Seventh – look, I’m happy enough with that, and in general with our performance all weekend here in Indonesia. It was a tricky weekend here with the heat and how one- line this track is, but all weekend we were able to show some decent speed, so happy with the outcome. It’s nice to have two decent weekends in a row as well, both with Japan and here. I had strong pace at the end too which is always a positive in these hot conditions. Not too far off the leaders, but we’ve got a little bit of work to do, definitely.
It was really slippery in the beginning and I had a little mistake, went in a little deep at Turn 10 on lap two and lost a few positions, but came back on and set to work. I got past (Honda’s) Marc (Marquez) and finally got through on (Aprilia’s) Miguel (Oliveria), and set my sights on (Yamaha’s) Fabio (Quartararo) and felt really good for eight laps in a row, I really had some decent pace. But the soft front tyre started to have some moments, all on one lap on the left-hand side, and I was little bit taken aback and didn’t really understand what I needed to do.
The grip wasn’t terrible, but it was the way I was riding, trying to let (the bike) roll … I couldn’t do that anymore and had to keep some load on the front. Once (KTM teammate) Brad (Binder) came past I found my bearings again and saw what he was doing – he had a different front tyre to me but I felt he was braking quite late, so I was able to rebound and find a little bit of speed towards the end there. I was able to keep (Ducati’s) Enea (Bastianini) at bay, it took everything I had those last three laps to keep him behind me, but nonetheless it was a solid race.
The Sprint on Saturday went alright too, all things considered. I lit it up a bit at the start – I had a great jump but in the second part of the start I started to spin and had to slip the clutch to avoid the rear tyre lighting up. It was super hard to pass though, it’s very one-line here because the track doesn’t get used much. Once we get a dry line through the corners and it grips up, she’s pretty treacherous off-line and there’s probably only one place to make a pass, at Turn 10, unless the guy in front of you makes a mistake. It’s super-easy to lose the front of the bike here, it’s even slippery on-line, let alone off of it.
The only bad part of Saturday was crashing in the pit lane … probably one of the dumber things I’ve done, I reckon. I was cruising along, had my hand on the tank, pressed the pit lane speed limiter for 70km/h and grabbed the brakes, and I guess the brakes were cold because I’d been off-line all lap on the in-lap. I didn’t have my hands on the handlebars at the time so whack, down I went on my face in front of everyone. I was all good though, it was only the old ego that was a bit bruised …
The massive topic before we got on track here was of course Marc (Marquez) and him walking away from Honda. We all got asked about it, no surprise there. Look, it’s a big move for him, and I really hope he can succeed, I’m sure it wasn’t a decision he took lightly. More power to him, I wish him all the best. It’s always sad when you see these riders when it’s like (Valentino) Rossi and Yamaha, (Jorge) Lorenzo and Yamaha, Dani (Pedrosa) and Honda and now Marc leaving Honda … it’s always sad when you see the power couples break up, but it'll be exciting to see what he can do in the future. He’s walking away from a decent pay packet to get results, which is something I can definitely respect.
It’s time to head home now – everyone can visit me for a change – and I’m really looking forward to heading to Phillip Island on this bike. We’ve made some big steps forward with the new chassis and so on and with set-up in general, and the way we come into the weekends, so I reckon the KTM can work really, really well around the Island. The bike is nice and agile at high speed which you need there, and there’s always some decent grip there as well. Fingers crossed we can put on a good show for the home fans, I know I’ll feel that extra support so we’ll see you there!