Jack rues a chance gone begging after a late crash at Le Mans.
As you can imagine, I’m pretty pissed off after Le Mans. It’s been a pretty tough season for me so far from day one – to be honest, earlier than day one after I hurt my ankle in the off-season – and Sunday was when it all seemed to be coming together. To keep calm in what was a fairly crazy race with so many of the front guys crashing out, getting into the top 10 … I knew there was a chance for a decent bag of points. And then I was on the ground and out of the race. It happened that fast.
I was on lap 18 and heading into Turn 7 – as I found out later, that was the same corner where Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso both crashed out a couple of laps before with no warning – and I lost the front completely unexpectedly. Didn’t even realise I was on the way to a crash until it was over. I almost didn’t believe it when I came to a stop in the gravel and realised I was out, it didn’t seem real. But then, like I said before, I was just incredibly annoyed (that’s the diplomatic version). Probably not a lot of fun to be around for a while there. But until then I felt I’d done a perfect race.
I was 18th on the grid and knew that my long run pace from Saturday was pretty decent, so I played it patient – I know, very unlike me! I moved up a spot or two with some other guys crashing and then started to get more confident, getting past Stefan Bradl and Eugene Laverty to get to 12th. When Marc and Andrea went down, I was 10th – and afterwards I realised that would have been my best MotoGP race finish. Bradley Smith, who was ahead of me, went down later in the race – at the same corner again. Top 10 was easily achievable, so that was why I was so annoyed. Sometimes you can be disappointed when you crash, other times shrug it off a bit easier. This one might last a bit longer.
All weekend I felt pretty good with the ankle and that was a bonus, because Le Mans is a tough circuit when you’re not quite 100 per cent with all of the hairpins. My physical condition had improved since Jerez two weeks ago and I felt I could push a lot more this weekend. Le Mans is always a place I like going back to because I have good memories there from the Moto3 win two years ago, and to be in a position to finish top 10 is good in some ways because my pace was decent. Did I mention that I was pissed off …
Anyway, there have been some good things happen in the last two weeks. I used the weekend off between Jerez and Le Mans by spending it at a race track – no, I can’t help myself. I went to Imola in Italy to check in on World Superbikes and see some mates there. Got dragged up into the TV commentary box for the Supersport race too, which was good fun. Imola is just an amazing track and it’s in a beautiful part of Italy, so it was good to be there.
Speaking of Italy, we have Mugello coming up next. Mugello is awesome at any time – all of us riders love it – and there’s only 12 points at the front of the championship between Jorge, Marc and some bloke called Valentino. Can you imagine what that crowd will be like? There was this huge burst of noise at Le Mans on Sunday, which I later found out was when Vale passed Marc in the race – I heard it clearly when it happened and wondered what it was. Mugello will be crazy with all the Vale fans and awesome to be a part of. Hopefully I can get that points finish that I didn’t get in France – I’ll be leaving the track in a much better mood than I did this Sunday if it happens, that’s for sure.
Thanks for all the support from back home, hopefully we can have some good news to talk about soon. I’ll keep pushing and I’m hopeful something good isn’t far away.
Catch you next time,
This story originally appeared on redbull.com.au
Photos courtesy of Marc VDS.