Season Opener Struggle 😰

Season Opener Struggle 😰

Hi everyone,

That was less than I was hoping for on my 100th MotoGP race, that's for sure. When you're at the top after the practice sessions and you qualify on the second row, ninth is less than I would have signed up for … but the good news is that we have another race here in Qatar next week so we can get it right. We have work to do, that's for sure, but we have the time to do it which is a positive. But that wasn't the race we were wanting, or let's say expecting. 

I had an awesome start as you saw – our bike is a bit of a rocket ship off the line – and was sitting pretty comfortably in third for the first few laps, getting used to the conditions and saving some tyre for later in the race. I felt extremely comfortable in third position after (Johann) Zarco passed me, I thought I could let them go and bide my time, just be careful and calm with the tyres and I could come back to them when it was time. 

It was pretty windy out there, not ideal, but the same for everyone I guess. I still felt I could push as I needed to, and with about 14 laps or so to go, whenever it was that Maverick (Vinales) came past me anyway, I thought 'OK, now it's time to start upping the pace'. Initially it was alright but after a few laps I started to lose the rear grip on mid-corner, so the managing of the tyre I did early on didn’t work. It was the right side of the tyre when I was off the gas, I had a big moment in Turn 5 and I lost the rear and that was the first warning sign.

I hung on for fourth until there were about seven laps left but I was getting dropped after that, and to be seven seconds down at the end, we have work to do. 

Maverick rode a really impressive race for the win and hats off to him, but to be honest I wasn't overly impressed with Yamaha's pace. Suzuki – you saw (Joan) Mir come through and if it was any other circuit he would have finished second, but he got swamped by Zarco and my teammate Pecco (Bagnaia) at the end on the run to the line, us Ducati riders have a bit of power to play with. I said all along I felt Suzuki were sandbagging in testing and they clearly still have a very good bike, they weren't world champions last year by accident. They're very good with their tyre usage and can push late in the race, same as last year basically. 

So like I said, the best part of having another race at this track next week is that I get to study and see what happened so we can fix it. We are a factory team and seven points is better than zero, but we need to understand what happened today and learn from it, we can't do that again. And for me, I was fast most of the weekend but had a couple of shit little crashes that affected my confidence a little bit, but I still felt comfortable. I felt like I had a package to fight with – well, for half the race at least. 

We have one more race here so we may as well make the most of it – I'll speak to you after that next week. 

Cheers, Jack