You were 19th fastest today, how did you find things on track?
It’s quite a long lap and it’s tough to learn but I’m quite happy with the day. We’ve not used many tyres, just the hard tyre which Dunlop say is 0.7 or 0.8s slower, so I’m only 1.6s off the pace. I’m quite happy because I knew that this would be different to Qatar where even though it’s quite long there’s only really one line there so you just follow the rubber. Here’s there’s a lot of lines that you can use. If you look at the times from last year I’m a lot faster than they did, I know that you can’t really compare those sessions, but I’m happy to be only 1.6s off first after the first day. I know that I’m 19th but I’m actually quite confident. For me the position isn’t important because every time that I go out we’re improving. The bike is working well but obviously when you go from 2m13s to 2m11s the bike changes a lot so we have to look at that so that when we improve we don’t go round in circles with the setup. After the first day in Qatar I was about 26th and further from the fastest. I really feel mint and I’m enjoying the track. I’m feeling confident and it’s quite strange for me because usually if I’m down in 20th I’d be hiding under the table! I really feel that after doing so many laps on the tyre that we can make a step tomorrow.
You had an issue with your wrist in Qatar, is that healed now?
I feel mint and I feel really good on the bike. My wrist is mega now, I did some physio on it but it was work on my shoulder that seems to have freed up my whole arm. I think the wrist was compensating for the shoulder injury. I think that we’ll make a good step tomorrow and we can push to qualify close to the top ten and then you’re in with the guys and it’s a race tomorrow! The team have been saying that it’s a bit harder than Qatar because it’s a longer lap and while I can’t say now, when I’m down in 19th or 20th that I can win the race, that we’ll keep working away and can make a big step tomorrow. I’m not sitting here thinking that I can’t find time. I’ve got that 1.6s in me but it’s about how much faster they can go. If they go into the 2m09s maybe I can’t go there but I’ve got 2m10s in me and that should put me around the top ten. I’d be really happy to go out of here with a top ten and have two from the first two races.
What about the next couple of races, what are your targets for the coming races?
Argentina…nobody knows what they will be like but I absolutely love Jerez. When I look at this I know that it’s not Supersports and that there’s a load of good guys and it’s close. I don’t want to make excuses, because I don’t do that, but these are new tracks to me. I thought that this one could be better because they’ve only been here once but I think it still leaves you a little bit behind. I’ll have a sleep tonight and come back a bit better tomorrow.
When you first came here and looked out pit lane at the first corner, what were your thoughts?
I couldn’t believe how steep it was! I’ve done a lot of laps, watching on TV and playing games, and I thought it was just a bit uphill into turn but when you get here it’s well steep! I looked at it and thought that’s a bit different. When I walked the track I looked at some corners and thought, ‘that’s not really mint,’ but when I got on the bike I really liked it. I think it suits me as well because there’s late braking and you’re backing it into corners. Usually in Moto2 we don’t use first gear a lot, because of the electronics, but here we’re using first at the first corner, onto and out of the back straight and then the corners after the back straight.
Were you were you surprised at the undulations on the back straight?
Yeah, I thought that there was nothing there and then I started lifting it! That was one of the things that surprised me about the track but at a couple of corners I’m off line because I’m rushing in. A lot of the corners tighten up and I’ve been rushing it so I’ve been on the side of the tyre for ages so I need to go past the corner a bit and come back into the apex. I’m doing that a few corners so that’s costing me a few tenths. It’s easy to say that here but it’s not as simple when you’re out on the bike but I think that I’ll have a good sleep and come back tomorrow. I’m positive and we’ll see what happens.
What was the reaction back home after you came home from Qatar?
It was really good, everyone was saying it was great and that it was a solid ride. It was quite mature just to finish and get the points. I always want more from myself but I was quite happy to finish fifth given it was my first race and I think that a lot of people would be happy with that but the idea is to get at the front and on the podium. I’m not going to jump around doing cartwheels for fifth but inside I was quite happy. I think that once get back to Europe it will feel a bit more normal. It’s mint at the minute but I think that when we get to Europe I’ll really be able to get my teeth into it more.
Looking towards yourself and Alex obviously both of you had strong showings in your opening races this year and surprised people, how much pressure do you put on yourselves to perform at that level?
I think that we both put a bit too much pressure on ourselves to perform. This weekend I’ve tried to be a lot more positive. last year in WSS was obviously very different to this, I was first or second in pretty much every qualifying and race and then coming here and being 19th. Normally I wouldn’t want to speak to anyone after a day like this but I want to be logical about it. The pressure that I’m putting on myself is that by midseason I want to be with the fastest guys and fighting for the podium. I put a lot of pressure on myself but I’m trying to be patient. In the past I would have gone to Qatar and crashed my brains out trying to be first and in the race I would have tried to have caught that group with Luthi and suddenly a good solid sixth place is gone. I’m doing my best but trying to do it in a more grown up way. I want to just keep finishing the races and in 19 laps around here I can learn so much. When we get to midseason and tracks like Assen, that I know and love, I’ll be pushing myself to improve.
How close are you and Alex?
We’re really close, I think that it helps that we’ve got the same interests and that we train together and live together. We don’t fall out really and I think that we’re closer than a lot of twins because we do so much together. Racing is a funny thing because until you’ve been put in certain positions, like both of us fighting for the championship last year, it brought us closer together because we could talk about how we’d think, “tomorrow I can’t make a mistake, I can’t crash.” I had it at Magny Cours and I called him and having the same emotions, whether it’s twins or friends, it brings people closer together. We’re very close anyway and he’s my best mate as well as my brother.
In the CEV championship last weekend Freddie Sheene made his debut at that level. How did that feel for you after both of you got him out on track for the first time?
Yeah, it was our fault! Honestly the problem for Freddie is that it looked rubbish, he had about three behind him in qualifying and crashed in the race, but the amount of riding he has done isn’t a lot. That’s not an easy class and I think that in the race he could have battled with the guys in front of him. I think that maybe at the minute it’s a bit much for him but I think that he’s doing the whole season and he’ll improve a lot with more time on the bike. He went to Jerez last year and in two days did a 1m57s which is slow but he came back did a 1m51s this time. I know it’s easy to improve when you’re that far off but maybe next time he’ll do a 1m48s or 49s and then he’s not that far away. If he wants to do it that’s mint and he can do it so that’s nice.