Former 500GP and WSBK star Anthony Gobert is planning to break into the World Supersport top five at his home Phillip Island round this weekend - before stepping onto a Suzuki World Superbike machine for the following Valencia round and then heading for the Spanish championship.
"It was really good!" the enthusiastic Australian said straight after finishing 12th for Yamaha GMT 94 as a stand-in rider at Qatar. "I didn't really know what to expect because it was a really last minute deal - I hadn't ridden Supersport since 2002, had never raced Pirellis, never been to this racetrack, brand new team - it was a big learning experience and I'm just really happy.
"It was just a shame it was wet on Thursday, because we missed a whole day of set-up, and I feel if we'd had the extra day I would have qualified better and finished better because I was 22nd at one point in the race and finished up 12th - and was still going forward.
"Hopefully at Phillip Island I'd like to qualify on the second row and, if I can, then I'd love to get a top five for the boys. The plan for Qatar was to finish around 10th - 12th at the lowest - and we finished 12th after missing a whole day, so considering that I'm really happy.
"I can't believe how good the R6 is and the boys as well, they deserve a lot of credit, they've worked really hard and it's been difficult to communicate because they don't really speak English. Luckily we've had a bit of an interpreter, but it's been hard because I come in and say what I want and they're kinda scratching they're heads a bit. Apart from that everything has been great."
And what are his racing plans for the rest of 2006? "I'm going to do Valencia on a Superbike, for a Spanish Suzuki team, and then do the Spanish championship - it should be good," replied the 31-year-old.
And was it good to be back racing again?
"Yeah it was. I had pretty much a whole year off from mid-2003 to the start of 2005," he confirmed. "I went from Yamaha in America, which was really professional, to a brand new Ducati team and the team just wasn't really together. We butted heads from the moment the year started so at mid-season I said I was leaving and they said 'you're sacked anyway' type of thing.
"Anyway, I'd had enough of it and had a year away, but then I decided I love bikes so I got back into it and did the Australian championship last year - and was going to do it again this year - and then all of a suddenly I got a ring from the Spanish Suzuki team about a month ago, was really excited about that, and then got the phone call (from Yamaha GMT 94) to come to Qatar (in place of the injured David Checa).
"It's just sort of all happened for me in the last month and so yeah, I'm really happy," smiled 'The Go Show', a winner of eight WSBK races between 1994 and 2000.