Jack writes about his hottest MotoGP ride yet, and how he’s making use of a rare week in Australia between races.
Yes, I know, I’m late … This was supposed to be a wrap-up after the race in Thailand, and it is – it’s just a bit later than usual. My excuse: there’s been a bit on this week. I went from the race at Buriram on Sunday straight back home to Townsville and have been working on my place here pretty much ever since, doing up the house, building sheds and what not. It’s pretty rare to get some time at home in the season, so it’s been great to be here.
But back to Thailand. You saw the temperatures we had up there – the track temps were in the mid-to-high 50s at times – and it was pretty brutal, a really long and hot race. It felt worse than Malaysia to be honest, and Malaysia is usually as hot as it gets riding a MotoGP bike. The humidity was there like Malaysia, but Thailand was way hotter than Malaysia ever gets. One lap into any run we did on track, and you were sweating it up – leathers, helmet and a boiling hot bike isn’t any way to stay cool. Forty minutes of racing around there on Sunday took a lot out of all of us.
The race itself, having a Grand Prix in Thailand for the first time, was a winner in my eyes. The crowds were huge, more than 100,000 people on race day, and I was surprised as to how many Aussies were there, which I definitely appreciated. I guess it’s not all that far for Australians to go to, but I was wondering how big the crowd would be when you think the circuit is 400km or so from Bangkok. But the town nearby, Buriram, is a decent size and catered pretty good for the number of people who were there with hotels and all of that. So, definitely a good addition to the calendar, and the track facilities and everything around it were first-class. The track itself … it had its good and bad points. The first part of the lap was a bit dull really with the two long straights, but the back part, where it kind of funnels into a heap of corners that are coming at you one after the other, I enjoyed that part.
Finishing 10th, the same place I started from, was OK – let’s say a pass mark. I was one of only four of five of us riders who raced the medium front tyre, which was maybe a question-mark because of how hot it was. But in the end, it was the rear tyre that I had troubles with. I was up to eighth and only a couple of seconds off the front guys just after the halfway stage of the race, and things were looking good as I could stay with them. But I probably burned the rear tyre up too much too early, and I had to back right off in the last part of the race, the two left-handers at Turns 5 and 6 were pretty tricky with a worn tyre on the left side. I’d lose time there, gain it in other spots, lose it there the next lap … it was back and forth, back and forth. Frustrating, but I had to have a go.
We’ve got four races left now with Japan, Australia, Malaysia and Valencia, and I did pretty well at the last three of those last year after I missed Motegi when I broke my leg. I said at the start of the season that I wanted to finish top 10 in the championship, but (Alex) Rins is 10th and going well at the moment. He’s 28 points ahead of me, which is a lot. Tenth in Thailand got me up to 74 points, so the aim is 100 before the end of the season, which would be the best season I’ve had. Where that leaves me in the championship, we’ll see. I’ve got some good speed back the past two or three races and we’re leading into tracks that I like and have done well at, so I’m looking forward to getting to them on the Ducati for the first time.
Right, better get back to fixing up my place, there’s a lot to do before I head to Japan on Tuesday … I’ll speak to you next from there.
This story originally appeared on redbull.com
Photos courtesy of Alma Pramac Racing