Jack writes about pushing through the pain barrier at Silverstone.
Well, that was a tough one. A really tough one. After missing the races in Austria and at Brno, I was massively committed to racing at Silverstone last weekend – and in the end, I finished Sunday frustrated and out of the points. But at least I finished the race, and I know the worst is behind me now.
Coming back from the injuries I had after Austria – a hairline fracture in my right wrist and three busted vertebraes in my back – was always going to be hard, and I’d done heaps of work between Brno and Silverstone to make sure I was ready – a lot of therapy, some time in the hyperbaric chamber, that sort of thing. And then when I got to Silverstone and rode on Friday, it was pretty obvious there was something more than that to get over. Turned out I had a small fracture in my right hand as well, and if there’s a circuit where you need both hands to be working at 100 per cent, it’s Silverstone – it’s so high speed and there’s some massive stops there, so it was going to be a tough one.
Saturday was actually good – really good for most of it. As we were getting ready for FP4 before qualifying, the famous old English weather kicked in and it was cold, rainy and windy. This is autumn remember – then again, I probably can’t say too much when you think of what the weather can do at my home race at Phillip Island every 10 minutes … But the rain actually helped me because the lap times got slower, the top speeds were down and the force I needed to put through my hand was less. And I don’t mind it raining a bit this year as you’ve probably noticed. In the end I had my best-ever MotoGP qualifying and made it into Q2 for the first time, and I should have done better too. I was on my first lap in Q2 and didn’t get enough heat in the rear tyre, and around she went and I was on the floor. I was a bit worried at first that I’d hurt myself again but I was OK, just more annoyed than anything because I should have been top 10 for sure. But compared to how things felt on Friday, that was a huge improvement.
Sunday looked like it might rain again for the race but it didn’t, and I knew in the dry that I’d struggle with the full race distance. I had an injection to numb the pain in my hand for qualifying and that went OK, but 20 laps around Silverstone in a race is a different challenge. I started out alright and got up to 10th at one stage but my pace dropped a lot as the painkiller wore off, and I went from doing 2:03s at the start of the race to 2:06s by the end and I fell outside of the points. I went with the medium rear tyre and the grip dropped off a lot after the first five laps, so that didn’t help either. All of that sucked, but I finished and I stayed on, and it can’t feel worse than that. I was initially pretty pissed off afterwards but when I had some time to think about it, there was definitely some relief there. I don’t need to hurt myself any more this year, I’ve missed three races already and the end of the season is pretty hectic with one race after the other, so I should be a lot better for Misano next week.
I mentioned the hyperbaric chamber, and I spent some time in one when I was in the Isle of Man visiting my mate Cal Crutchlow and his wife Lucy. I hadn’t had the chance to get over there with the back-to-back races and whatnot but I managed to go after Brno, and I got to see their new baby Willow, who is just awesome. Such a sweet kid.
Cal got me out on the bike again too with a handy cyclist mate of his – heard of Mark Cavendish? – and those guys are machines, and I’m nowhere near that level. They smashed me pretty good when we went out and I am getting better and fitter, but they’ve got me covered. As soon as I sat down after a ride back at Cal and Lucy’s, it was pretty much lights out, I was asleep. I posted a pic of Cal sleeping, and it’s fair to say he got me back big-time. But the cycling is awesome, I’m getting right into it, and I can see now why Cal takes his bike everywhere we go – having something that’s custom-built just for you is so good to ride on.
Anyway, it looks like we have another week of rehab and more rehab ahead, so hopefully I pull up better after Misano next week. Talk to you all then.
This story originally appeared on redbull.com.au
Photos courtesy of Marc VDS.