A 'porcelain pillow' reward...

Posted on Apr 13, 2012 by George Penny

You train like a demon all winter, are always so careful what you eat the whole time and your reward - a night on the porcelain pillow in a Qatar hotel bathroom less than 24 hours before the opening grand prix of the season. 

I don't know the name of the tummy bug, but I spent the whole night before the most important day of the year in the bathroom losing weight. It was lucky that first race was at night because it gave me time to recover and re-hydrate although I did not eat a thing all day. 

I was feeling much better when the race started and the bug had absolutely nothing to do with the result and we have plenty of ideas where improvements can be made before that next race at Jerez in Spain.

The first change will be with the rear brake which stopped working on lap 12 of the race. The same problem occurred in the warm-up when a part cracked under the vibration. My lap times dropped but I managed to ride round the problem to finish ninth, which was an acceptable result but nothing to write home about. 

We are still night and day away from winning races, I was losing half a second a lap to Marc Marquez and the gap at the end was just over ten seconds which gives us plenty to work on.

I must be honest, the performance by some of the riders in front of me was a real eye-opener and a kick up the backside for both me and the team. Both practice and qualifying had been tough but I just missed out on the third row of the grid by quarter of a second.

The start of the race was hilarious and I was giggling when I raced into the first corner in front of Andrea Iannone from the front row. I got a little too excited and almost lost the front end of the bike. I settled onto the back of the leading bunch. I was able to keep in contact but could not move forward especially after losing the rear brake. 

We knew after that final test in Jerez it was going to be tough in Qatar and that's exactly how it turned out. There are plenty of positives to take out of the weekend which included seven world championship points. We are not as far back as we could have been and have two weeks before the next round in Jerez with plenty of ideas and some parts to build. 

We hope to be able to test next month either after the grands prix in Estoril or Le Mans. It's a bit of a case of damage limitation up 'till then and we have two simple goals. First close that gap on the winner in the race, which was around half a second a lap in Qatar. Secondly we need to qualify higher up the grid and on at least the first three rows. 

We spent nine days out of the 12 days of pre-season testing at Jerez and so the weekend at the Spanish Grand Prix will be the perfect pointer to what progress we have made. 

It was great to be back racing again in Qatar with the cameras in your face, the great start, the giggle at turn one and the chequered flag. I just need to watch what I'm eating the night before the race in Spain.


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