Short of about 90-odd seconds on Saturday, that was a pretty crap weekend for me at Misano. Didn't have much pace on Friday, gave myself a lot to do on Saturday by having to come through Q1, and then got second on the grid which was a bonus (that's the good 90 seconds bit).
And then the race ... two laps in I was getting dropped by the guys up front, and after eight laps I was back in the box with a DNF. My second of the season which is costly of course with the short calendar and it being so close, but the one positive is that we're done with Misano for the year. Once wasn't great for me, twice was worse ... at least there's not a third time!
Sunday started badly for me with a big old highside on a cold tyre in the morning warm-up, and I ended up pretty battered and bruised from that one. Then in the race, I had a tear-off from someone's visor end up in the air box and that just made a bad day worse. No points, but it was a strange race after last week here – the guys who scored big points last time like Franky (Morbidelli), Pecco (Bagnaia) and Vale (Valentino Rossi) didn’t score much or at all, so somehow I'm still only 20 points off the lead and with our worst track of the year behind us, thank goodness.
I didn't have the best pace for the whole race here last week, so my plan was to take a different approach this time. The Yamahas are always so super consistent at this track, so when I got a good start last week, I probably got a bit too excited and got drawn into chasing Franky and Vale, and by the end I was pretty much hanging onto my tyres and going backwards. So my plan was to ride my own race this time, manage my tyres a bit better and then see what I could do at the end. Misano is a pretty brutal track for tyres and I was kind of defenceless at the end in the first race here, so the plan wasn't to be in that situation again. When you have two races in as many weeks at the same track and a test in the middle ... the bikes are so close and we're in all the groove so everything is on the razor's edge. The margins are really small. We're all on the limit, you could see that with how much faster the qualifying laps were this week compared to last, so I suspected the race would be a big pack of us at the front, and then it could come down to who managed it best. I just needed to be in it, not like last week, but now I'm thinking last Sunday maybe wasn't so bad after all. Relatively speaking, anyway.
This championship fight is going down to the wire, that seems pretty clear to me and realistically has been ever since Marc (Marquez) got injured. Everyone has stepped up their game but there's also been lots of mistakes. Limiting the mistakes is going to be a big thing, but you can't be too conservative, got to keep pushing for podiums and wins if you can. It's a hard balance and we've probably all had trouble mastering that so far – explains why there's been so many ups and downs for most of us, I guess.
I'll be happy to get out of here after two weeks to get to a new track, to be honest. We're coming up to tracks which our bike really gets along with like Aragon, Le Mans, Barcelona, Valencia and then Portimao at the end. Barcelona is next weekend, so I'll dust myself off and see what we can do.