Four days in Barcelona just about summed up everything. Great practice, decent qualifying, another soul destroying Grand Prix race followed by 75 laps of superb testing on Monday.
We all needed those 75 laps on Monday when I was second fastest, just 0.042s seconds behind Marc Marquez. It illustrated just what could have been on Sunday and proved to myself what lap times I can achieve giving me that extra bit of re-assurance because the season is far from over.
I’m not saying I’m as fast as those four front factory guys but I promise you I’m the fifth one. I honestly believe with the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha I can be fifth every race because I’ve shown time and time again we do have the pace.
Words can’t describe how I felt after finishing tenth on Sunday but I’ve not worked this hard to give up. However down you are you just have to keep the faith after all the hard work and sacrifices you have made.
There are plenty of Grands Prix to go and there are so many positives such as Friday afternoon and Monday. It can be soul destroying when you put so much effort into something and enjoy it as much as I do.
When it does not go right it kills you inside. When you are doing something that you love and to which you have dedicated your life for it not to go right for the last five races is tough but I still love riding the bike and for the team.
Monday’s test was so positive, as we achieved everything we set out to as well as clarifying a few mysterious problems from Sunday. I felt a lot more comfortable on the bike plus I did 75 laps with my fastest time at the end.
We tested a lot of different things such as geometry settings, electronics, engine braking plus a new tyre from Bridgestone. Our main focus of the day was to improve braking stability and the engine-braking situation; we certainly achieved both of these factors. For me to be able to do a 1m 41.2s lap time was really encouraging.
It was good to remember how to lead a MotoGP practice session again on Friday afternoon with the last time in Qatar at the opening round. Saturday morning practice was very good but we missed something in qualifying and the tyre would only do one lap and I’m not ‘Mr One Lapper’ and can’t just pull one out of the bag and nail it. I was only around half a second from pole and everything was looking hunky dory after I was sixth in the morning up warm-up.
From the start of the race, when I went into turn four two riders went up the inside of me and one rode round the outside, I realised we had a big problem.
It was a long 24 laps and what was so disappointing was our settings appeared to be bang on the money the whole weekend but I just did not have the same grip coming from the rear, despite keeping everything the same from the warm-up. I was losing a second a lap to my warm-up time which I managed to reduce to half a lap at the finish.
Sunday seems to be my bad day and perhaps I need to change my routine and get out of bed the other side or eat something different for breakfast.
The next race in Assen is the only Saturday grand prix of the season and we are banking on all those positives being channelled into the race and at least a fifth place.
I’m so lucky with the team because they have not stopped pushing hard. They are always right behind me and doing everything they can to make it right.
My disappointing race results can reflect on them but they are doing nothing wrong and they know, apart from the Mugello crash, I’m not doing anything wrong.
It’s just not clicking for us and everything we try to do is appreciated by the Yamaha factory team who this weekend in particular have been checking and in some cases using our settings. My feedback is good and my direction is good. I’ve got the speed I’ve just got to wait until it’s my time.
I’m flying straight out of Assen after the race to arrive at Goodwood in time for the ball but the big day is Sunday.
I plan to ride Kenny Roberts’ 500cc World Championship winning two-stroke Yamaha up the hill. I hope also I will be wearing leathers and helmet in Kenny’s livery which will be an honour in itself.
It’s good to do things that are fun but I’ll trade all that for a result right now and we can shrug off the last three months and start smiling again.