It's been a fair old week out here in Asia, that's for sure – a win last Sunday in Japan, and then less than second off another one here in Thailand. Last week, once I got to the front, was pretty stress-free, but this one with the rain and everything… it was a lot tougher. It felt like such a long race out there, because in conditions like that you're concentrating so hard… it was a stressful one alright.
There'd been rain forecast all weekend, but all weekend it stayed dry when we were out there on track. And then on Sunday… you saw what happened. It doesn't just a rain a little bit here either, so all we had was two warm-up laps on the way to the grid, and off we went. None of us had much of an idea what we were getting into, as we'd not ridden here in three years and not in the wet all weekend. So it was a bit of an adventure.
Generally when the first wet session of a weekend comes about, I'm pretty quick to jump to it and understand my setting. I got up to the front pretty quick in the race and then it was me and (KTM's) Miguel (Oliveira) that seemed to have the most confidence, and pretty soon it was a one-on-one fight with him, the others had dropped away.
I tried my best and led a fair bit of the way, but all race I was struggling in the last sector of the lap, which was where Miguel was at his strongest. Even when I was ahead I knew that's where he'd have a go at me because I could hear the corner speed he had behind me. My setting on the bike wasn't quite where I wanted it, it felt a bit stiff, so that's where he had his advantage.
I kept him behind once when he came past at the last corner, but he eventually got me for good on lap 14 and then all I could do was hang in there to see if I could send a move back on him or if he'd make a mistake. Hats off to him, he didn't offer me so much as a sniff. I gave it a good crack, but he rode flawlessly out front. When you're first on the road and the conditions are as bad as that, it's not easy to understand where your braking markers are as they change corner by corner, lap by lap. I spent the first half in the lead, he did the second half and I can tell you, it wasn't easy out there. So to get 20 points out of that… I'm very happy.
(Ducati teammate) Pecco (Bagnaia) finished third and he's now right behind (Yamaha's) Fabio (Quartararo) for the championship lead, I kept myself in championship contention to a degree now I'm only 40 points back… it was an amazing day for the team.
Pecco mentioned after the race that I'd given him a bit of a pep talk before we went out – he's never usually gone that well in the wet before and you could see he was thinking about it. What I said to him was nothing major, but I basically told him to believe in himself, he's one of the best riders in the world and he's done a fantastic job up until now. I've seen him ride in the wet very fast before. He looked a bit apprehensive, so maybe my little talk helped him a bit.
I definitely came here with a buzz after winning in Japan, a quick turnaround for sure but I definitely let it sink in. I actually watched the Japan race back a couple of times and watched with a bit of disbelief to be honest, because I'd never ridden a race like that before. Watching it two times was probably enough though! It was a bit of a shock to see, a nice shock you could say. But once we got to Thailand it was eyes forward and trying to do it all over again.
We got to see the calendar for next season over the weekend too, and I definitely like the look of it – the first thing I check is Australia in October and then work my way up from there – and we have some new places to go to with Kazakhstan and India coming up for the first time. It's a big calendar, 21 races, but it's fantastic for the championship to be spreading out a little more rather being solely Europe-based. I like the idea of that, taking MotoGP all around the world. I think that's how it should be.
Anyway, maybe the best thing about this weekend is that the next race is home for me in a couple of weeks – and I've got my wedding next weekend. I got asked over the weekend if I was more nervous for the race than my wedding – the wedding will be easy because Ruby organised everything! No pressure for me, I just have to turn up and behave myself… And then my home race – for the first time in three years. There's a lot to look forward to.