In Indianapolis I was the first open class rider across the line and, as a result, made my first appearance in the MotoGP parc ferme. It was a good result for the team, because they’d worked hard for it. It was also good for Honda, as this was the first time the RCV1000R had finished as the first open class bike but, for me personally, it was a little frustrating.
I don’t want to be racing for a made up prize like first open class bike, I want to be competing on equal machinery with the other three riders who were in parc ferme with me at Indy; Marc Marquez, Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.
That’s what we’ve been working towards since the start of the year, but we’ve hit a few obstacles in what was supposed to be a pretty clear path from open class RCV1000R to full-on factory RC213V in 2015.
It’s frustrating because so far this season I’ve done everything asked of me. I know Honda want to have me for two years and they’d also be happy to see me on a factory RC213V. But if the team don’t have the big amount of money needed to lease and run the bike, which seems to be the case at the moment, what can I do?
All I know is that I’m not prepared to do a second season on an open class bike. I don’t want to be racing to ‘win’ the open class; I want to be up at the sharp end, fighting with the factory Hondas and the factory Yamahas.
Can I do it? I believe I can, but I need the right bike if I’m going to prove that to everyone else, because the factory bikes have a big advantage and that advantage will still be there next year.
This year I can stay close to them over the first few laps, but only because of the soft tyre. When the tyre starts to go off then they just pull away and disappear. No matter how hard you try, how hard you push or how may risks you take, there’s just no way of staying with them.
There are a lot of people working to get me on a factory bike for next season; the team are pushing hard to find the money, while my manager is looking at options should that not happen. All I can do is keep my fingers crossed and carry on doing what I’m doing now, which is to finish every race as the first open class Honda home and, hopefully, enjoy a few more visits to parc ferme before the end of the season.
On Tuesday this week I headed down to Silverstone to do a media day for BT Sport with Bradley Smith and Cal Crutchlow. We got to chat to both motorcycle and mainstream journalists and some of them were even brave enough to get on the back of a bike with me, Bradley and Neil Hodgson for a pillion ride around the circuit.
I’m sure people think we take it nice and easy on these rides, but where’s the fun in that? Okay, we’re far from being on the limit, but it’s good to get close enough to give people at least some idea of how hard we get on the gas and just how late it’s possible to brake, even two up on a road bike. A couple of the more experienced motorcycle journalists who jumped on the back with me even got to experience what a front wheel slide feels like through Copse, although it was difficult to tell if they enjoyed the experience or not!
It was all good fun and just part of the build up for the next race, the big one, the British Grand Prix.
Everyone always asks me if your home race is special and of course it is. It’s the only time in the season I get to race in front of my home crowd, whose support has been so important during my career.
It was incredible to stand on the top step of the podium for the first time ever at the British Grand Prix in 2008, although I think a lot of the people there that day thought I was a Spanish rider with a funny British name, because most of my racing had been done in Spain at that point.
Last year was equally special, taking the win in front of a massive crowd wearing red, white and blue leathers aboard a bike with a huge union flag on the sides. Coming round after the chequered flag and seeing everyone in the stands on their feet clapping and cheering was an unbelievable experience.
Next weekend I’ll race the MotoGP bike at home for the first time, and I can’t wait. It will be a tough weekend, because Silverstone is a power track and power is something we’re down on compared to even some of the other open class bikes. But, like always, I’ll be pushing as hard as I can and I hope I can put in a good performance in front of my home crowd.
Hopefully I’ll see you all there.