I'm not one for getting too excited for finishing eighth most of the time, but from where we were on Saturday here in Catalunya, I'll definitely take it. Saturday was just kind of nowhere, so to be much closer to the front in the Grand Prix and – more importantly than that – feeling like I'd made some headway left me in a better mood, and it was something we definitely needed.
I actually apologised to the mechanics on Sunday because all weekend they'd been working their butts off to try to find me a solution. It's always super low-grip here, it's one of the lowest-grip tracks we come to, and Saturday was a struggle, finishing 16th and so far off the front guys in the Sprint. We turned the bike upside down and inside out on Saturday night, made a massive change, and I felt like I wobbled around for the first six laps on Sunday but I felt immediately that I could get a bit more feedback and was able to, step by step, push it a little bit more. It felt a lot more normal, thankfully.
The good start helped, but I made a couple of mistakes early on just sorting my braking marker out in Turn 1. The wind was a massive tail-wind down into there, and that cost me a bit of time and allowed (Ducati's) Alex (Marquez) to come through, and in turn (Yamaha's) Fabio (Quartararo) as well. But I started to go quite strong at the end once they started suffering on the right-hand side of the tyre. I was able to come back to them. I felt I had plenty of tyre there at the end, so it was fun when you can start riding the way you want to. As the race went on, I felt more comfortable and knew where I could push, and where I couldn't. I'm just happy to come out of here with a good feeling, to be honest. We made some headway, probably the first headway we've made in a couple of weeks. We've made a big step, so hopefully that carries over to Misano.
There'd been a bit of a pattern forming this year – Silverstone, Austria, here – they're all tracks that are pretty low on grip, and this one is probably the worst. And then there was Argentina earlier this year … anyway, with my riding style, it seems to be one of the things I've not found out how to do on the KTM yet, and I just suffer a lot. When we get to Misano, that's usually one of the grippiest tracks on the calendar, and all those problems will be gone. I mean, there'll be other problems, there always is, but not those ones …
I was pleased to hear my old teammate (Ducati's) Pecco (Bagnaia) was relatively OK after the crash on Sunday, lap one here can often be pretty chaotic but that was a big one even for here. If you look at the history books, there's always a big one in Barcelona – always has been, always will be. It's such a big drag to the first corner that you can make up a lot of positions, or you can lose a lot of positions in that first chicane. We're doing upwards of 250km/h into Turn 1 – you put 22 bikes together, that's a lot of bikes going down to a second-gear corner. It's bound to happen, really. That's two years in a row now, and Pecco has copped it both times.
(Ducati's Enea) Bastianini sent it in from a long way back, and as soon as I saw the rear wheel start to hop as he went towards the apex of the corner I thought 'this is not going to be good', so I pulled myself back a little bit and, sure enough, in front of me she all went down, it was dominoes at Turn 1. After that, I was just trying to avoid Pecco's bike at Turn 2 after he'd high-sided on the cold tyre, (KTM teammate) Brad (Binder) unfortunately ran over Pecco's leg … it was definitely chaotic in that first lap.
You never want to see something like that, especially when you're in front of 22 guys. It's one of the biggest high-sides I've seen for a long time, he hit the ground seriously hard … hopefully he'll be right come Misano.