Whenever I was knocking around the WSS paddock I'd always gone in to say hello to them so I knew Giuliano through that. He did this event, and he's quite a fast rider to be fair, and we were just joking around afterwards and I was being quite cheeky. He told me what lap time he had and I said 'That's pretty good, if I give you a contract for Supermoto then maybe you'll give me one for World Supersport', he'd just done a deal with MV.
He laughed about it, it was all a bit tongue in cheek, but you never know. He said it wasn't going to happen but that he'd look out for me in the paddock.
When I got home I got a phone call and I was expecting him to tell me what teams he'd been speaking to but he just said 'Right, I'd like you to ride for me'. It was just unreal. It was a great day.
I'd made a gentleman's agreement to ride with a team in BSB and I had to OK it with them because I really don't like going back on things. I explained the situation to them and they were very good about it. We hadn't signed a contract; we'd made plans though.
It was all a bit of a dream and I couldn't comprehend what was going on, looking at a picture of this beautiful little MV and thinking 'I'm going to race that!'
How are you paid?
Haha, It was a bit of a shock to the system the whole road racing enterprise.
I'd spent a good few years in Supermoto and I decided, 'Right we're going into road racing and it's going to cost us a lot of money'. I had a lot of good sponsors behind me such as Silicone Engineering, when I went into racing in 2010 and that's pretty much the only way to go straight into it. I don't really have commercial sponsors, I class them more like friends who happen to have good businesses and help me out which is just amazing.
2010 was a difficult year in that I was about half way to budget and had to make the rest up from savings and then the last few years have been pretty much at a level. There's no real financial incentive, I went from being at the top and earning money to learning the trade again.
When you get near the top again though you can start getting bonuses and it can go from, a negative to a massive plus but I wasn't really thinking about the money side or else I could have stayed doing what I was doing. I wanted to prove myself at something else after Motocross and Supermoto and once I finish with Road Racing I already have an idea of what I want to do next!
Have you ever worked with your current crew before?
No I haven't. Funnily enough my crew that had gone to Giuliano have now gone to Yakhnich and Sam Lowes so they had a good year.
My crew this year has been fantastic. My main guy is Flavio, very understated and quiet and looks like he's in slow motion but does a huge amount of work, it's just the way he goes about things. He worked with Sylvain Guintoli last year so he's got a good pedigree. Then I've got 2 Simon's who are my bike mechanics and as a group we get on really well. That's really important, it's something that happened in my Supermoto days, I had that atmosphere again at TAG and I've got it again this year. A fantastic productive atmosphere.
You're in a very pressurised situation so if you're with people who are your friends and you respect it works.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the bike?