It's small margins in MotoGP these days, and little bits of time or a few seconds can make or break your weekend. Aragon on Sunday was like that – I started second, got back up there after five laps where I got elbowed around a bit, and then lost second, third and fourth in the space of half a lap. And that was that – fifth at the end, and eight-tenths of a second off the podium. It's frustrating to be so close to a podium for 18 straight laps when you can see it right in front of you, but it's still a decent result for me and helps to make up for what happened in Misano last time when I threw away a good result.
It wasn't all bad news, though – I got back past (Johann) Zarco to fifth in the world championship again, and I've said all along that matching the fourth I managed last year would be a good way to end up my time at Ducati. It's going to be a challenge, Enea (Bastianini) is 29 points ahead of me after winning again today so I'll probably need some help from him – but with five races to go still it's a chance, at least. And Ducati won the constructors' championship for the third year in a row, so it's been nice to play my part in that.
I'd say my race was … reasonable, that's probably the best word for it. Happy enough, let's say. It was more or less the race I set out to have, but I did get caught up in the battle there early on with Brad (Binder) and Aleix (Espargaro) and I was the last one in that group of three. I tried everything but I couldn't make any headway – my top speed at the end of the back straight was great, but I kept losing a couple of bike lengths coming off the corners. I'd close back in, they'd get the gap back out – it was a bit frustrating as the same thing happened lap after lap and I was never able to really attack. But it was happy with the way I rode, I didn't feel like I was making any mistakes, and I probably just needed them to get into more of a battle ahead of me and hope something happened I could benefit from, but it wasn't to be.
This one wasn't like Misano, because at Misano I had a lot of confidence and was trying to ride away with the victory. Here, it was more trying to save the tyre to have something left at the end to attack those boys but I started to lose the front mid- corner a lot near the end, and that took away my confidence a bit.
It feels like Aragon is still one of the newer places we visit, but it's 13 years now and it's the same asphalt now as it was then when it was built in 2009 – it's not been resurfaced once. You have to be a bit careful early on in the weekend as the grip is pretty low, and there must have been some more car racing than usual this year because it took a while to clean the circuit up for us bikes, Friday's grip level was really low so it made sense to not go for too much too early. The places where I felt the grip was lowest is where there's a lot of car rubber like up at Turn 5 and at the Corkscrew, it was super slippery there.
I actually surprised myself in qualifying a bit because I was under what was my best time by six-tenths (of a second) – and (Ducati teammate) Pecco (Bagnaia) still beat me for pole! I felt good, felt like I was ready and it was close, but they key thing was to be on the front row – Pecco, me and Enea again, so that shows that Ducati works fantastic at all different sorts of tracks now. We've been on pole six races in a row now and won five of those, so I'm optimistic I can get another win before it's over because of the run we’re on, it's in my hands to do it.
That was the first weekend of a pretty full run of weekends for me – five races in six weekends, and the one weekend I'm not racing I'm getting married! So, it's off to Japan for next Sunday – I'll speak to you then.