Jack writes from Japan on a weekend that had more positives than the results suggested.
I’m about to get on the plane to get back to Australia and it’s a few hours after the race in Japan, and the good news is that I’m only pissed off, not injured and pissed off. Which makes a change for how a lot of this year has been, so I’m taking that as a positive …
If there was anywhere that was going to test how my broken hand had recovered, Motegi was it. With the amount of heavy braking zones in Japan, all the downhills and whatnot, it’s the ultimate test in a way, and it was one I felt like the hand had passed. Each day there, even though I had a couple of falls on Saturday and then crashed out on Sunday, I felt physically better than I have in months. The hand was good and because Motegi is such a different circuit, that was a good result. To leave here with no injuries and my old injuries feeling OK was a positive. The fans are always different in Japan as well and some of them even give us presents, which isn’t normal, I can tell you that much!
It sucks to crash of course, and Turn 1 had been a problem all weekend as I didn’t have a heap of confidence in the front. We did the Sunday warm-up and then made a big change for the race and it seemed to be working pretty good for the time I was out there. We got to lap seven, I threw it in there a little too deep if I’m being honest, and that was all she wrote, it gave up on me. I needed to do a race distance before Phillip Island and that was a disappointment, and when you consider the guys who went off in front of me like Vale (Valentino Rossi) and Jorge (Lorenzo), top 10, maybe top eight, was definitely on. A pain in the arse for sure, but we have to keep looking forwards. I generally had a better feeling on the bike this weekend than I’d had in a while, which hopefully is a good sign for the Island.
Motegi was fun too because I had a chance to catch up with Mike Jones, who was on the grid on Hector Barbera’s normal Ducati as Barbera was standing in for Andrea Iannone. Mike and I used to ride in the juniors back home in 2009 and we had a chance to catch up. Apparently he was testing at Phillip Island and then got the call to come up to Motegi, and he only got to do his run-down 15 minutes before first practice on Friday! He got thrown in the deepest of deep ends, that’s for sure. He’s done well and I was really surprised with how he did, a really tough gig to get and he did everything right. It was good to have another Aussie on the grid with me, and hopefully he gets to keep the ride for Phillip Island, because Iannone’s still out injured from what I hear.
It’ll be good to be back home again, because I’ve only just been back up in Townsville. I came home between the Aragon and Japan races and just enjoyed being back. Didn’t do anything amazing but didn’t want to – just wanted to be with some mates, see family, got to go to a mate’s birthday, did some jet-skiing. Normal stuff. It was great to feel some Aussie sun and some heat, and I got to the gym every day, plus got some work done on my back which was needed. Definitely got me in a good place mentally, it was awesome to be back.
I’ll be in Melbourne on Tuesday, and then it’s down to the Island. It’s going to be a big, big week and heaps of commitments – I’d say I’m happy to do them all, but that’s probably stretching it a bit! What I will say is that I’ll do them and it’ll be good, and hectic, and all of that. If you had to do it for every race, maybe not – but the home GP is something special and you want to be in the middle of it. The pressure of a home GP can do funny things to people, but I love it. I mean, you’re in your own country, there’ll be more support than you get all year anywhere, you love the track – that all sounds pretty good to me. We had the test there at the start of the year, and hopefully we can put on a good show for all of you. That first lap of first practice on Friday at the Island is one of the best moments of the year – I love that track, and I can’t wait to get back on it.
This story originally appeared on redbull.com.au
Photos courtesy of Marc VDS