It's the same old story for me here in Misano, unfortunately. Five times here I've qualified on the front row, and I've still never managed to get on the podium. If I was ever going to change things around I thought it'd be this year, but not even two laps into it I was on the floor from the lead, and it was basically game over. Misano is a track I've always liked coming to, I'm always fast here, but I just haven't had a whole lot of luck. So, not the day we anticipated, but that was the way the cookie crumbled unfortunately.
I pushed from the beginning and tried to get away from those guys behind me to break the group up a little bit, and I did one good lap... I was a little wide coming out of Turn 3 on the second lap, a little bit wide into Turn 4 and came in wide off the kerb, and down she went. And that was it. I continued but had no rear brake, so trying to ride one of these monsters with no rear brake and no wings on one side was a little bit of a handful, let's say. I didn't give up and kept pushing, but it's pretty disappointing. You're riding around just kicking yourself, and you're going to need other people to make mistakes even to get a point. In the end, it was 18th and that was that.
It had all gone so well until Sunday. I was in the top three in every session until qualifying, and I finally went one better and got pole here after qualifying second four times before.
Qualifying was one of those sessions where you're living off your wits, so it was super satisfying to take pole because I'd gone a long while between drinks – four years! We all went out on the wets because the pit lane was soaked, but we all realised pretty quickly that it was slick tyre territory and that threw things up in the air. It's no secret that I tend to go alright in those sorts of conditions and we were fast in the dry anyway, so I was confident I could get it right. You never know how long that little window in the weather is going to last to get that one lap on a slightly damp track in on a slick tyre, so the heart rate went up a bit!
I tried to ride it like it was a dry track, just maybe one that's a little greasy, but just go for it. When you get comfortable on your bike, you can understand what the grip's doing, you can just feel it. I ran wide on my final lap so I rode around trying to stay out of everyone's way so I didn't get a penalty while watching the big screens around the track to see if anyone bumped me off pole, but it held strong for me and I was able to get back to pole after four years. I'd been close many a time, so it was nice to finally nail one. So Saturday was good, at least. Not much to say about Sunday, though.
We're here in Misano for a couple more days yet – we have a two-day test on Tuesday and Wednesday before we all head home, and then it's off to Aragon next. We'll take the positives from here, keep working, and come back stronger next time.