One lap plus one corner from the end, and this might have sounded very different… almost a cut and paste job from last weekend in Germany because third was right there… So to finish sixth after starting sixth (again) and doing a long-lap penalty (again) – I mean, it's not bad, but it wasn't far off being a lot better. I was really happy with the race up until the last lap.
I dropped back to 10th after doing the long-lap, but made my way back up to fourth and had (Maverick) Vinales ahead of me, but I made a slight mistake on the second-last lap and it cost me. I came through the fast corner before the final chicane, the closing speed was quite a lot and I expected him, when he opened the gas, to accelerate more – but he didn't. I had to pick the bike up to avoid him, and when I did it started snaking, she was a bit out of control. I lost all my speed onto the front straight and that put me in range of Brad (Binder) and Aleix (Espargaro) to attack me on the last lap.
The final chicane on the last lap when Aleix got both of us… I wasn't expecting it. It was my fault, I take full responsibility for that. I copped a handlebar to the elbow and I had nowhere to go, got pushed wide. I felt like I was stronger than the guys around me at the end of the race, I was able to manage the soft tyre really well until the end, and that gives me confidence at least because the last two races I've been strong at the end. But rewind a lap and I'm thinking it could be another podium… so sixth – yeah, a tough one.
Saturday in qualifying was like Germany all over again. Qualified sixth, had a crash, got myself a long lap penalty again... pretty familiar really. Unfortunate for sure with the penalty, but to be honest I didn't feel like I did a lot wrong.
I crashed near the end of Q2 at Turn 5 and I was sitting side-saddle because I'd just bump-started the bike to get going again, and I had a busted footpeg. I was trying to make sure it didn't snap when I put my weight on it to swing my leg over. I looked to make sure that I wasn’t in anyone's way or anything and Maverick was just there. There’s a lot of track there but I understand the racing line sort of pulls you out that way to the left, but there’s not much more I could do. I went to apologise to him straight afterwards because I know it was shit.... I couldn't have done much more to get out of the way though, and the speed difference was the big issue. Unfortunate with the penalty, but it is what it is. I'd already messed up my own qualifying, and the penalty didn't help in the race… when you lose track position, having to pass these guys back isn't the easiest thing nowadays and it usually takes more than one lap to pass one guy. Makes things hard, for sure.
That's four races in the last five weekends for us and I'm sure we're all ready for a rest, I know I am. It'll be good to get home for a few weeks and then go again for the last nine races of the season, my last nine with Ducati and of course my home race at Phillip Island. A lot to look forward to, but it's time for a break…