Aussie MotoGP rider Jack Miller writes about being in the wrong place at the wrong time at Mugello.
THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM.AU
What can you say about a race that lasts 23 seconds? Mugello is one of the highlights of the year for all of us MotoGP riders, but my race in Italy last Sunday was pretty much over before it started after I got taken out at the first corner. It was me, Alvaro (Bautista, Aprilia) and Loris (Baz, Ducati) all scrapping around towards the back, all probably with the same idea of making up some places after qualifying further down than we wanted. Looks like Alvaro lost the front and then his bike hit mine, it was just one of those things. But it was still massively frustrating for me after the weekend was going in the right direction.
I’d been feeling pretty good on the bike all weekend and my physical condition has been improving, so I was pretty confident of getting some points for the first time in a while in Italy. I was 15th and then 12th in the final two practice sessions before qualifying on Saturday, and I felt my qualifying lap was pretty good, but everyone else improved too and I ended up 17th. From there, you’re always a chance to get involved in something at the first corner, especially somewhere like Mugello where we approach Turn 1 at such a massive speed. I was pretty angry after the DNF in France because it was a crash we didn’t really understand at the time – this one was more explainable because it was something that just happens. Shows you that I need to qualify better and be out of the mess that can happen from the final few rows on the grid.
You all probably saw the MotoGP race, and the whole day was just crazy. More than 100,000 spectators was something else, the noise and the yellow flares going off on the warm-up lap was pretty incredible. Of course they were all there to see Vale (Valentino Rossi) win and he was a good chance starting from pole, but he got unlucky with a mechanical failure like the one Jorge (Lorenzo) had in the warm-up on Sunday. Those 100,000 people suddenly went pretty quiet and the last half of the race was strange with so many people there, but a lot of them not making a lot of noise. Jorge and Marc (Marquez) put on a show for them on the final lap, but can you imagine if Vale had have been there too? They did get to see a full-on Moto2 race, and Moto3 was as crazy there as I’ve ever seen it, it seemed like 90 per cent of the riders were in one massive front group for most of the race. All three races were awesome, it’s just a shame I had to watch most of mine.
Mugello is just a great event, the circuit obviously is one of the best we go to all year, and the speeds at the end of the straight are insane. The fans are so passionate, and the whole Italian experience is heaps of fun. I went down a couple of days earlier this year because I stayed with my old teammate Cal (Crutchlow) and his wife Lucy – they have a place in Tuscany, and Cal and I took a ride in the amazing Tuscan countryside, which was cool. Obviously Cal and I aren’t teammates anymore, but we got on well last year and that’s continued. I was happy for him to get some points on Sunday as he’s not had much luck so far this season. Sounds familiar …
Before I went to meet up with Cal, I’d had a week or so at home in Andorra. It’s been good to get settled in a new base for me this year and actually feel at home, and Andorra has been great so far. I’ve been feeling a lot better with my foot like I said, and I’m still not 100 per cent, but getting there slowly. The scar tissue takes a long while to break down but I’m back at the cardio training pretty hard and getting into the elliptical machine again. I’ve bought a dog too, a French bulldog which I’ll bring home before the next race. It’s another thing that will make me feel more like I have a proper base. And yes, there’ll be some pics on Instagram before too long, I reckon.
I spent some of my weekend between races at home watching the F1 race in Barcelona – I got to know Daniel Ricciardo a bit when we were doing the Speed Fest in Perth at the end of last year, and I thought he might have a chance to win when (Lewis) Hamilton and (Nico) Rosberg took each other off on the first lap. I was cheering pretty hard for him but it didn’t work out for him in the end because his teammate (Max) Verstappen won – 18 years old and winning F1 races is pretty crazy. He wouldn’t look out of place in a Moto3 race at 18 …
Speaking of Barcelona, we go there next and race at the same track as the F1 boys. I had my best finish there last year when I came 11th, and that doesn’t sound like much, but I’d take that again this year because I need to get some points flowing again. The pace was pretty promising in Italy, so hopefully a good result isn’t too far away.
Catch you next time,