Do you have to get used to speed? You spend ten months of the year racing, practicing, qualifying and testing and then have a two-month off-season ‘black-out’ where you don’t even see a Grand Prix bike. What are those first laps like at 200mph?
It is strange how fast it comes back because you’ve had two months without any real speed and then we always go to Malaysia for the first test. On the first lap we are up to 330kmph almost immediately, that’s 200mph. It feels like being on a rollercoaster. But within three laps you then feel nothing. After the first run of the day you might complain that the bike is a bit too powerful or too fast and your eyes won’t be up to speed but once you are used to it and you get your head around it then by the second run the bike isn’t fast enough! We always want more power. There is probably only one place on the calendar where we don't want more speed and that’s Mugello [Italy] because there is a jump at the end of the straight! There is a study – and I think it is true from my experience – that there is little difference in perception from 200kmph to 400. I’ve done the parade lap at the TT and it feels a lot worse than racing here in MotoGP because everything flies past so fast in that ‘tunnel vision’, whereas here things are further away and you don't feel that effect: the brain doesn’t notice it somehow. The acceleration to 200kmph is where you really get the g-forces. It doesn't have that much effect on your body when you are tucked in but it hits you coming out of the corner and from other factors like the wind.