That wasn't how I thought my Portuguese Grand Prix was going to end, down in the gravel after only six laps. But I only have myself to blame, the crash was completely my fault. Fabio (Quartararo) had gone by me and we all knew the pace he had all weekend, so I had to knuckle down and go with him if I wanted a big haul of points. And then just like that, it was over. Such a silly mistake, and one that has cost me a lot.
There's a simple explanation – I used a little too much pressure on the brake and tucked the front. I'd made a small mistake earlier and Aleix (Espargaro) had got by, and it was a bit hectic at the start with (Joan) Mir and Marc (Marquez), so there was a bit going on. That's three races now where things haven't gone my way, so we're in the trenches now and I'm trying to dig myself out of it. We have the speed, the bike is fast, and I have to put it all together. Like I said, a simple explanation. I've been in worse positions before and dug my way out of them, so that's what I'll do again. Yes, I've made it hard for myself but the tables will turn if I keep doing things the right way.
The big story of the weekend was of course Marc being back after he'd been away for so long, and it was no surprise he was fast, I expected it even from Friday when he was first back on the bike. It actually made me smile when I saw him so happy in the garage on Friday about to ride in first practice on the TV, because you know how much this sport means to him, what it means to all of us. We're all the same in that this is the thing we love and what we want to do. When you can't do it for nine months like him then it’s not an easy thing, especially with all the rehab and recovery he’s had to do. To see him back out there doing what he loves and what he’s fantastic at makes us all happy that he’s there. It will elevate all of our levels too because he's the standard we all have to try to match. We all know how extremely talented this guy is and the things he does on a motorcycle.
I was never going to be 100 per cent for Portugal – racing 12 days after an operation for arm pump isn't ideal, let's say – and this circuit is a pretty tricky one with all the ups and downs. But I was as prepared as I could be after the surgery. The recovery was really quick – operation was Tuesday after the second Qatar race, straight out of hospital on Wednesday morning, cycled on a static bike inside that day, cycled outside the next day. The surgery was something I had to do because as soon as we start to ride in testing after a winter with nothing, the arm muscles grow quickly. During testing my arms were loose in the suits, but by the Qatar race I had to ask the team to stretch the suit out. All weekend the arm was fine and I was thinking about getting the stitches taken out this week – but when I slid out of the race, the stitches decided they were coming out anyway. So I guess it's no motocross for me this week before Jerez, it's back on the bicycle again …
I'll speak to you again from Spain in a couple of weeks. I'm sure things will turn soon – I feel just as good on the bike as I did late last year when things were going well, and we've just had three races where I haven't been at my best. I'm just trying to arrive back to where I was last year. We'll get there …