That was a pretty good comeback here in Malaysia, and it needed to be. When you crash and qualify 14th and then drop to 21st on the first lap, you give yourself a bit of work to do – so to end up sixth, move gradually forward all race … it's not every day you make up 15 places in MotoGP, so I definitely have that to be happy about.
It's been a bit of a weird weekend after how busy being at home was – it all seemed a bit quiet here by comparison! I came up here feeling pretty sore after the crash with (Alex) Marquez last week, and it's always so physical here with how hot and humid it is, you know it’s coming but it's not easy to deal with.
I was suffering quite a lot with the bruises I have on my left leg after the crash at Phillip Island because they're in a place where I put a lot of pressure on the leg when I'm pushing on the bike, so the rest of the body is sore because I've been compensating for that all weekend. My leg actually started to feel alright on Saturday morning and then you saw what happened on Saturday afternoon when I high-sided in qualifying, so it was a bit tender again after that. My body right now is pretty toast if I'm being honest …
Qualifying 14th was hardly ideal, worst for me this year actually, but this is a track where you can overtake and it's always a long hot race here, so it's not like other tracks where you can be pretty much out of it if you qualify that far back. My long-run pace was good, I did more than a race distance on the soft rear (tyre) so I felt optimistic for the race. I made things difficult for myself, but not impossible.
I reckon I made one of my worst starts in my Grand Prix career – the start itself was OK, but then I got sandwiched with the row in front of me and had to roll out of it and got stuck on the outside of Turn 1, so got hung out to dry. From there it was all about getting through the first lap safely and starting my race from there, let's say. It felt like a long race just trying to pick guys off lap by lap, getting my head down and not thinking too far ahead. The bike was performing really good, and on the last lap I had (Honda's) Marc (Marquez) ahead of me and had one chance to get him before Turn 4, so that was a good way to finish it.
I came into Malaysia with no chance to win the world championship after what happened to me at home, but I still have a top-three finish to chase. It's clearly not going to be easy, (Aprilia's) Aleix (Espargaro) is 23 points ahead of me so I basically have to win at Valencia and third is his to lose … but I've now scored the most points I've scored in one season, so there's plenty to be positive about. Of course I want to see my Ducati teammate Pecco (Bagnaia) win the championship now I can't and I've said that all along, but for me there's an incentive to finishing third because it means I get a bonus! At the end of the day this is an individual sport and I will try to get the best I can – and the difference between third and fourth or fifth in the championship is quite a considerable amount of money, trust me … It's a long shot, but I'm still pushing for that third.
I reckon we all need a break after that – that's five races in six weeks – and I have my final race for Ducati to look forward to, so let's enjoy Valencia in a couple of weeks.