It's strange how it all works out. I actually feel a little bit cheated because I felt I was quite a good two-stroke rider. In 1995, I was top privateer in my first year - I was 21 years old and arguably had quite a good future ahead of me. It all went wrong because I jumped into the most wanted seat in the paddock, riding a factory Ducati bike, and I wasn't ready. I was expected to be the man and I wasn't and I lost my job.
If you end up in a situation where you don't think you can win, then you won't, and I had people around me who I thought were better than me, and they were better only because I thought they were. If you think you can beat people, then you can - it's all mental, I'm convinced about that. Troy Bayliss
will always be successful because he just doesn't care, he enjoys it.
Troy is strong mentally. I feel like I'm always one step behind Troy. I was his team-mate in 1999 when he won the championship, then I won the year after. He then got into the factory Ducati team, and I did a couple of years after. He won the championship, now I've won it. He's gone to MotoGP and is doing well …..
Do you think it's an advantage that you have already been in GPs?
Definitely, because I know what it's like. I've done three years already - I came to the Assen GP and I know nearly everyone, so it's not daunting in that respect.
Is it a disadvantage for the British riders that they have such a strong superbike championship and then have to go to GP?
No, not really. I think it's better to have a strong superbike championship because superbike is always going to be the feeder for MotoGP. There are no real up-and-coming riders but, when they do come, if they win in Britain, they might have an interesting future in MotoGP.