Posted on Aug 20, 2015 by George Penny
I try to treat the British Grand Prix at Silverstone like any other race but it’s very hard. There is so much personal pride that goes into your home race especially as the track is only 30 minutes from home in Oxford. I also feel I have some unfinished business there when I was robbed of a top six finish. I’m in very much a different position than I was last year. I’m excited to discover what tyres Bridgestone are going to bring and it’s definitely a Yamaha type circuit and fingers crossed we get a dry weekend. Brits in the paddock get a right slagging off especially from the Italians and Spanish if it rains.
Silverstone tell me ticket sales are very good and they should be. Valentino and Jorge arrive equal on points fighting for the World title; Marc is on the comeback trail while Ducati are in the mix. It’s no longer a race where you know what is going to happen. I’m the top satellite rider and Danny Kent has a great chance of winning the Moto3 World Championship – It could not be a lot better.
Silverstone is the deadline to sort out my MotoGP future. Perhaps I was a little too vocal at the Indianapolis press conference about the lack of progress but I thought I needed my voice heard and certain things needed to be addressed. I just wanted people to start paying attention because I’m the leading Satellite rider and have beaten my team-mate Pol, who signed a new contract in Indianapolis, in nine out of 11 grands prix this year. I felt it was not a fair situation and I think that’s why there has been a delay on a new contract because I want to be on a level playing field with my team-mate both on equipment and financially. We both need to be starting on the same level because I believe I’ve earned the right to be in that situation. I love going head to head with Pol and I want to do that in 2016 and move onto bigger and better things.
It was not something that I wanted to do but back anybody into a corner when they feel they are not being heard or listened to and they are going to come out swinging. I thought I was more diplomatic than I could have been but I owe enormous respect to both the Monster Tech 3 team and Yamaha. I’m in debt to them for the opportunity they have given me for the last three years but I’ve stepped up a level in my performance.I’m confident all the issues are being sorted and all will be revealed next week.
My two weeks in Japan was an amazing experience and felt like a bit of a holiday despite the Suzuka Eight hour race. I travelled round and had a chance to really understand the culture and the people that I work with. The more you understand the people you work with the more it improves the end result. My Japanese team are very different to myself but I understand rules are rules and you get a yes or a no, there is no such thing as maybe. I loved the Endurance racing experience in the Eight Hour race. It’s my cup of tea having to put in consistent fast times lap after lap. The heat and the humidity made it hard work, 60c track temperature was the hottest I’ve ever ridden in my life but we came away with a victory and it was the first time I’d stood on the top step of the podium since Valencia in 2010. It was a great feeling drinking the champagne celebrating with Yamaha and especially with our Japanese rider Katsuyuki Nakasuga who thanked us for making his dream come true. The last half an hour was my stint and it was a tough situation because I didn’t know exactly where the opposition where. I was panicking a bit but had a quick word with myself to put in a really quick three lap. I don’t even remember the last couple of laps but just know that I passed everybody in front of me and was lapping two seconds faster than anybody. It was dark and I could not see ten metres in front of me. Down the straight was OK but spotting corner apexes was a nightmare and I was riding by feel which was a bit nerve racking.
I’m so happy I’ve kept that run of MotoGP form from the first half of the season in both Indianapolis and Brno because you are worried that it will continue after the summer break. I think the Suzuka experience did me good and what has really pleased me is that I improved my qualifying battling for a front row start at both. In Indy I fought with the factory Ducati of Andrea Iannone for fifth and in Brno consolidated my position as the top satellite rider.
Long may it continue and Silverstone promises to be a great weekend both on and off the track.