Jack was thankful to see the end of the Spanish Grand Prix.
It was hard to know how to feel after Jerez last Sunday – other than hot! Jerez is always pretty intense anyway as the first race of the European season and with all of the Spanish riders across the three classes, but this year it seemed even more full-on than usual because of the heat and the bigger crowd – I’d heard there were more than 100,000 people there, and it definitely seemed like it, the noise was incredible. In the end I finished less than two seconds outside the points in 17th and that was pretty frustrating, but the key part of that sentence was the first part – I finished, and I didn’t hurt myself again, so that was a massive positive to take out of the weekend.
My crash in practice in Texas and the injury to my right foot threw everything into a bit of chaos. Instead of coming back home to Andorra after being away for the races in Argentina and then Texas, I stayed in America and got some treatment with Dr Andy Walshe and did a lot of work on my rehab. From there it was pretty much straight to Spain and what was a bit of a step into the unknown. I was nowhere near 100 per cent fit – maybe 50 per cent on Friday for the first practice – but I hate missing races and I needed to give it a go. I knocked over a second off my best time in FP2 on Friday, so it shows you what adrenaline can do …
Jerez has more right-handers than lefts so that didn’t help my foot much, and after I qualified 19th on Saturday I said to the media guys that my aims were to stay on the bike and ride smart on Sunday. I’m normally a bit less conservative than that! But I needed to do a full race distance, and we managed it which made the weekend a success in a way. I was really tentative in the slow-speed corners for the first four laps as I was trying to turn the bike with the full fuel load and my lack of feel, but I felt things improved as the race went on and I had some more confidence to take some more out of the tyres. I swapped places with Michele Pirro on the last lap but he ended up just beating me for 16th. Yonny (Hernandez) was not far up the road in 15th and the last point, but I couldn’t be too disappointed. I’m pretty keen to put these first four races behind me now and concentrate on what’s coming up.
I don’t get to go home just yet – we have a one-day test at Jerez on Monday where we’ll work on the bike for Le Mans, so it’ll be a priority to get those hairpins right. And then it’ll be working on the leg and getting it stronger, and spending a bit of family time – my mum and dad came over for the race last weekend and they’re staying for France as well, so it’ll be good to have an extra little bit of home in the paddock for the next one.
It’ll be strange doing a test at a pretty quiet track where 100,000 people were cheering the day before on Monday – speaking of the fans, it’s amazing that they didn’t get one home winner on Sunday, with Brad Binder winning Moto3, Sam Lowes taking Moto2 and Valentino Rossi winning MotoGP. I’ve known Brad for a while and his ride was pretty awesome after he came through from last after a penalty – 34 places gained in a race is a pretty amazing way to win your first GP! And Valentino … what can you say? Someone told me that it was the first time he’d won from pole and led every lap in his career – I wouldn’t have thought there’d be too many things he hadn’t done by now, but that’s a first. It’s definitely going to be a good fight at the front this year, and I’m hoping I can get a little bit closer to it and have a better view before too long.
Catch you next time,
This story originally appeared on redbull.com.au
Photos courtesy of Marc VDS.