Bradley's Blog: Turning it around in Sepang
Posted on Oct 29, 2015 by George Penny
I have to be so pleased with the race in Malaysia because we turned it round to fourth after I was down in 14th at the end of the first day of practice. I was in the middle of a little bit of a nightmare because at Phillip Island in Australia we struggled into tenth place and I wasn’t really sure if it was the tyres or actually me and a lack of confidence on the track after I crashed on the out lap in Saturday practice. I tried to put it all behind me and enjoyed those four days in Malaysia before the race and felt so good in the heat after all the training and then ended up 14th after the first day – The nightmare continues. I sat down with the guys and knew we had to do something radical and change from the base setting we’d had all season. Despite its success we had to step away from it and it’s a very hard decision to make. To go in a new direction was a bit of a risk and it was scary to have to go through qualifying one to get into qualifying two which brought back memories of Argentina which was the last time it had happened. It’s not fun but we sailed through it and then did well to qualifying on the third row of the grid for the race.
We’d been playing defensive just trying to bat it back but I felt some progress in that second qualifying session and the drive was starting come. In the warm up I followed Stefan Bradl on the Aprilia and learnt quite a lot which I never thought I’d be saying. I told the team what I’d learnt and they made some more adjustments for the race and it paid off.
It was an important result for a couple of reasons. Cal Crutchlow was on a roll and had beaten me to be the top Brit in the last three. I wanted to be the top Brit, the top factory satellite bike and beat team-mate Pol and it all happened. Physiologically it was an important result to show that even though the 2016 contract is all signed that I can still put in that type of performance. It’s re-cemented those performances earlier in the year and in the extreme heat and humidity. After three races in two weeks I still had the edge and motivation which is crucial to succeed and it was a nice way to fly home.
An 18 point lead over the factory Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso to hold onto sixth place in the Championship with one round to go is a dream come true. I honestly thought seventh position would be our target and I would be extended to achieve that. Going into that Valencia race it’s not all over and you only have to look at Danny Kent’s attempts to win the Moto 3 World title to realise that it’s not over until that very last race. I go to Valencia where I won my last 125cc grand prix with great confidence after Sepang because beating a factory bike over 18 rounds would be a huge achievement. The last race is always so exciting and I hope Danny can wrap up that Moto 3 World title which we all have been waiting for and of course the decider on who become the MotoGP World Champion.
While I was happy with my result and Dani Pedrosa won a great race it was the clash between Valentino and Marc that made all the headlines on Sunday. Racing is racing and egos do always come about. If I just have to judge the sole incident between Valentino and Marc it was over the limit and out of line. This had been building up since the press conference on the Thursday and even back from the race in Phillip Island and if you really think about it their clash in Argentina. Regarding the three point penalty call by Race Direction we as riders have to respect their decisions. We can obviously fight our corner but 99 per cent of the time I believe they do an amazing job but in the Safety Commission meeting on Friday afternoon I think they will get an earful from at least a dozen MotoGP riders. Great news that Alex De Angelis flew back to Italy on Sunday after his big crash in Japan. You take it a bit personally that one of our riders got injured because it’s something we all missed at the Safety Commission but it just shows with the power and competiveness of modern day MotoGP that anything can happen. Changes are already being implemented after the crashes at Motegi and will all do everything to ensure those type of crashes do not happen again.
Just what is it going to be like in Valencia for that final race? Already completely sold out rammed to the rafters and every man and his dog in the paddock. The press conference on Thursday afternoon, the MotoGP Championship showdown and hopefully Danny Kent Moto 3 World Champion. I can’t wait to get there and what a finish to an extraordinary 2015 season.