There you go, thanks for paying us a sh*t load of money, we'll see you next year'. The BMW Suter just didn't work out like we were told.
If you talk to Suter, they'll tell you all day that it's the best bike out there and we believed a bit of it. We also believed that it could be improved and we didn't even have that. If someone throws you a package and puts hand cuffs on you, it's hard to make it better. There was no support there at all.