Hi y’all!  I was happy to be asked to write this little blog for BT Sport, I know a few of the guys there and from what I hear they’re doing a pretty good job. When I visited Austin for the GP, I was invited up to the commentary booth with Julian and Keith and really had a lot of fun, so thanks for that guys!

Since retiring last year, I slowly moved myself back to Dallas more permanently. I’ve been renovating houses in the past few years with a good friend of mine and so I’ve put some time into that. Also, as many of you probably know, I am a co-owner in a restaurant here in Dallas. I don’t have much to do with the day-to-day running as we have a great team of people in there running it, but myself and my business partner make a lot of the big decisions together and I really enjoy getting involved. I’m also more encompassed in my cycling team – Elbowz Racing – and with more free time I’m able to ride with them more and help out where I can. Again, there is a team manager so I don’t want to step on his toes, I just like to lend a hand when I can.

It was nice to visit my old team and see a lot of friends in the paddock in Austin, then afterwards I drove home to Dallas and some friends came to stay for a few nights, including Casey (Stoner). We had a lot of fun, went fishing, took him to my family’s ranch and also to my burger joint, it was good just to hang out for a few days, away from the paddock – something we didn’t really get a chance to do in the past.

When I left Italy last year, I’m thrilled that my girlfriend Patricia was also able to come with me for large chunks of time and help me rebuild a life over here in Dallas. We travelled back to Italy a month or so ago and I’m really excited to say that she said ‘yes’ when I popped the question! It was pretty nerve racking and I’d been planning it for some time, but I really wanted to do it when we were near her family, so I could ask their permission and so she could also celebrate with them – especially as she’s given up so much to move with me to Texas. We had a really great time in Italy and I revisited my old haunts in Como, I do miss living there, it’s an incredibly beautiful part of the world.

With regards to MotoGP this season, what Marquez is doing is pretty impressive! I said it already last year and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this kid is incredibly special. He’s adapted to the category seamlessly and he looks like he’s been on the bike for years. Last year was already remarkable, but eight out of eight this season and six of them from pole? It’s insane. The scary thing is I can’t see anyone even coming close to challenging him. He had a big moment in Free Practice in Assen and still set his fastest lap, to not lose time after such a mistake shows how crazy this kid is! Being fearless with such a big talent is a scary combination!

As regards my own situation, I’m still not able to ride – it’s just too big a risk. Doing normal everyday things is not so bad, but I still have nights where I wake up and the shoulder is out of its socket. Another surgery is highly likely - even without injuring it again – but if I were to crash on it again then I’d more than likely need a full shoulder replacement, so there’s zero chance of me racing again unfortunately. 

I’ve been flattered to receive offers for testing roles etc, but it’s just not something I can consider. Hopefully in the future I can help out and be involved in the sport in some shape or form but for now I’m trying to figure out what I want to do and how I want to apply my time. I’ve had a few podiums with Elbowz and I'm enjoying my cycling, so I’ll be working on that for a while now and see what comes up next.

I’m thinking of visiting the Indy race in August, so hopefully I’ll see some of you there!

Thanks for all your support and kind messages, they all mean a lot!

Ben