So, that was a good day for me. Really good. First time on the podium here in Barcelona, I gained a place in the championship to be third now, and I kept my good run going. Definitely no complaints here.
The race went really well for me and I executed the plan to perfection. Well, nearly anyway. I got out front in the beginning and I was trying to manage the pace, but I missed a gear going back into Turn 5 and I lost a couple of positions. From there, the front tyre temperature went through the roof so I spent quite a while trying to avoid being in the slipstream of the guys in front so I didn't send it over the edge. I tried to get some cold air on the tyre but the temperature just wouldn't come down, so that got the stress level up a bit. It was playing on my mind, definitely.
I hung in there and it looked like fourth was the best I could do, but then I had something go my way when Fabio (Quartararo) went off the track at the first corner and re-joined. I knew he'd have to drop a second for re-joining the track so I just made sure I stayed right behind him on that last lap. We all know the rules with this corner, so I wasn't really surprised when they pulled me into parc ferme for the podium even though I'd crossed the line fourth.
Nobody wants to get a podium this way, you'd prefer to finish inside the top three on the track itself, but the rules are the rules and I knew that if I stayed where I was, I'd be going up to the podium. That wasn't a surprise – to be honest the really surprising bit was how steep the stairs were getting up there, because I've never been up them before!
It was a good way to end a weekend where there was a bit going on. Saturday was a pretty hectic day – I didn’t make it to Q2 directly for the first time all year, got through in Q1, towed Marc Marquez around for a couple of laps, had a big high side in Q2 and made a mess of my leathers, and missed pole by three-hundredths of a second. No dull moments there! I've had way less drama to start second on the grid before, that's for sure.
Everyone wanted to talk about what happened with Marc – probably because he'd done the same thing to Maverick (Vinales) at the last race in Mugello – and the funny thing was he and I actually joked about it the day before, he knew he was struggling for a pace a bit and probably needed a tow, so I told him he had to pay for one from me! And then it actually happened. We had a good laugh about it. Anyway, the first tow is free but I might send him the bill if it happens again, him or the Honda boys anyway ...
You can get all annoyed about it and whatnot but the most important thing in this situation, something I’ve learned over the years, is that you need to focus on your job, what you’re doing. It’s a mindset. If you go out there thinking about the guy behind you, you’ve already lost. If there’s someone else behind you, so be it. If there’s three of them, whatever.
After qualifying I was pretty happy I hadn't hurt myself because usually there's no small high sides at Turn 3, that's a fast old corner here. I just got carried away on the throttle ... anyway, thankfully it spat me forward rather than up so for a Turn 3 crash I actually felt alright afterwards. Good to be in one piece! Normally the tyre is better on the second flying lap and sure, I was giving it some, but it just let go super quickly. It sent me over the front but I came out of it pretty good, slid on my back and I was alright.
Anyway, that's three podiums now in four races, and I feel like I'm in a good groove. It's the same feeling I had back at the end of last year. I'm in a good rhythm, I feel comfortable on the bike and I'm able to be there or thereabouts on Sundays. It's only getting better week by week.