Back-To-Back at Le Mans! 🥇

Back-To-Back at Le Mans! 🥇

Hi everyone, 

Where do I start after that? Let's see … it was dry, I led, it rained, I fell back, I went off in the gravel and just about kept it upright, I sped coming into the pit lane, I did two long-lap penalties, I got back to the front, it dried, the wind picked up like a hurricane and I was on the wrong tyre. And then I win, I'm on the podium with two French riders, there's nobody in the Le Mans stands and I've won two races in two weeks. 

If your head is spinning after reading that, how do you reckon mine is?! There's some other stuff I've probably forgotten too. It's probably not the best word, but 'hectic' is one way to describe it. Back-to-back wins, just fantastic. Somebody pinch me, because I must be dreaming …

I had good pace all weekend no matter what the weather was doing (and it did a lot), so I just wanted to get out in front off the start, and then manage things even if someone went back past – just tag onto them and see where the pace went. I did that and it was all going to plan ... and then the rain came four laps in! Then when it really bucketed down, both me and (Fabio) Quartararo buttoned off and it was then that I nearly lost it, so I just aimed for the gravel at Turn 11 as I figured there'd be some grip in there! That was pretty hairy. 

Once I got back out after the bike swap and did my long-lap penalties for speeding coming into the pit lane, I knew there was a long race ahead and I had time to get back up there. Didn't have to do it all at once, just keep my head. The first sector, Turn 1, I knew I had the pace there compared to Fabio. So, no need to panic, just had to keep my composure ... I eventually got back to the front with more than half the race left, 14 laps ... and she was a long old 14 laps from there, let me tell you. I was able to ride my own race from there though, and here we are again. 

I've now won a completely wet race in Assen 2016, a completely dry one at Jerez last time, and now a flag-to-flag one here. Any win in MotoGP feels fantastic but flag-to-flag … I don't want to say it's the most stressful because Jerez was pretty stressful, being at the front and being chased down, but this feels different. You don't feel physically exhausted, but I think I speak for all the riders in that you feel a little bit mentally exhausted because of the focus it takes, and the feeling of trying to predict what conditions you'll find at the next corner, corner after corner, lap after lap. It's a more mentally draining way to win. Flag-to-flag is a cool element of our sport and it's not that enjoyable at the time because of the stress, but it's better than red-flagging a race every time it rains and sitting around waiting to get started again. 

So what's changed since it was all going so bad the first few races? My confidence now is up for sure, and it's just momentum, keeping the ball rolling. Generally in my career I get stronger the longer the season goes on, so that's what happening here. I'm not worrying about my arm, and one thing I did after Jerez was keep up my training like I'm losing rather than winning ... so let's not change a formula that's working. 

I'd be stoked just to be on the podium in the next race at Mugello for Ducati – this is the best Ducati I've ridden, for sure. For me they're the hardest-working manufacturer there is, so I'm proud to bring these results back to them. 

Le Mans is definitely a place with mixed emotions for me, I described it as a bit of a love-hate thing even before this weekend started, and you can see why. I won Moto3 here in 2014 in a big old brawl at the front, had a couple of crashes the first MotoGP races I did, had that huge crash at the chicane that nearly killed me in 2017, and then looked on for a podium last year before the bike cut out. So, some super big highs and pretty deep lows; let's say I wasn't the best company after the race here last year! After this one – it's good we're not testing here tomorrow like we were after Jerez, let's say …

Cheers, Jack