Today felt like a big long fight. I'm happy enough, I felt I rode pretty well, but finishing fifth when you've been third for a lot of the race is a bit of a shame. But, saying that, I was pretty happy with the performance. Doing nearly 22 laps with '+0 Marquez' on your pit board is a pretty stressful deal, that's for certain!
I stuck with Pecco (Bagnaia) and Fabio (Quartararo) for the first four laps, but by lap five those guys went up another gear and I wasn't able to hang with that pace. I have to say a massive congratulations to Pecco, because he rode a fantastic race. Anyway, I tried my best to ride my own race, because it was what was behind me from that point that I needed to think about. Marc (Marquez) was right there, and you just know there's an attack coming. Aleix (Espargaro) was right behind him too. One of us had to finish third of that three, unfortunately it was me. I gave it my maximum, but of course you want more.
I was suffering quite a lot even from the beginning of the race at Turn 5, I had to use an unconventional line there to get around the corner and Marc eventually passed me there with five laps to go. I could hear on the right-hand corners that he was reeling me in, I was suffering a lot on the right-hand side of the front tyre. Once Marc passed, I could see he was having the same issues as me… then he had his moment in the last corner, nearly came off, and then it was on with two laps to go. I tried to push and go with Aleix after he passed me and Marc but I had a moment at Turn 6, one at 9 and one at 11 on the next lap and I thought 'hang on, keep it steady, keep it safe'. Marc hit me with a divebomb on the last lap at Turn 8 and I didn't think he was going to get it done, but it was fine.
I wish I could have been fighting for the podium at the end, but that's three races in a row now that we've been in the mix for the podium with here, Portimao and Texas. My bike has been good three weeks in a row now, so that's a positive I can take out of today. MotoGP is just so competitive at the moment... 11 of us have been on the podium now and there's some guys who haven't that you know will be at some stage this year. Besides some of the rookies, I think everybody has a chance. That’s the way it is now in MotoGP. The guys that are in the top 16-17-18 have a big chance. You just have to keep pushing because the margins are so fine.
I've always had some good memories from here at Jerez, last year's win of course being the top one. Still even to this day it was probably the most amazing day of my career, one that I'll always remember because it had been so long since Assen (2016) and the win I had there. Jerez has always been a special place for me, it brings back memories. When I first moved over to Europe my parents and me lived in a motorhome for the first year and I didn't have much seat time, so after a couple of rounds of the Spanish championship we came here and basically parked up on the beach in Cadiz and stayed down here for a month or more. We were just going back and forth to the track, me doing some riding and then having a pretty nice life there, did some training on the nice long beaches in the good weather like it always is. I think about those days every time I come here.
Anyway, my weekend isn't over yet. We've got a test here on Monday where we can try to understand a little bit more the feeling on the front end of the bike, and I think we'll be good heading into Le Mans in a couple of weeks. Le Mans is a place I love and the weather is always unpredictable, but I'm confident we can put on a good performance there rain, hail or shine.