Not very well I think. Too many things went on behind closed doors that people don't see that made me look bad. It's a shame because I was grateful for the chance, I know as well as many people behind those doors that things could have been a lot better though, and should have been.
I started off in pre-season testing at the sharp end as quick as Ben [Spies, team-mate] and that gap between us in the results wasn't a true reflection of ability in my opinion. I feel I was given a bad set of cards throughout the season.
When I started riding the bike in Portimao, the bike was almost standard. I was third fastest in the tests and it felt easy to do those kind of lap times so I know what the potential of me on that bike was and we were quite far from that.
I believe things happen for a reason though and that experience made me stronger mentally and that reflected in my championship challenge last year.
In a way it's made me who I am, but it took me an extra two years to build myself back up from that year. I wasn't able to get a competitive bike and almost had to prove myself again.
But the results didn't seem that bad at Yamaha…
I was getting some fairly good results. At Qatar, a circuit I'd never been to, I finished fourth and I finished fourth at Assen too. Then for some reason I was finding it difficult to finish in the top five, top six and then top seven and was always slipping back. Like I said, without going into detail, I understand why that was now.
It's just that I understood where I could have been that year from the results I got on a wild-card ride, riding a bike which wasn't full superbike spec and then all of a sudden I'm on a full superbike and struggling to get results. That did knock my confidence but I think it had the effect of making me stronger mentally.
Are you a rider who likes to build up to speed?
I feel that I'm a lucky rider in that I have a quite sensitive feel and can understand where the limits are. So if I'm starting a project I always try not to cross that line. When I get the bike where I need it to be though then I feel I can go out and set a fast lap time straight away. I feel I'm able to judge circumstances well but yes in a way I do often build things up.
Are you a head rider or a heart rider?
A bit of both. Obviously I think I can ride with my head so as not to overstep the mark but at the end of the day every rider is there to win and I'm not shy to push the boat out if I need to.
Did you feel that Paul Bird helped save your career?
That's quite a statement, but all I will say is that I'm very grateful to Paul Bird. Dipping your hands in your own pocket's a massive thing and I have a lot of respect for him for doing that. I'm sure Kawasaki are too.