If you were 13th the year before and then ride in that way in a crucial race, controlling it as he did, it means he can keep his head cool at all times.
Another strength is that he can always find the very limit of tyre traction. That in combination with his cool headedness means that he can find the limit of the bike in any conditions. He goes out and finds the limit of tyre traction straight away and that means that at the start of the race he can often find a large gap. He's shown that in many races, while other riders need to speed up, Tom's already on it.
When it comes to cooperation or how we work together Tom is probably the best rider I have ever worked with. We really clicked from day one and it has something to do with character. We laugh about the same things and we both laugh at our own jokes. In the past my relationship with riders wasn't real but with Tom it is, and by the way, I don't even have any problem with his accent.
I think our personal bond and intuitive communication has helped us get this level of performance.
So you and Tom must spend a lot of time together?
No, we don't speak so much actually. I think that last year we created our system and how we manage the race weekend and now we don't need to speak so much. He knows what he has to do and I know what I have to do. After Thursday, everything will be clear and we know what to expect.
You know that when Marco Melandri does well, the TV cameras show Manuela [his girlfriend] - and when Tom Sykes does well we see you!
(Laughs) That's why I like to see Marco doing well actually!
And you always look very serious…
The camera is always on you and you don't know when it's recording, I don't look at the image all the time to see if they're recording me. Most moments when things are critical I'm concentrating very hard anyway. I may have a raised heart rate but I'm always checking the times and imagining scenarios that may happen and what countermeasures I can use to resolve them. I always try to be one step ahead.
Races are now not so tense though because working with Tom and getting these results has made it a lot more relaxed than the times when we were looking for results. Now it's a real pleasure to go to tests or race meetings, it's fun. I enjoy it.
It sometimes makes me a little emotional when people tell me how well we're doing. In MotoGP, it was nice and I was proud to be there but when you start getting these results at this level you feel very proud.
A journalist in Moscow actually told me that most riders think we are one of the best teams in the SBK paddock and I have to say that almost made me emotional because I didn't realise it. It really touched me, we've come a long way.