Jack writes about another top-10 result after Sunday’s wet race in Malaysia.
We’re packing up to head back to Europe after what always seems like ages on the road when you do the Japan-Australia-Malaysia flyaways, and having a strong result in the last one of them is a good feeling to head home with. But it’s probably a good sign that I wasn’t massively happy about eighth in Malaysia on Sunday – the position was good, but it was one of those races that I never felt really came to me.
I was happy to have finished, because races like that and around Sepang in weather like that, it’s very easy to throw it down the road and make a mess early on. But in some ways eighth was bit frustrating, because I never really felt I had the feeling from the rear tyre that I wanted. Would it have made much more of a difference if I’d had that feeling? Hard to say, and I was fair way behind (Alvaro) Bautista anyway at the end, so maybe eighth was where I was going to finish. But I never really felt like I was able to push as much as I wanted to, so that was frustrating. It was a good day in some ways though because I was the first Honda home. Last time I did that was at Assen – that was first anything home, I know. But the rear tyre was a struggle the whole race on Sunday, so it was hard to be really satisfied with how things turned out.
Saying all that, when you look at how injured I’ve been and how many races I’ve missed this year, to come out of the triple-header with two top-10 finishes is pretty good, I would have definitely signed up for that before we headed out to Japan a few weeks ago. That and to stay healthy too, it’s been a decent three weeks with the flyaways when you think about it that way. I was really disappointed with myself after crashing in Japan, but other than that … I had a good fight with lots of guys at the Island and then today, so I can’t be too unhappy with how these last three have gone for me.
Starting from 14th and in that much spray is always tough at a place like Sepang, and I managed to get a good getaway and past some guys on the first lap to get up to 10th, so I was pretty pleased with that. But that lack of feeling with the rear tyre meant it was a challenge to hang onto that position, and I hovered around that eighth, ninth, tenth place for most of the race. In the end it came down to me and Pol (Espargaro) in the last couple of laps, and I had a second on him at the end and he never got to have a run at me out of the final corner, so that was good.
We saw enough rain at Phillip Island last weekend but got plenty more in Malaysia, and when it rains here, it’s not like anywhere else we go to. It just comes down so fast, but the new track surface at Sepang was a major improvement on what we had before, and the grip level is pretty good, when you can get the tyres working that is. It doesn’t dry too well after the rain stops even though it’s incredibly hot because of how humid it is, but the smoother surface is definitely a positive, all of the bumps that we used to suffer through aren’t there anymore, so that’s a major plus.
It feels like I’ve been away for ages when you consider that I was back home seeing the family and some mates in Townsville before Motegi, then to Japan, back to the Island and now Sepang, so I’m pretty keen to get back to base in Andorra and have a week or so there at home before we go to Valencia for the last race and then the test afterwards. I can take a lot of positives out of these last two races especially and I’m keen to finish the season off with another good one at Valencia.
Before then it’ll be some downtime at home, some training and getting back out cycling again, which I’ve definitely missed. If I could get another top-10 finish in the last race, that’d make me pretty happy.
Speak to you after Valencia.
This story originally appeared on redbull.com.au
Photos courtesy of Marc VDS.