How did 2011 turn out for you personally, compared to what you expected?
"Personally, I was hoping that we would get the bike a bit more competitive throughout the season. At the end of last season the bike was getting strong and we expected to keep going, but we did not seem to make too much of a step, whereas the other guys did make a bit of a step. But also in qualifying... the format, the way it is laid out, it makes qualifying position really important and nine times out of ten we would have a bit of an issue in qualifying. Starting races from row three, four or five always made the result difficult. Towards the end of the season we made the bike more competitive and consistent, but if we qualified a bit far back then we would finish sixth, seventh or eighth. In a race those are normally not good results to have but from where we came from it wasn't too bad."
At which point of the season did you realize that there was going to be a decision for you to stop, either from you or from BMW?
"There was no real discussion right up until Germany, I guess. That is where we started to discuss next season. They were honest with me and told me they were speaking to other riders as well, what with the Yamaha and Aprilia situations changing and so on. They were entitled to because my contract was only for the end of this season. That is when we started talking about other areas and what their ideas were."
Are you relieved that you will not be racing on Sundays now, or are you still not quite sure about it?
"I think I am still not sure! I have been doing it for about 20 years now so it will be a bit different, but if I keep busy I think it will be OK."
What is your overriding feeling as you look back over your career?
"Obviously satisfied with what we achieved over a long career. One, for doing it for as long as we did at the top, and two for winning championships and Superpoles and that kind of stuff. If we get the results along the way it makes it more gratifying."