Obviously you've worked with a lot of world class riders within your Rizla Suzuki (BSB) team - do you see any similarities between, say, a John Reynolds and a John Hopkins
in the way they work or the way they ride?
Well I guess professional sportsmen are all different in their approach and in the way they do things, but ultimately they are all completely committed. The best riders, their commitment is just unbelievable.
I was out watching Hopkins going through the stadium section at Jerez last week and his corner entry speed was like a Formula One car! He is just so committed to going quick. Hopkins has got a very focused and very professional approach to his racing for a 21-year-old. He is only going to need to start knocking on the door and it's going become very clear that he's a big talent.
Kenny Roberts Jr has gone through a difficult couple of years since winning the world championship, but he has the talent, the fitness and the overall ability to make it happen. We're trying to put a bike under him that gives him the confidence to get his game back up to the level where it clearly can be.
So what do Hopkins and Roberts have to do to impress you this year - obviously you've mentioned results, but is it more than that - perhaps how they motivate the team, or their consistency?
The race result comes as a result of what you put into it, what I'm looking for - and I don't think it's too much to expect - is 100% effort for every lap of every race. That's all you can ask for and I think the guys are ready to provide it. The results will come - to a significantly improved level (over last year) with the equipment we've got now - if that commitment is there (from the riders). Suzuki's commitment is at that level and to impress me that's what I'm looking for from them.
That means using the best that's under them at every race; if at a given race the GSV-R is only good enough for twelfth place - for any reason - so be it, that's where we've got to finish, and at the next race if the GSV-R's good enough to stick it on the podium, that's what I expect them to do. So it's a question of 100% effort all season and keep looking at the big picture.
Is there anything that you think MotoGP can learn from BSB?
Well you know, it'd be kinda nice to put some silencers on the bikes for a start so you can actually hear yourself think. That'd be the first thing I'd do. I think the fans like the noise on a race day but, gees, it's just too loud.
But aside from that, the MotoGP people said to me before I went there that it's very corporate and a little bit snobby or what-have-you, but I've not seen that at all. I haven't had time to go and speak to many of the guys, but the other team managers I've met have been straight forward, good guys, very helpful, very friendly people.
Everybody is out there competing and trying to win, but the pressures of that are the same at any level you're racing at. We're all trying to get a job done and there's no question that whether it's BSB or MotoGP there's a lot of dedicated people. But no, I've not really found any negatives so far - let's wait and see what happens when we start to go racing.