Jack writes about a “strange” race in the Czech Republic, where he survived tyre woes and some midfield mayhem to stay inside the top 10 in the championship.
It’s pretty hard to feel lonely after a MotoGP race, but that’s how Sunday was for me at Brno. I was only 16 or so seconds off the win – not great, but we’ve been further back before – but was in the middle of a big gap from the guys just inside the top 10, and then the rest of us fighting for the points that were left. Some of that was explainable, and some of it was a bit of an unknown at the moment.
One bit that made sense was the first lap, or more specifically what happened to me three corners into it. I got caught up in the crash on the first lap because of where I started (I’ll get back to that), and (Stefan) Bradl, Bradley (Smith) and Maverick (Vinales) all went down, and I had to get myself out of the firing line. After that? For me, not a lot happened.
The race at the front was pretty intense, but mine was just, I don’t know, strange. I got past (Hafizh) Syahrin and (Franco) Morbidelli quickly enough, and I went past (Alvaro) Bautista, and he was on the soft tyre, which I figured wasn’t the right one to be on as it had been so hot here all weekend. Doing 21 laps around here made me think the hard tyre was the only way to go, but after about six laps or so I was dropping four-tenths (of a second) a lap, and there was no way to push harder and actually stay on. Bautista came back past me on the softs and just left me, it was like he had an extra gear which was pretty impressive. Definitely didn’t see that coming.
By the end, the bike was giving me a strange feeling in a straight line, not even the corners, so we just needed to get it home really, and then analyse why that happened with the rear tyre. We had much better pace in the practices than that, so I’m pretty disappointed on that side. But I was happy to finish again, and while 12th doesn’t sound like much, it’s actually better than I’ve gone here on a MotoGP bike before, so that’s a positive. Bank some decent points, keep the bike straight, keep myself out of trouble, and get to somewhere that better suits me and the Ducati.
The tyre thing is a mystery at the minute, so that one’s out of my hands. But I could have avoided the first-lap stuff if I’d qualified better, and that’s completely on me. I had a lap going in Q1 on Saturday that would have definitely put me in Q2 but I crashed at Turn 9, completely my fault, and I ended up in 17th on the grid, as bad as it’s been all year for me.
Back there off the start, you’re kind of asking for trouble, and there’s more of a chance you’re ending up in someone else’s drama. That happened to me in Germany when I fell right to the back of the pack after very neatly getting taken out. At least it wasn’t that bad here, but it was something I could have done without. Nobody to blame but me for that one. You start the race on the back foot, and that’s what happens. Getting to the points and staying inside the top 10 in the championship when you start that far back was a pretty good save, really.
It’s a busy week this week, because we’re back out on track at Brno on Monday for a test day, and then straight to Austria for the race next weekend. For the test, we don’t have any new parts to try, we’re working only on new tyres, and we’re not throwing new things at the bike because we’re back out in four days for practice at the Red Bull Ring. That’s much more of a Ducati track than Brno is, Red Bull Ring is basically three long straights out of slower corners, so that should suit me and the bike, and Ducati has some success there in the last few years. So I’ll be expecting a lot more from next Sunday than what this one gave me, that’s for sure.
I’ll speak to you from Austria next week.
This story originally appeared on redbull.com
Photos courtesy of Alma Pramac Racing