That was about as weird of an Australian GP as you can imagine, with everything that’s gone on over the last few days. We had amazing weather before the weekend, then it did its typical Phillip Island thing, we had a Saturday Grand Prix and then nothing on Sunday … yeah, a strange one alright.
My personal opinion is that we should have at least done some laps on Sunday to see what the conditions were like and if we could continue. I mean, it was definitely windy … but if it’s windy on the motorway you ride or you drive to the conditions, right? I didn’t think it was a safety issue but the powers-that-be said no, so that’s what we had to roll with. We sent Moto2 and Moto3 out there, so maybe we should have tried as well.
Sunday being cancelled was a shame, because of the fans mostly. They’re some of the best fans in the world here, and unfortunately they didn’t get to see a race which is disappointing. People got up early as anything to come here to see us at least try to ride a motorbike, so that’s unfortunate. They come out here in this miserable stuff and we didn’t have the balls to go out in front of them, so the least I could do was come out and sign some stuff and take some selfies afterwards. They deserve that and more. I felt sad for the fans, but that’s the risk we run here. We had the most beautiful stunning location for a motorcycle track for three days, but the irony of that is that it can also turn to shit.
Not doing the sprint race on the Sunday was a strange one, but Saturday was just as strange. It was a weird feeling leaving the track on Saturday with the race being done but still having to hang around for a shorter one the next day!
Seventh on Sunday – I mean Saturday – I would have wanted a little more, but that was what we had. I felt reasonably strong as I had all weekend in the middle part of the track, sector three felt good, but the last sector especially in race trim I was trying to nurse the rear (tyre) coming out of (Turns) 11 and 12 but I was lacking a little bit of front-end support, so I couldn’t let the bike roll through the corner as much as I’d like to. I was slow into the corner and had to be slow on the way out to not smoke the rear tyre. The tyre was in relatively decent condition towards the end of the race though, so I was able to fight back and I had a bit of fun there in that battle with (Ducati’s) Alex (Marquez) and (Aprilia’s) Aleix (Espargaro), so that was decent.
It was awesome to see (Ducati’s) Johann (Zarco) win one after all this time, to be fair for a bloke who’d won his first Grand Prix I thought he seemed relatively controlled! Maybe it was all still sinking in. Ever since he stepped into the category he’s been strong, so for him to finally get one after so many starts and so many second places … yeah, I was definitely happy for him.
You always look forward to racing at home, but there’s that little something extra about coming back to the Island that’s just so nice. It’s special to have a home race too when everyone tells you how much they love coming here! I can’t take any credit for that of course but there’s a lot to like here, and it’s cool for me that it’s my home track as it’s one all us riders like. I love this place. Maybe not so much the weather, but that’s how it goes here sometimes. If we’d had the race on Thursday it would have been amazing.
Racing in front of a home crowd … I know it’s not the first time or even close these days for me, but every year it hits you the same way – you still kind of pinch yourself and it never gets old, I tell you. So for everyone who came out over the weekend, it means a lot, and I definitely appreciate it.