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Jeremy McWilliams saddle swapping again

Jeremy McWilliams saddle swapping again

Well, this year has been a catalogue of mishaps for me.

For anybody to move it´s going to be difficult and more so because it´s in the middle of the season. But despite the upheaval it hasn´t been that much of a hassle - the team and everyone at Aprilia has a common goal, they all want the same thing and that makes any kind of transition easier. Moving to another manufacturer would have been tricky, but it´s a move sideways so it´s still the same company and type of machinery.

Aprilia have an allotted budget and the RS team I started with were part of that plan. The money and resources ran out and the promises that were made to me were not fulfilled, so I moved across into Dieter´s team. I first started to hear rumours about a month ago but they didn´t bother me and then as the situation began to look more likely it all became a bit worrying, but Aprilia have been supportive and swapped things around.

The lack of testing was the main drawback, we were actually testing in the GPs, but I honestly believe that some sort of corner had been turned with my season at Mugello. I was running well there and the test we had after the GP with the new machines was superb. I was the fastest rider and the times that were clocked gave me a lot of belief in myself, the team and the progress we could make with the bike. Consistency is the key overall and that´s much more important than a few fast laps here or there in several GPs.

My new set-up has no sponsorship so that´s a little worrying, but the basis was there for a good team. They have the experience, the personnel and the facilities that a decent factory outfit should have. We lost some people in the switch but we have also gained experts in the suspension area which is fantastic for me, particularly after all the trouble I had on the 500 last year with tyres being shredded. It´s an area in which I felt that we had been lacking and now it´s onto the next step. Aprilia have been a ´God-send´; I can´t remember the last Brit to have 250 and 500 factory support in consecutive seasons and as long as they can offer me top class machinery for next year I would love to stay with them. They have shown a lot of confidence in me.

I´m still living off last year and what we achieved. I really want to get back in the 500s and I´m not going anywhere until I have scored some success there. This year though I am fully focused on the 250s and I´m riding the wheels off the thing at the moment. We´ve been dogged by some bad luck, like in Mugello (I lacked feel there) and France; the engine has failed twice, and I crashed once, which was totally my own fault. I have had chances to get in the top positions and there is no way I was just going to sit back and let the year slip by just because I´m in the 250s.

This season has been one of the biggest set-backs to my career. It´s hard to bounce back from all the confusion, but I am still so set on my racing that motivation isn´t a problem for me.

Today was really good and I was first until the last part of the session - it was slightly annoying to finish fifth after being fastest throughout most of the period. The three fast laps I set were on race tyres so that bodes well for how we will run. Seeing the times and realising you were fastest is a great ´lift´ and makes you believe that you are right up there and you can do it. If the bike is capable then I´m ready. I´ve regarded myself as the top British runner for a while now; no-one is matching my results and with the kind of consistency.

I have competed here at Catalunya for many years and I´ve slowly come to like the place. I think a few of the guys like Chris Walker will be thinking the same as I did when I first rode here. The track is very difficult to read because there are a lot of off-camber corners and it´s technically very tricky. Once you get a good lap here it can be a major boost to know that you have aced the circuit.

250cc, 2001, Gran Premi Marlboro de Catalunya, FP1

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