Jack writes about a ‘stupid’ mistake that proved costly at Misano, and why he still has plenty of optimism after a pointless but promising weekend.
Well, that was 24 hours of extremes, that’s for sure. It’s hard to have a lot of perspective and be all bigger picture after you’ve just screwed up and crashed out of a race where you’ve started on the front row, but I’m doing my best. It’s an hour or so since I got off the bike here at Misano and I’m not going to lie, I’m massively disappointed in myself. Completely my mistake. But I can’t get too low after this one, and there’s a lot of reasons for me to be optimistic. It wasn’t that long ago that being optimistic was the last thing I was thinking about.
I came 18th in Austria too in my last race before Sunday’s at Misano (we got rained out at Silverstone, remember), but there’s finishing 18th, and finishing 18th. Same result but they’re not the same thing, nowhere close. Austria, we were lost, I couldn’t make the tyres last, I’d qualified nowhere, it wasn’t a surprise. This one today was a bad surprise I didn’t want, but they’re not the same weekend. Here we had pace, it was consistent, I felt good, the bike was great and there was nothing fluky or lucky about qualifying on the front row … I just made a stupid mistake at the worst possible time.
There’s no sugar-coating what happened. The track was still pretty fresh and I was just trying to stay with the guys at the front after Andrea (Dovizioso) and Marc (Marquez) passed me in the first two laps. I knew they were coming, sure, and it was realistically going to be hard to me to keep those guys behind me for the whole race, even if I did manage to get them both in qualifying. But I was right there and we had a gap to the others behind. Fourth felt good, and felt like I could keep it.
I felt like I was losing a little bit too much in drive and speed, and I guess I was working the tyre too hard in the corner. And down she went – bottomed out in the middle of Turn 14, tucked the front, and that was that. There’d been a few warning signs leading up to it, but really, at that part of the race, we’re all having those warning signs, you’re just trying to react to them and catch them.
There’s ways to look at this. I’m crashing out of fourth position three laps into the race on a year-old bike, and the only riders ahead of me are two factory Ducatis and the championship leader. So you have to look at the positives. When I picked the bike up, it had no windscreen because it was smashed, and the handlebar was bent, and still my fastest lap of the race was only about a tenth (of a second) slower than (Valentino) Rossi with a bike that was clearly pretty damaged after a crash. I got back up, worked my arse off to catch the guys in front and pass some of them, so I don’t want to over-think the negatives.
The pace this weekend wasn’t a surprise in some ways because we were quick at Silverstone in the dry (when it actually was dry), and then we had a test just afterwards at Aragon where I did 88 laps, about three race distances in the one day, and we pushed all day and were quick. The track was pretty dirty too that day and we still did strong lap times, so that was a good sign for the next race in two weeks.
Misano, the whole weekend was strong – in the top 10 most sessions, obviously second on the grid – so this is a minor hiccup, and no more than that. It won’t take much to bounce back from this to continue the good pace for Aragon next, and then the races as we lead into Australia. We’ve got six races left and I’m massively determined to finish this year out strongly and get some good results for the team. On Sundays as well as Saturdays …
This story originally appeared on redbull.com
Photos courtesy of Alma Pramac Racing