In football, for example, players have their style fundamentally changed by coaches whereas in bike racing teams tend not to try to change a rider's style.
Many people even high up in the industry say that a style is a style and it can't be changed because a lot of people are scared to. Riders often ride on instinct and if you don't understand every little bit of what you're doing and know exactly what you're trying to change you'll just make a mess of it and make things worse. You've always got to work to fully understand every aspect of your style and my style certainly isn't fixed.
In a car you're fixed into it, on a bike though you're a large lump that can move around so you have to look at your style more in bike racing than in other forms of motorsport.
If I asked your friends to describe your character, what would they say?
I think most of my friends would say that it's the opposite to what they see on TV, I come across as quieter than I am. I also hope that they'd say I've got a dry wit, if you try to make a joke on camera though people never get it.
If you want to show character on TV, I believe that you have to be false. That's the nature of it, you have to play to the camera and blow kisses and do all the rest to be this great character and that makes me cringe. I don't like playing, I like to be myself and it's hard to get that across on camera so I guess I look slightly robotic.
Kiyo for example is an extremely funny guy; his English isn't the best though so if you put a camera in front of him he finds it difficult to express himself. 9 times out of 10 the character portrayed in the media isn't the genuine one. Casey Stoner was a victim of that, people believed he was a horrible person when that's really not the case.
Going back in your career, was it a conscious strategy to move to 250GPs?
Basically the opportunity arose and I couldn't turn down a ride with the LCR team. It was an uncompetitive machine but I thought I could make the difference as every rider does until they find themselves on a crap bike.
You think you're the top man until someday you've got a pile of scrap underneath you and you realise there's not much you can do. That was a great realisation for me as to how big a part the bike and team plays and that the rider's only one piece of the puzzle. As I said before, change has to come from the rider and the bike.
It did teach me about riding around a problem though. I had a problem with my crew in that they refused to change the bike and believed that this was a GP bike and I had to learn to ride it.
We found out in the end that there was a major problem with the chassis and it would spin the rear like a lunatic. They wouldn't work with me so I had to find what I could do to ride the bike and developed an ability to ride around a problem. That's not always a bad thing, there are times when you should do it and times when you shouldn't. On a Friday and Saturday you do all you can, on the Sunday though there's no point in worrying about problems, you've got to ride around them.
At the end of your 250 career you had a replacement ride on a WSS bike, did that change your career?