I've got to say, this one feels good – really good. It's so nice to be back up here on the podium here at Jerez – it feels like a minute, but it hasn't been that long – but to be here in these KTM colours feels even better.
The thing is, I'm not that surprised in some ways. The bike has been phenomenal all year, every weekend I've felt like we've only been missing a little bit here or there, so it was nice this weekend to have everything polished and do it right. We're taking it to the big boys now, and it feels really great. It's the fourth Grand Prix, and we have a good package. Now, it's just time … we're slowly but surely arriving at the front, and I'm sure we'll come to some tracks that are even better for us.
I had to work for that one today, that's for certain. (KTM teammate) Brad (Binder) rode awesome, (Ducati's) Pecco (Bagnaia) did too, and it was some really fun, clean racing at the front there. I'm just happy to be part of that. And to be up on the podium for KTM for the first time, it's just an awesome feeling. We're here already, and hopefully we can stay here!
Brad was phenomenal – I'm gutted for him actually, because to lead that many laps and not come away with the big one, it's tough. But he didn't really put a foot wrong all race. Pecco, though … he rode a really smart race and showed us who the champ is.
After the way Austin ended up, I studied the data a little bit before Jerez to try to understand what I did wrong, why I'd crashed in the race. We always hear riders saying 'oh, I didn't do anything differently', but clearly I did something because I crashed. I managed to stay on the bike the laps before … so I just tried to erase that memory coming here. Learn from it, sure, but erase it. I had six crashes over the weekend … most of them were sort of nothing crashes, two were on out-laps. But they were all my fault. So it was a strange one for that, but back here under normal circumstances with normal asphalt, those sorts of crashes … I was confident it would be a different ball game, and that's how it turned out.
Having Dani (Pedrosa) with us in the KTM box this weekend as a wildcard was pretty cool, I'm not going to lie. Everyone acted surprised when he was fastest in Friday first practice, but I mean, c'mon … the guy is a legend – there's a reason why he's a legend. He knows how to pedal a motorcycle and he's done plenty of laps around here – I mean, one of the corners here is named after him! It's never easy, coming in off the sofa, but at the end of the day he's Dani Pedrosa and I'm pretty sure he knows how to ride a motorcycle! The old fella has still got it …
He's doing a fantastic job for KTM, and the information that he has on this track definitely helped us. We run a little bit of a different set-up, obviously because I'm around 30 kilos heavier than he is, but he's made a big impact for us and I think we have the best test rider on the grid. For him to be P6 after not racing for a fair bit of time, he did an amazing job.
It's been a mega weekend, but we're not done here yet. I'm especially looking forward to the test here on Monday – I never thought I'd ever say I was looking forward to a test! – but I'm looking forward to testing some parts and getting a little more time on this bike under my belt with it still being pretty early in the season. Now we've got some podiums under our belt, the natural reaction is to go chase a few more. And it's super satisfying to do this so early with KTM.
I wanted a new challenge. I took a chance on myself … people in business do it all the time, and it's no different here. Yes, it can come back to bite you on the arse – but we took a risk, and it feels mega when it comes off. I can't thank KTM enough. And thanks to the people that doubt us – I love it. To be back here on the podium, to have both those bikes on the podium – I didn't think it would happen this quickly, so I'm stoked.