Posted on Oct 01, 2015 by George Penny
It’s strange situation when I’m disappointed to finish eighth in a grand prix. It was a tough weekend and lots happened but I was not quite on the pace in Aragon. I was lacking just that vital two or three per cent. Last time I finished eighth but a lot further behind was at Jerez at the start of the season. I was chasing fifth placed Dovizioso and so I’m disappointed with myself that I made the mistake that dropped me down. I will learn from that and what the Ducati is like to follow. At the end of the day I wanted to try it and give it a go because he is my biggest Championship rival. I didn’t want to be the guy that just sits behind and paid the price for it and lost some points but held onto fifth place in the Championship.
Since that second place in Misano life has been pretty amazing. It was a very special result in all the circumstances and taking such a big gamble. Even in myself at one point I honestly believed I’d made the wrong decision to stay out in the rain but whatever the outcome I was happy with the decision. I had enough belief and confidence in myself to tell everybody after the race whatever the outcome why I made the decision. I could live with it. Then three or four laps later that dry line started forming and the roller coaster of emotions began. I had nine laps in second position and so I knew I was going to be on the podium not like the last time in Phillip Island when it was only when I crossed the line and saw the big screen I realised.
There are not many reasons I would wait in airport for over 12 hours other than having the opportunity to go Moto crossing with Valentino Rossi at his very special ranch in Italy. Friday night I was flying out to Bologna and left home in Andorra at 2pm to catch 7pm flight from Barcelona. I was there and hour and a half before the flight but then the delays started. Seven became eight and eight became nine and I was sitting in Barcelona airport at midnight when they tried to turn the lights out and I eventually took off at 4 a.m. just sat there watching the Spanish and Italian show kicking off with the other passengers before arriving in Bologna at 6pm. Then I had to wait another two hours waiting for the Rent A Car Company to open up. I slept for one hour and then got to Valentino‘s ranch. The only thing that kept me going was knowing that I was going to have a play with Valentino on the dirt. It was the sort of thing I dreamed about as a kid and he did not let me down. I spent of couple of days there then went to Venice and onto the race in Misano.
I had Monday off after the Misano podium but then went back to Valentino’s ranch with more than 30 MotoGP guys. I loved it because I was able to ride my own Motocross bike that time after using Valentino’s previously. He is an incredible guy who kept kicking our butts out there despite being 12 years older than me.
It was a pretty intense ten days. Day after day I kept seeing different people who congratulated me on the second place and so I only really got over Misano when I sat on the bike for the first time in Friday morning practice at Aragon. I had a few messages before practice telling me to stop living the honeymoon and to remember I had a race that weekend – Good advice.
This week is just as busy before we fly off to Japan for the crucial three flyaway races in the space of two weeks. I’m off to Rannoch moor in Scotland for some extreme camping and fishing. It’s for a magazine article and television feature and I’m not exactly sure what to expect but it’s definitely legitimate camping in the wilds. I’m told I’ve got to look out for the midges rather than those Ducatis.
On Friday I’m going to have to pretend I know more about other sports and especially the Rugby World Cup. I’m a guest on the BBC Radio Five Sports Panel with Olympic Rowing Champion Kath Grainger and Top Rugby coach and former England forward Richard Cockerhill. This grease monkey will be doing plenty of homework to try and show I know a bit more than just two wheels.