That was definitely not the Sunday we wanted here at the home Grand Prix … I'm very disappointed for myself and for the team at KTM's home race. It was just a struggle and I don’t know why or how yet, but I was suffering with missing grip from the very beginning and the last eight laps were about trying to survive out there. We probably need to go back to the drawing board, to be honest.
We made some changes a few races ago in Assen and it doesn't seem like it's been working great, so now we try to maybe take a step back and evaluate the changes that we've made to attempt to go forward. Today I just struggled with missing grip, started really suffering on the (corner) exits straight away. I started getting into trouble with guys passing me on the straight, my top speed was down simply because the exit wasn't there out of the corners. Braking felt good – the bike in the front-end was actually pretty stable and I was able to catch back up in the middle part of the lap but into all the straights, I just couldn't accelerate.
It was a weekend that started and ended not great, but the middle was decent. Friday, for practice, I didn’t have a great feeling with the bike in the morning session at all, I felt pretty terrible. The afternoon was better at first and the pace improved, but I was still missing a little bit and that's why we ended up in Q1.
Then on Saturday, things were pretty positive with getting into Q2 through Q1 and then end up finishing fifth in the Sprint. Wasn't like it was some great day or anything, but it wasn't bad either – decent, you could say. I felt like we had some work to do for the race and gained some valuable information, so the goal was to find a bit more drive without compromising anything else. With a small step it felt like we had podium potential … and then Sunday came and that was all she wrote.
Sunday was definitely a shame because it's a big, big home event for KTM here. I've observed this race with the support and the orange flags from the other side before, but it's different when you're on this side of the fence. You could only imagine what it would be like to win at home for KTM … it'd be pretty special, that's for sure. I generally enjoy it here too – in the past it's gone a lot better than today did with some podiums for me here – and a lot of that I think is because it's such a different track compared to all the others, there's not really anywhere we go to that's like here. I actually enjoy it with the new chicane as it's a lot less stressful, a little bit more technical, and the elevation changes are quite cool.
Sunday was one of those days that you want to forget about pretty quick, but the weekend itself … you would have seen that KTM gave me my 2014 Moto3 bike over the weekend here, that was a super awesome surprise because I thought they only did that if you won a world championship for them. Maybe it was because I was a nice guy! But no, it was an awesome gesture by those guys and it brought back some good memories, that's for certain.
That 2014 season is a big reason why I'm still here now – it changed my career, you might say. I've always said since coming back here this year that KTM felt like family, like a homecoming for me, and I'm massively grateful for that. I'd always talked about getting some parts and maybe building a replica one day, so to get the real thing … I was not expecting that one bit. That bike changed my life for the better, so to be able to have that …
I got pretty emotional about it all, probably not a surprise for me. Ruby's back in Australia now getting ready with the baby and everything, so I moved the bike into the motorhome on Friday night … I half-contemplated putting it in the bedroom with me, I'm not gonna lie!