Jack’s thoughts on a recovery mission in Spain, a first lap to savour and THAT crash caused by Jorge Lorenzo.
Fifth place here at Catalunya – the way the weekend was shaping up before Sunday, I’ll definitely take that. It wasn’t something I saw coming after how tricky Friday and Saturday had been, so I was more hoping for a top-10 finish than expecting one – so I’m pretty happy with fifth.
The race for me came down to the first lap, and then avoiding what happened on the second lap. I had a great first lap and got past a heap of people – I gained four spots by the time we got to Turn 1 and then another three by the end of the lap, so 14th on the grid became seventh, which was a place I could actually do something from. It wasn’t like I had an incredible launch or a great start, but I was able to cut through some people pretty well and get to where I did, so definitely one of my better first laps.
Fair to say I didn’t expect to be third by the end of the next lap, but I wasn’t the only one surprised with what went down. I saw Jorge (Lorenzo) coming out of Turn 9 on the second lap and heading down the back straight on the white line down the inside … you could see what was about to happen before it did, so I kept to the outside to try to cut back underneath any drama that happened. It happened alright, you saw the result when Jorge took down ‘Dovi’ (Andrea Dovizioso), Maverick (Vinales) and Vale (Valentino Rossi). So, managed to avoid all of that, and pretty glad I saw it coming before it did and had my escape route planned …
I felt I had good pace all weekend, but I could never get a lap together – Friday we had some frustrations with tyre choices and Saturday I was quick enough, but just never managed to hook it all together. So to do it on race day and finish fifth … really nice to show that although we didn’t have the one-lap pace, we’d worked really hard to get used tyres to work, so it was nice to bring it all together.
The whole race was managing tyres, which I haven’t done all that well a few times this year to be honest. Just being very gentle. I honestly thought at the end of the race that I’d start to come back towards Fabio (Quartararo) and (Danilo) Petrucci because they were spinning much more than me, but it wasn’t to be, which was really strange. I was a bit disappointed with how my tyre behaved because I was being so gentle with it, I’ve never been that careful in my life. I was able to stay with them while being gentle to the tyre, I didn’t get nervous and overdo it, but I wasn’t able to reel them in. The track was in way worse condition than last year and the heat didn’t help, the track temps were up over 50 degrees today, so it was a real bad one in terms of grip level, and the lap times were a lot slower.
We have a one-day test back here tomorrow to get stuck into, and I have a few little items to test and some more time on the bike, so it’ll be good to get back into it. That’s four finishes in the top five this year in the races I’ve finished, so that’s the key part – the finishing bit. We’ll try to keep that ball rolling in Assen in a couple of weeks.
Photos courtesy of Pramac Racing