Jack writes about being right back in the fight at Phillip Island.
It’s Sunday night at the Island and – almost predictably! – the weather is better than it has been at any time over the weekend. I always joke you can’t count Phillip Island as part of Australia anyway because it’s not attached to the rest of it – once you cross that bridge from San Remo, it’s like you’re in a different country sometimes because of the crazy weather. But all in all I’m pretty happy, because I’ve managed my first points in a long while and was fit and fast enough to be in a fight the whole race, which is a massive step from where I’ve been lately.
It was pretty hectic in the lead-up to my home GP like it always is, but this year it was even more because of the win at Assen and what not earlier in the year. I’m fine with that because it’s better than being completely invisible at your home race, and I know what that was like when I was in Moto3 and coming 20th and nobody really said a lot. I did a lot of interviews, signed a lot of autographs, met heaps of fans and generally did a lot of talking this weekend. Malaysia might be a bit quieter, I reckon! But all in all it was a good weekend.
I targeted a top-10 finish for the race because I felt the track would suit our bike. Our weakness tends to be getting out of the slow-speed corners and we know Phillip Island is fast and flowing and has very few of those, so I felt it would suit the Honda and the way I like to ride. It’s funny when you come to Australia and people who maybe don’t follow the series that closely see that you’ve won a race and expect you to instantly be a podium contender just because you’re at home. In normal conditions our bike isn’t going to be able to do that, and as far as the home thing goes, there’s a lot of guys on the grid who’ve ridden a lot more laps of the Island than me. I felt top 10 would make me happy, and top eight would feel a bit like a podium or even a win when you think how injured I’ve been lately.
The whole race I was in a fight with a lot of guys – Scott (Redding), (Danilo) Petrucci, Brad (Bradley Smith), (Hector) Barbera and Nicky (Hayden). None of us with the exception of maybe Scott could get away, and we swapped positions a lot. Turn 3 was pretty hairy a few times for me as I felt the bike was trying to high-side me, there were a few scary moments there for sure. I felt like I was coming on well the longer the race went, but I ran out of laps in the end. It didn’t help that Brad and Petrucci got me on the line as well, eighth was definitely there. But that’s the way the cookie crumbled for me today. It was pretty hectic out there from start to finish and no real chances to rest, so it was good to have a big old battle with a bunch of the boys because it had been a while.
I felt bad for Nicky because we touched on the second-last lap at Turn 4 – I put my bike under him and I don’t know if he didn’t see me, but he just kept turning across me. I’m sorry to have hit him, but that’s racing – but I did go and see him afterwards. The other guy I wanted to see soon afterwards was Cal (Crutchlow) of course, I was stoked to see him win again. He’s won my home race, so I reckon I should be able to win Silverstone next year – I’ll talk to him about that …
Before I sign off, I have to say something about the fans. Seriously, they were amazing this weekend. The weather on Friday and Saturday was ridiculous and they stayed out there, cheered all of us riders, and stuck it out. I was glad the sun came out on Sunday because they’d been freezing their arses off for two straight days. I was probably driving everyone in the team crazy because I was late to everything all weekend. I tried to sign as many autographs as I could, do selfies, all of that – even a marriage proposal!
It’s awesome to have a home GP and not every rider has that, so you have to embrace it. The fans are a big part of making this race what it is, so for all of you who came out, thanks from all of us.
We head straight to Malaysia now, so that jacket I’ve been wearing all this weekend has zero chance of coming out of the bag I take up there! It’ll definitely be good heading into a race weekend off a good result, and I’m glad we don’t have to wait too long for the next one. Hopefully we can be in the same fights once we get to Sepang. I’ll speak to you after that.
This story originally appeared on redbull.com.au
Photos courtesy of Marc VDS