Whether or not you're a professional racer or just an enthusiast, you surely harbour dreams of making it big in a championship. And why not? The heady experience of a podium finish, holding that plate over your head as the fans and girls work up a frenzy is a memory that stays long after you've hung up your helmet.
It's really the habits and mentality that count in sports like WSBK and MotoGP. Even the most talented racer won't make it far if he doesn't practise winning habits and championship mentality.
It's easy to identify these traits: as the championships escalate in stature and difficulty, the approach the best riders have becomes clearer.
1. Champions think of biking on and off the bike
Every moment of the champion is spent at improving their skills or riding better. In the shower, taking out the trash, reciting wedding vows, the champion is always thinking of the next race, the last race, which new tyres to get, which new circuit to train at.
If you have a different hobby, you're likely not championship material.
2. Hard work trumps talent
Let's face it, if you're already racing, then you have talent. And so does every other racer. Talent is in abundance at the circuits.
Six-time AMA Superbike champion Mat Mladin continued to make his own track notes for every race, and arrived a week early at the Colorado AMA to simulate higher altitudes. Josh Hayes spent every night with his crew while others were out for dinners and press events. Eddie Lawson followed a strict season-long diet regime.
These AMA legends worked hard to get every edge they could and were severely disciplined.
3. Every detail matters
World Superbike champion John Kocinski was a renowned obsessive-compulsive. He insisted on cleaning his own motorhome and detailing his leathers – things other bikers hired other people to do.
The best riders know that they have to raise everything in their life to another level. At the top of the game, every little thing matters.
So if you've got a dirty helmet, a taped up jacket or a messy room… you're not yet in champion gear.