That was a weekend of highs and lows here in India, that's for sure. When you finish 14th, it's fair to say Sunday wasn't the day I'd hoped for.
I did pretty well out of the first-corner mess on Saturday in the Sprint race and was able to get up to seventh, but she was a different story on Sunday. I had a bit of contact and went out of the track at Turn 1 off the start which wasn't ideal, and I tried to make up too many positions in one go there on the second lap and fired myself off the end of the track again, so it was an uphill battle from there.
I tried to get my head down and stuck in after that. I got stuck behind (Honda's Stefan) Bradl for a few laps and the front tyre temperature went through the roof … once I could finally get clear from him I could cool the front tyre down a bit and could put in some semi-decent laps, but it was too little, too late by then. So 14th is what we got.
I struggled with grip from the get-go, front and rear, and wasn't really able to carry a lot of corner speed at all – without breaking the rear loose on the entry, I wasn't really able to get the thing to turn. I need to be able to work on corner speed, two-wheeling it rather than sliding it to turn. We tried a different set-up this morning in warm-up and I wasn't entirely happy with that, so we went back to what we knew from the Sprint race for the main race, but the grip level seemed a bit lower today. I wasn't able to carry much corner speed or confidence, that's definitely plagued us these last couple of races.
India, the first time here for all of us … I'm not someone who does simulators or plays video games when we have a new track, I get out there and walk it to see it with my own eyes first! Yeah, it was hot and Sunday was hard for 21 laps, but we could have done the 24 laps we were originally scheduled to do, three more laps would have been no problem. It was kinda like Townsville in the middle of summer, so no complaints from me! It was like doing motos in the middle of January at home…
I quite liked the layout and it was a hard track to stitch the lap together, definitely. You think from looking at the track from the outside that it’s all about the braking zones, but as much as that it's about getting the changes of direction perfect in the two fast chicanes, particularly Turns 6-7. It's a hard track to get perfect, way more technical than any of us expected. The fast chicanes reminded me of Mugello a bit, and other parts were a bit like Sachsenring with the elevation change, you're aiming at the apex of the corner well before you can actually see it. You're riding on feel as much as anything, and you always feel like you're braking either way too early or too late! It's a visually deceiving track, not like anywhere I can think of really. Difficult, but fun.
As you all know it's been an amazing time for me and Ruby with us becoming parents since Misano with little Pip being born last week.
It was super hard to leave home to come here, that's for sure – definitely the toughest goodbye I've ever had to do, but I'll get back to them soon enough. Dad life is pretty good! It was a bit of a rush for me to get there after Misano – I left the test, got home Wednesday night, and then Pip was born Thursday. It's been like a dream ever since. I can't even describe how it feels to be a dad … I mean, people tell you a lot of things beforehand but it's a complete game-changer. I get emotional just talking about it! It's more than I can ever ask for.
We're straight to Japan now, and I have good memories from there after last year and it'll be good for my confidence. I'm looking forward to heading back there, it's a track I like a lot. We have a good bike, it's about trying to fine-tune it to get everything sorted the way we want it and the way we need it. What we tested in Misano can help us improve, but these other boys are all improving each weekend and we need to do the same.