Brno: 'A head-scratcher'

Brno: 'A head-scratcher'

Hi everyone,

So, Brno. You guys saw the race – there's not a lot to say after that one, because there weren't a heap of positives. Maybe that's a bit harsh … finishing inside the top 10 in the end was actually alright, because I spent more of the race in 12th than anywhere else. I managed to pick up three spots in the last four laps and got Aleix (Espargaro, Aprilia) for ninth on the last lap, so I salvaged something from it at least. But I'll be honest, I'm glad that weekend is over. We have a lot to understand from this weekend, whether our struggles were track-specific and a one-off, and we need to do that quickly because we have Austria coming up in less than a week. But it was a weekend to forget.

I was pretty confident I would get a good grid spot for the race after a so-so Friday, but Saturday started badly and ended up worse with me back in 14th on the grid. It's a long while since I've been back that far, six or seven races before the end of last season, and the day just never came to me. In FP3 the rear brake was bent so that didn't work, and then in qualifying I couldn't get the tyre to last, the wear was just so high. Not my most wonderful day, let's say. This year's Ducati is clearly better than last year's but the rear tyre for me just shook everywhere, the bike was fishtailing all the way up the straight. It was a catch-22; you couldn't be too aggressive with the tyre, but our bike needs to be ridden aggressively to get a lap time out of it. So, completely nowhere.

Brno is such a magical track and a favourite of so many of us riders, so to see the condition it's in … it's a real shame, and it affects all of us. I know it's a massive undertaking to resurface the track, but most circuits do it every seven years or so, and here it hasn't been done since 2008 or something. It's very, very bumpy – almost easier to explain where the bumps aren't than where they are – and it just gets worse year by year.

From where I was starting on the grid, I couldn't really have a plan – I just had to recover as many positions as I could at the start. I actually made a pretty good start from 14th; riding back there is always some fun in the first few laps but I was up to 11th pretty quickly, but all that got undone on the second lap. I had a big shake and lost the front brakes coming into Turn 3, (Takaaki) Nakagami (Honda) came in like a kamikaze pilot and almost t-boned me, so all that early momentum disappeared. I fell back to 18th at one stage, I think – so the rest of the race was all about trying to pick guys off one by one and hoping I was still in with a shot to do something in the final laps.

I tell you, it was a strange old weekend. Other than (Johann) Zarco – and he's on last year's Ducati, remember – none of the other Ducatis had any pace at all. I'm riding around behind 'Dovi' (Andrea Dovizioso) in the race and I'm thinking to myself that this was like deja vu, I rode around behind him here last year too – but that was for second and third, not 11th and 12th. So, we definitely need to analyse what's happening – a real head-scratcher. Yeah, it was good to crack the top 10 but considering I was on the podium here last year – I'll leave here pretty frustrated.

Austria next weekend – and the one after that in this strange season – the Ducati usually goes well in Austria but I haven't had much luck there the last few years, so at least I get two goes at fixing that this time. It'll suit our bike, so I'm hopeful we can do something better there next week.

Cheers, Jack