I'd say that's one you'd file under 'somewhat satisfied'. I'm not going to get carried away over finishing seventh, but some points there, a sixth in the sprint race and gaining a place in the championship at a track that's not been too kind to me in the past … I'll take that.
Mugello is a track I've always liked, even if it hasn't particularly liked me in the past – my results here haven't been great, I'm not going to lie. But I felt coming in we could challenge with the top speed on the KTM, and this bike turns really well too, and there's a lot of long corners here. So I was definitely optimistic, and excited to try something new at this track after all the years on a Ducati.
From where Saturday started with me in Q1, to qualify on the second row and end up in sixth in the sprint race was actually pretty decent. It felt good to be part of the fight up the front, but I was struggling the whole race at Turn 1 trying to get the bike stopped there, it felt like the other boys were able to fire it in deeper and control their deceleration a bit better. I felt like every time I got into a decent spot, I was leaving the door open and letting at least two bikes through at Turn 1!
I felt better towards the end of the race, but sixth and a chance for better on Sunday, I was alright with that. I made a pretty tough move on Marc (Marquez) in the sprint and I didn't intend to nudge him like I did … no harm no foul I suppose, and I was glad he was able to stick on the bike like he did. The last lap – I was definitely real nervous when I saw '93' on the pit board so I was making sure I got every apex, definitely not leaving any room between myself and the kerb on the inside because when you've got him behind you, you know he's always going to fire one at you. I didn't want to make it easy for him!
As for Sunday … yeah, somewhat satisfied is the way I'd describe it – but definitely wanting more. I had a decent start and it was nice to lead into Turn 1, but I was just missing a bit of pace there in the beginning, the other boys seemed to be able to pull out two to three-tenths (of a second) each lap and I couldn't find that extra little bit. After mid-race, the gaps kind of stabilised and I felt like I was getting more and more comfortable, but I just need to find a little more speed. Decent points and 10 seconds back from the win … we can't be too disappointed because it's one of my best results in Mugello so I have to take that as a bonus and be happy to come out the other side. We've got some tracks coming up that I know I go better at like Sachsenring and Assen, so to come out of here with the points I did was alright – it's an improvement on how it usually goes for me here, let's be honest.
I got back to Australia for a couple of weeks since we last raced – it's very unusual to be able to sneak back during the season, so we took the chance to get back and catch up with family and get Ruby checked out, it was really good. It's a strange one because we come back here for a triple-header, and then it's a few weeks off and back home again!
It gave me probably more time than I wanted to think about Le Mans, because that was a bit a nightmare with a silly mistake in the main race. So, try to forget that but learn from what happened at the same time, and then it's just looking forwards to the triple-header.
Sachsenring is such an unusual place with the layout there and how much of a one- off it is, but I had a podium there last time and I'm keen to see how the KTM goes there – not long now until we find out.