Posted on Aug 31, 2017 by George Penny
As you imagine I really hurt after being the last bike to cross the finishing line at my home grand prix at Silverstone but those truly amazing British fans did so much to help me to prepare to fight the battle that lies ahead. After the race I’d promised I would go to the Silverstone stage to meet the fans while James Toseland’s band was playing. The reception I got from them really made me ever more determined to fight through this tough period of my career. They had not forgotten what I’ve achieved previously and I’m even more focused to give them something to cheer about. Thank – you all so much for that support when everything seems against me at the moment.
Wrong tyre choice in the hotter than expected conditions was the problem in the race after I made my best start of the season. While the grip was there I felt great and aggressive but when the grip disappeared I just had to ensure I completed the race. As always I will try and find some positives from those opening eight laps when I was pushing forward on the hard tyres and how I felt better in some of the practice sessions. The next race is at Misano in Italy where we had a really good test before Silverstone and so we will arrive with some good data and set up plans.
I’m under no illusions that the pressure is on me in particular and the team after the recent run of bad results. The KTM team and especially the guys in my garage have been fantastic and I have their total support. I have a new crew chief which hopefully will help me and the team put together a bike that will bring me some results. Esteban has a wealth of knowledge and experience and from day zero with me he has taken up the challenge. It’s not easy for him coming into the team that is really struggling rather than a team that is producing results but he’s right up for it. Silverstone was never going to be easy because it was KTM’s first visit and we had no previous data and so as we often have to do we started from scratch. Misano should be different. We tried a different way of running the weekend at Silverstone, spending the first day on Friday using the same tyres for the two practice sessions. We are looking at every way of turning things round. You can’t produce miracles overnight in this game but every small step leads to better results.
As I said I’m under no illusions about this situation. KTM have been fantastic and especially Team Manager Mike Leitner. They really want me to succeed and are doing everything possible to help me. However the grand prix after Misano is at Aragon in Spain where test rider Mika Kallio joins me and Pol in the team. If Mika beats me by the same margin as he did in Austria a couple of weeks ago I’m sure there will be some big questions asked.
The external pressure is different but I’ve felt it before from the press and social media. It’s all part and parcel of this job. I do get interrogated by the press at our debriefs after qualifying and race which is understandable with the ways things stand at the moment. Let’s ensure the questions in Misano are about our best result of the season especially for KTM and those loyal British fans.