As a rookie have you surprised yourself with how quickly you adapted to MotoGP?
Yes, of course. In the beginning when I came to MotoGP, I thought maybe my riding style would have to change and I would have to adapt it to the bigger bikes, but in fact I’ve made it work and now I’m feeling very comfortable on the bike. Since Germany I’ve felt more ‘at-one’ with the bike and able to play around on it a little more, rather than it leading me so much.
What do you attribute to doing so well this year, most other Moto2 riders have struggled initially in MotoGP?
Honestly I cannot say! We’ve just been working hard all season – since pre-season, and trying to learn as much as possible. Everyone at Honda has been great in helping me and I’ve learned so much. We approach each GP weekend in the same way, without pressure, just to study and absorb as much information as possible.
How difficult is the step is from Moto2 to MotoGP and what were the biggest challenges that you faced and how did it compare to moving from 125s to Moto2?
For me it was more difficult moving from 125cc to Moto2 than Moto2 to MotoGP. This year, as I said, the team helped me a lot. The first time I rode the bike, there were many things to control, I thought that I would never learn to ride the bike well: electronics, tyres, brakes, the correct riding line, etc. Now I feel very good on the bike.
It’s been a rookie season unlike any other but what were your own expectations before Qatar?
The idea was learn as much as possible to be ready in 2014. A year of adaptation to the new bike and from the half of the season to the end, try to make podiums and fight for one victory maybe.
Your style of riding receives a lot of publicity but what do you think of your rivals styles and what attribute of theirs would you like to incorporate into yours?
Honestly, this is the style I had in Moto2 and I guess in MotoGP it looks a little more exaggerated! I tried to adapt it but in the end I wasn’t able to, and it seems that it’s working!.
How much of a benefit have you felt from working with Casey’s crew from last year and being able to use his settings as a baseline ahead of most weekend’s?
The team really helped me a lot. The information from Casey was very useful, our riding style is similar, but some things changed. I had to adapt many things to me, not everything worked..
Has your relationship with Jorge and Dani changed during the season so far?
I don’t really have a relationship with Jorge away from racing, when I see him on the circuit I say ‘hi’, we shake hands and that’s it. And with Dani I have a good relationship and I have already learned so much from him and from riding with him on track, about how the Honda is ridden best.
At what point this season did you start to think that winning the title was a realistic goal?
I always try to do my best and try to be in the first positions, so I don’t think in long term things, I go race by race, but now it is clear that we have a chance and we can start to think about it.
Alex is continuing to impress in Moto3 and is now a regular podium finisher, have you offered any advice to him to win his first race?
Alex impresses us all the time. He’s doing better than me at his age! We always talk about races, so we give advice to each other. To fight for the victory, Alex has to learn step by step. Now he is fighting for podiums, so soon a victory will arrive, I’m sure. He has to be patient.
Outside of the MotoGP paddock have how has your life changed this year? Have you felt under greater pressure in Spain now that you’re a more recognisable sportsman on the world stage?
Yes, this year I noticed the change outside the circuits. If I go to a restaurant, people recognize me and they watch me, they ask me for signatures, pictures, but I can understand it. It’s normal and they are the fans and supporters, so without them, the support obviously is not the same.It’s not pressure what I suffer, just that people know me and they ask me for pictures and signatures, that’s it.