What modes of play will be available?
Bechine: You've got quick race mode, to just pick up the pad and play; you will have time attack mode where you can race against the clock and also be able to unlock some ghost laps from the people developing the game. Then of course we will have the full race weekend mode so you can play every aspect of that from practice, qualifying, through to superpole and then race one & race two. We will have the full championship in there so you can take a rider through an entire season. Finally we will also have separate challenges which you can play to build your skills with and unlock different things.
How much effect can you have on the handling of the bike with the customisation options you are including?
Bechine: For sure it makes no sense to provide settings that you cannot really feel, so I think every option we've added to allow the player to set up their bike will make a big difference.
We are still working on the full spec but the basics are things like suspension, gearing, and tyres. For example your tyres wear during the race so you have to be careful to select the right balance between grip and how long the tyres are going to last otherwise towards the end of the race you will struggle and run out of grip.
Does your style of riding dictate your tyre wear or is it based solely on distance ridden?
Bechine: Sure, you are fully responsible for the tyres. So if you are gentle with the throttle and for example not skidding on braking everywhere your tyres are going to live longer than if you ride like... whoah! You know... [laughs]
Can you damage your bike during the race, what about mechanical problems?
Bechine: You can damage the gearbox, steering, engine and so forth. You have to be careful not to abuse the engine too much or crash causing damage, or you will really hurt the bike. We are also looking to introduce rider health, so for example if you are playing through a whole season and have a really big crash, you may be injured and have to miss a race.
Have you made any strides forward in terms of graphics?
Bechine: Yes I would say so; we are always looking for ways to get the maximum visual quality from the hardware with every product. This time we are especially proud of the different weather effects: sunny, cloudy and two wet modes: raining - where it is really pouring down - and also wet conditions where the track is still damp, but rain is no longer falling.
Is the weather something that is decided at the beginning of each race, or does it change throughout?
Bechine: Of course yes, if you are making a full race weekend you can start and it may be sunny for qualifying then the weather will get worse. We are going to make these changes as realistic as possible to the tracks so you are not likely to find yourself racing in the pouring rain at Quatar - but maybe there is rain if you are racing in UK, yes? [laughs]
What about multiplayer modes?
Bechine: For the PSP we are going to have multiplayer mode for up to 8 players, and for the PS2 we are including split screen racing. You will be able to race straight away for just one quick race or maybe compete in a tournament of some kind.
Any plans for online multiplayer for the PC and 360 versions, perhaps on Xbox Live?
Bechine: I don't want to give away too much about those two versions as we are still planning the features there, but for sure we are going to try and get the best from each platform. Online play is one of the key features of next-gen and of course PC as you know.