A really strong Sunday 🏆

Hi everyone,

It's about time I finally scored some points in Austria – I'd never managed it before Sunday, so to finish on the podium was a really strong race for us. Good for Ducati with 'Dovi' (Andrea Dovizioso) winning too, after both of us were nowhere last time in Brno. Third was a bit of a shame because it looked like I'd get second, but I made a slight error on the second-last corner and (Joan) Mir punished me for it. But back on the podium (third again, just like last year five times …), first time this year, and after I took a gamble with the tyres – I'll take that.

When we had the re-started race after of the crash for Johann (Zarco) and Franky (Franco Morbidelli), I made the decision to go with the soft tyres even if it looked a bit dodgy that I'd be able to stretch them for 20 laps. I figured I could do six laps on them flat-out in qualifying, so six laps, 20 laps … could I stretch it? As it was, we didn't have any new medium tyres left for the restarted race, and I hadn't tried the hard all weekend so I wasn't going to go there. Had to try something, right? It definitely worked for the first 10 laps when I was leading, but after 'Dovi' passed me I knew I'd be defending from behind than being able to run with him at the front, and I nearly made it.

I didn't really want to be leading, but I was doing my best just to manage it the best I could and try not to spin the tyres too much. Nearly made it too. Hats off to Mir though, he did a really good job, and it's good to see him get a first podium. It was good to see the old dog 'Dovi' back on top too ... I was ninth and 'Dovi' was 11th in Brno so it's a great turnaround for both of us. I would have loved to have rewarded Ducati with a 1-2, but I fluffed that one.

The two biggest talking points out of the weekend were 'Dovi' announcing he'd be leaving Ducati at the end of the year, and then the crash at Turn 3 that caused the race to get red-flagged. This track isn't the safest on the calendar, by far, and the braking at Turn 3 is very similar to the last corner at Suzuka, the issue they had there before MotoGP stopped going there. You're basically braking towards a wall, so if you lose the front, you're going straight to the wall on the left, and it wouldn't be pretty. They moved it once, but I think it still needs to be further. Seeing the crash – it was a scary moment for all of us and it's a gut-wrenching feeling when you see something like that happen, so I'm glad the guys seem to be OK.

I have to admit I was concerning myself more with my tyre choice while we were waiting for the race to re-start, so I didn't think too much about the crash other than seeing that the guys were OK – Johann was walking and Franco was on a stretcher but gesturing that he was alright. You never want to see crashes like this, but once you see the guys moving, the instant reaction is to get back on the bike. They would do the same if the crash was for someone else. It's a part of racing. I mean, if you think rationally, you don't get on a MotoGP bike and do 350km/h and touch elbows in the first place, do you?

The biggest news all weekend was when it came out that 'Dovi' would be leaving Ducati at the end of the season. I was hoping to be his teammate next year when I come up to the factory team, so I'm disappointed on a personal level, definitely. But he's made the decision, so you've got to back it. The guy has been here a long time and he knows what he’s doing. I want to say thank you to him for eight years he’s put into the Ducati – this competitive package we have now, I think a big part of that is because of him.

Whoever my teammate is next year, it is what it is. I’m a pretty friendly guy to get on with, I think. There's a lot of media hype about it, so you always read something. Some of it might even be true! For me, the logical choice would be my current teammate, Pecco (Bagnaia). He’s been there, done the junior academy. He’s a young rider and he’s hungry. If I have to be completely honest, I think he's the most logical one for the job at the minute. But I'm not the one making the call, thank god for that!

It was a hectic race and a hectic weekend, and I think we'll need to find some more speed for next week when we're back here again. Austria has been a bogey race for me, so it was good to get a healthy haul of points and I got the monkey off my back. These back-to-backs are always hard and everyone seems to lift their games, so hopefully we can do that too. One place more next week would be good, two places would be better – I'd take that.

Cheers, Jack



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