Jack writes about being in the thick of the podium fight at the Sachsenring.
It’s Sunday night at the Sachsenring and we have an early start before we head off to Austria for a test tomorrow, but it’s been another good weekend. Finishing seventh considering where I started is a really good result, and I had to catch myself when I was doing an interview straight after the race and saying that I was a bit disappointed. When you spend as much of a race inside the top five as I did, seventh means you’re not the happiest afterwards. But I would have done anything for that three races ago.
If I’m going to be pissed off with anyone it’s myself, as I probably should have listened to my team and come in earlier to swap bikes and go with the slicks. But seventh is a definitely a good day at the office, and to be able to run inside the top five on merit and not because of any luck was awesome. And then to be able to pick off (Hector) Barbera and Valentino (Rossi) in the dry on that last lap was great, and I reckon I could have had Dani (Pedrosa) too, but I ran out of time and he finished about a tenth of a second ahead of me. So seventh, I’ll take that.
Sunday was one of those days when just finishing was a challenge. It was pretty treacherous out there early on, but I was confident I could make a good start as I had good pace when it was really wet in the Sunday morning warm-up. Being third in the warm-up gave me some confidence that I could make up some ground early on, and I was only after the race that I realised I’d made up six places into the first corner and was sixth after the first lap after starting from 16th! I felt really good from the start and was able to pick some guys off, and then getting past Marc (Marquez) who had started from pole on lap six was pretty good! He paid me back later on when he was on the right slick tyres and I was on the wrong wet ones, he was so much faster than me at that stage that there was nothing I could do other than get back to the pits as fast as I could to make the change.
I was at the back of the front five riders for a lot of the race and not under any real pressure from behind, but we all kept going, ‘Dovi’ (Andrea Dovizioso), Cal (Crutchlow), Vale and Barbera. We were all being told by our pit boards to come in and it wasn’t like I only elected to stay out because they all came in ahead of me – yes, it meant that I got to lead a lap, but I probably should have come in too because my pit board had been telling me to for two laps. My aim at that stage was sit on the back of the pack, keep calm and not make any mistakes, and I think I managed to do that pretty well, but I probably should have come in earlier. Anyway, in the end I was able to finish ahead of two of those four guys who pitted a lap earlier, so that was a good result. It was a really fun race to ride, there was a lot going on and it’s always such a busy lap at Sachsenring, so really enjoyable.
For whatever reason, I’ve always liked Sachsenring, even though it’s not to everyone’s taste. It’s a very different track being so tight and with all the left-handers, and Turn 11, the ‘Waterfall’, is a big challenge in the dry, and pretty hairy in the wet when there’s a big stream of water running across the track on the way from Turn 10 and the last of all of those left-handers in a row. Some of the riders don’t really like the place, but I’m glad we go there. I made my GP debut there back in 2011 and knew it from the German championship, and it’s always been a pretty good circuit for me, plus I won there in Moto3 in 2014. It’s not unlike anywhere else we ride and that’s why I like it – you wouldn’t want to have 18 circuits like that, but it’s a different challenge because it’s so tight and so technical.
Austria is coming up next and I’m really looking forward to that, but first we get to take a break for a few weeks after we do a two-day test there this week. I’ve raced at the Red Bull Ring before and it’s a completely different sort of track than Sachsenring – it’s long straight into tight corner, another long straight into another tight corner … probably a circuit that will favour the Ducati riders more than the rest of us, I reckon. We have some new things to try on the bike in the test and it’ll be good to do that – hopefully some of them make us as fast as the Ducatis are probably going to be on those straights!
In some ways it’s shame we’re having a mid-season break, because the last three races have been great for me and it would be good to keep it going. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want some time out. The attention after Assen was pretty incredible and more than I was expecting to be honest, but it was all good – I always wondered what it would be like if I won a MotoGP race, and it was pretty intense.
I usually come back home to Australia during the mid-season break, but this year I’m staying in Europe for a couple of reasons. One is that I was able to catch up with some friends from back home in Hawaii a couple of weekends ago, because one of my mates got married to an American girl – they must have figured that Hawaii was halfway to Townsville! There’s worse places for anyone to get married, I reckon. It was great to be there and I managed to do some training when I was there too, the weather was amazing for some beach runs. I also did some surfing which I haven’t done for a while. After how crazy things had been after Assen, it came at a good time.
The other reason – well, one of them – is that some of you would have seen that I’ve recently become a proud ‘parent’ to Bruce, my new French bulldog.
I’ve wanted to get a dog for ages and now I have my base in Andorra, I have space for one. I had a bit of a false start with getting one earlier this year, but we found Bruce in Holland and I got him after Assen. Not the most Dutch name I suppose, but there you go. I’ve always loved animals, my mum says that if I wasn’t out riding as a kid, I’d want to be inside watching David Attenborough documentaries!
Bruce has to stay in Holland for another few weeks so he can get his injections and what not, and then he’s allowed to travel with me. So it’ll be back to Holland after the test to see him, and then hopefully I can bring him home soon.
Catch you next time.
This story originally appeared on redbull.com.au
Pics courtesy of Marc VDS