It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was thinking about the 2010 season and now here we are, it’s 2011! I think a lot of people forget that BMW is still new to World Superbikes. Considering where the project started, I think we should be proud of what we have achieved and as long as we keep progressing, the results are sure to come.
We have made progress in many areas since the end of last year and there has been significant improvement in the rideability of the bike, especially with regard to the way the power is delivered and the feel of the throttle connection. The throttle connection used to be aggressive, but now the connection feels much smoother and that is a good thing. Our biggest problem though, remains the same…. and that is getting the bike to manage the tyres during a race. Things that don’t happen in regular practices and qualifying sessions, happen in the races, usually after a certain number of laps and that is the quite often the reason that I start well and then cannot keep up the pace.
That is frustrating sometimes and it would be easy to just run around and finish. But I believe that the bike is capable of podiums in every race and that’s what I’m trying to do.
I have a new team mate this year – Leon Haslam. We get on very well and I think the team are finding it a bit easier having two riders who both speak English as their native language. From the first time Leon tested the bike, he has told the team the same things about what it does, as I do. That’s good because it re-enforces my comments and this means that we will continue to progress.
This year the team has a new boss (Bernhard Gobmeier) and both Leon and I think he is helping us all move more quickly in the right direction. He talks to me and Leon a lot, both at the track and away from it, and genuinely seems to take onboard what we are saying. He seems to have the ability to move things on and this is a positive step for the future.
Over the winter months, I trained hard and thanks to that and tremendous support from my personal trainer and nutritionalist, KO, I am probably in the best condition I could be. My weight is just around 66 kilos and my whole winter programme was designed around me being in the best possible shape for the start of the season and that’s what I have achieved. Physically I am probably as good as I can be and mentally I still have the desire to win. I am still enjoying my racing and facing different challenges every time out and looking forward to my first podium and first taste of the champagne this season.