That’s a hard one to take, having a win slip through my fingers here in Valencia. I had a little cry, it was one of those ones where it got away …
To be honest I didn’t really feel like I could do too much wrong on Sunday. I went with (KTM teammate) Brad (Binder) and had a moment, so I thought ‘I need to go alone now’. I started having some moments on the right-hand side of the tyre, but I had a good feeling in Turn 4, I had a couple of moments going in but I was able to try to force it to get some more temperature. And then the change of direction with Turn 10-11, I didn’t even get to grab the brakes, she just disappeared underneath me and that was all she wrote.
I pushed so hard, we’ve been working our arses off, not only the last couple of weeks, all year … it could have been a really sweet way to end it. But it wasn’t to be. It cooled down this afternoon, lap by lap you could feel it cooling down. It’s 3 o’clock we started the race, it’s nearly f**king dark out there already. We’re racing the last weekend of November. But I’m not going to blame that, it was the same conditions for everybody. (Ducati’s) Pecco (Bagnaia) managed to stay on the bike and win the race and win the championship. He’s been able to do that the majority of the year.
I’m happy for Pecco, there was never doubt coming to a clutch moment like that. He’s had his blunders and had his moments, but he showed why he’s a two-time world champion … now a three-time world champion. He’s clutch when he needs to be.
It’s such a shit way to end the year for me, I feel like every year I’ve been getting better and better. If you look at results on paper, this year is probably the worst it’s been in quite a while but we’ve had a lot of changes and a lot of difficulties this season, but overcome a lot of things.
This bike is only going to continue to get better and better, and I hope me as a rider – I hope to continue to get better and better. Twelve months ago, people were saying I’d be out of a job already, and here we are at the last race crashing out seven laps to go from the lead, so I think we can take pride in the year we’ve had.
All in all it’s been a fun first year with KTM … well, being back at KTM, I should probably say. We’ve had our ups and downs which is normal, but on the whole we can be pretty proud of what we’ve done. You always want more, of course, but still – it’s been a busy year but one I wouldn’t change for anything. It was an uneven season for me in some ways because the first part of it was probably better than we were all expecting, and then it finished how it did. I’m disappointed in that, but that’s MotoGP these days … it’s not like the start of my season gets forgotten, but there’s so many twists and turns over the year that it’s the most recent results everyone remembers. I feel just as fast as I did at the start of the year, but the progression hasn’t been as steep as some of the other guys, and that’s the issue that we face.
We’re fighting with the Ducatis and we’re pretty much the only manufacturer consistently fighting with them, so on the whole – when you compare where this project was this time last year to now – we’ve made a big step, and shows how quickly things can change. We’ve made a step, and hopefully we can narrow that gap at the start of next year. We’ve got to have a busy winter, and then get stuck in next year.