Jack Miller writes about an injury-affected weekend in Italy, and why everyone in the sport will miss Nicky Hayden.
THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM
That was a pretty tricky weekend, and one that I’m pretty glad is over to be honest. Mugello hasn’t been the best circuit for me in the past, and it’s an awesome place – it’s just my results there haven’t been that awesome. So coming here with some injuries from the last race in France meant it was going to be tough, and to get a point in the end was something to salvage out of the weekend.
I got through the last race on some painkillers and adrenaline after that massive crash I had at Le Mans, but I was pretty sore after that with the bang I had on my right knee and the right hand. There was no way I could do the Catalunya test straight after Le Mans, and I had an MRI on the hand that showed that I luckily hadn’t fractured it, but it was pretty bloody sore and I had heaps of physio before Mugello. Rest would have been the best way for it to get completely better of course, but that wasn’t an option as we have a back-to-back with here and Catalunya, and then Assen two weeks after that, it’s a busy time of the year.
Right from the start of practice on Friday I could never quite get the feeling I wanted on the front of the bike, the bike was running wide in the corners when I got off the brakes. Me and my engineer Ramon (Aurin) made some changes on Saturday that meant I did a 1min 47secs lap for the first time all weekend in qualifying, but that was nowhere near where I needed to be to get into Q2 and I ended up back in 19th, the furthest back I’ve started from all season. I got a decent start, but it’s hard to do a lot from all the way back there.
In the end it seemed like I was glued to (Hector) Barbera for a lot of the race, with him in front of me for most of it. I passed him about halfway through, but I was 17th with five laps to go and needed someone ahead of me to make a mistake to get a point. It ended up happening on the last lap when Dani (Pedrosa) got in hot and wiped out Cal (Crutchlow), and I’m suddenly 15th. Nearly got Barbera on the last lap too, but a point was all I could get. Lucky for sure, but the last two years haven’t gone well here, so I’ll take it. I was out on the first corner last year and after two laps the first time I raced a MotoGP bike here, so doing the whole race was a change!
I’m hoping the next race will be a bit better in Barcelona and the hand should be a bit more free, but it’s only a week away and there’s not going to be some overnight improvement, it’ll be a gradual thing. I’ll have more physio on the hand this week and rest up as much as I can, but I have to be realistic, we’re on track there in four days. It was good just to finish today, get a point and look forwards.
Before I go, I have to say a few words about Nicky Hayden. Of course we found out Nicky had lost his fight between the last race and this one, and we had 69 seconds of silence on the grid for him which was pretty moving, hearing almost no noise from nearly 100,000 Italians definitely put a lump in your throat.
The people here loved Nicky, just like they did everywhere. On the off the track, Nicky was someone I massively looked up to, and he was such a good guy to people, us younger riders, the fans, the media, everyone. Just treated people the right way, and we can all learn from him that way. It’s still a bit hard to accept we won’t see that massive smile of his anymore, and all of us riders and everyone in the paddock is feeling for his family. A huge loss for our sport, but we won’t forget a champion rider and a champion person.
I’ll speak to you from Barcelona next week.