I’m sitting here with a hole in my shin right down to the bone, no skin on my little finger and trying to get my head round the weekend.
Five crashes, a start from pit lane and lap times in the race that could have put me in fifth place is just part of a weekend I will certainly not forget in a hurry.
I really understand how people must think when they read my blog when I keep saying we are so close to some big results, there are some positives from a weekend of crashes, stitches and no points.
I believe and I know the team believe we are very close and it’s down to me to translate those practice, qualifying and testing times in the second half of the season into some big points scoring finishes.
The team right from the top with my boss Herve Poncharal are giving me so much support and I feel so bad for them. Those results do not reflect on them and it’s up to me to bring them some rewards and I genuinely believe I can do just that starting at the next round in Indianapolis.
Fourteen of the most powerful bikes in the world lining up with no grid in pit lane – it was more like the start of a minibike race on a karting track and very dangerous."
At the moment everything seems against us although I’m making no excuses for the crashes. I put my hand up and accept total responsibility.
To say things did not start well would be an understatement with a big crash at the fast turn ten in the first five minutes of the first practice on Friday morning. Our traction control basic setting was not strong enough for the track and I went down in a big high-side.
To make the start even worse I got out on the second bike and crashed five minutes from the finish of the session when I got into the gravel again at turn ten and only just failed to save the bike from falling, so defiantly not the start to the weekend we were looking for.
I’d taken plenty of skin off the little finger that I broke in Italy last year in the Friday crashes and then on Saturday a rodeo style crash at turn two when I nearly held onto the bike put a big hole in my left shin that had to be stitched.
Hardly the ideal preparation for qualifying but I was confident of at least a second row start when I went down again at turn three but still qualified on the third row of the grid. I had been going through the turn quickly enough but the racer in me told me I could go that little bit faster – obviously I was wrong.
We got through the morning warm-up on Sunday OK but then the weather for the second grand prix in succession took over. It started to pour with rain 30 minutes before the start of the race. That would have been OK if it had kept raining but of course it stopped and it started to dry.
We kept the wet tyres on but on that final sighting lap apart from turn 12 the track was almost dry and 14 of us pulled back into pit lane and not onto the grid to change to the bike with the slick tyres. The problem was we all had to start the race from pit lane and that was very scary.
Fourteen of the most powerful bikes in the world lining up with no grid in pit lane – it was more like the start of a minibike race on a karting track and very dangerous.
We escaped this time but I think all the riders agree it must not happen again but that may well not be the case next time. I’m sure it will be the main discussion at the next safety commission meeting with the riders in America.
Once I’d settled into the race we started to carve our way past the riders who’d started from the grid. I was following Valentino Rossi which I thought was the perfect person to follow to pass those slower riders and also to check out the conditions of the track.
I saw Valentino pass Mike Di Meglio at turn one and I knew my race pace was more than good enough to follow him and use him as a reference in these tricky conditions. I got up the inside of Di Meglio and overtook him but as he came back to the apex of the corner, I ran onto the inside of the curb, which was still damp, and down I went again.
I could have packed up there and then after those five crashes but the bike was not damaged and so I got back onto the Yamaha. She deserved better and I managed to finish the race out of the points but at a pace which could have seen me finish fifth or sixth in the race - but if you crash you don’t score points.
I must rule out the mistakes because we have the pace to be right up there."
If I was lapping a couple seconds slower than the leaders and finishing with a few points each race I would be a lot unhappier than I actually feel at the moment. The solution is simple – I must rule out the mistakes because we have the pace to be right up there.
The summer break will give my finger and shin time to heal and, perhaps more importantly, give me time to clear out my brain to prepare for a massive second half of the season.
It all starts again at Indianapolis and within a few days of the summer holiday I will be desperate to get out there although my finger and shin may not agree.