California Dreamin'

Posted on Jul 25, 2013 by George Penny

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It's been a great two weeks despite the breakdown at Laguna and I never thought I'd ever say it but I'm really looking forward to the summer break. When I was racing in 125 and Moto2 I hated the summer break and just wanted to race all the time.

The MotoGP bike is a very different animal and the body and the mind need a rest after nine races. It taxes every part of the body every single lap and the next nine races are going to be tougher than the first nine.

There are two batches of three back-to-back races coming up and I have to continue to up my game and close that 25 seconds between myself and the race winner. Get those batteries re-charged and ready for part two is the plan.

The only negative over those two weeks was we failed to score points at Laguna. I did my job and the Yamaha has been flawless all the way through the season with no technical problems.

For the engine to stop suddenly was a disappointment, but I can't throw my toys out of the pram because it's been bullet proof up until now. It appears to have been a minor problem and just one of those things. Coming onto the straight it just switched itself off.

I had some great physio at home between Assen and the Sachsenring and I was surprised how well the wrist stood up to all those left hand corners. It emphasised just how the operation was the right thing to do. I may have been in a fair amount of pain but it was much stronger and I clicked with the Sachsenring right from the word go.

I was a little bit disappointed and felt a bit down after qualifying because the gap to the leaders was still too big. In the race we proved we had found something and to finish only 25 seconds behind the winner was a big plus. We'd set a 30 second gap for the second half of the season and to achieve that in just the eighth race was a real boost.

I came straight to Laguna Seca from Germany and it was the first back-to-back MotoGP grands prix for me and wasn't sure how the body would cope. Riding these MotoGP bikes is tough and Laguna being Laguna with so many blind corners and so undulations I really didn't know what to expect. From the word go I had a good feeling and carried on from the Sachsenring which was so important because we did not want to yo-yo up and down.

However, I never really found confidence all weekend at turn one. It was an absolute eye opener. Sixth gear, throttle wide open and both wheels off the ground plus wheeling and spinning over the hill and a bit of head-shake at the same time. I'd never experienced anything like it before apart from my motocross days, but the difference being I was not doing 165 mph. The track was great fun and I was able to adapt pretty quickly and just loved the downhill Rainey Curve.

Off the track the season is getting more and more surreal. On the Tuesday before Laguna I went with Valentino Rossi to the Yamaha's headquarters in Los Angelis. I had a great day with him because he included me in everything he was doing and made me feel very welcome which was not something he had to do.

In a pinch-me-to-believe-it moment on Thursday I went to a party at Wayne Rainey's house near the circuit. I was just so happy to finally meet such a great World Champion and be welcomed into his house and hear him say he'd been following my progress this season and I thought I was doing a great job was such a confidence boos, because you don't expect guys like that to be paying attention to your season. 
I sat down with him and he went over a few things and then I got the same encouragement from both Kenny Roberts and Kevin Schwantz to make it such a special evening.

I'm going to stay in the States for the next three weeks and be a bit of a tourist. Still to make a plan but Vegas is on the list. You have to go there to witness it once and now I'm 22 years old I can gamble.

I'm also hoping to do a Yamaha riders day and also get to the X Games because I've been such a big fan for years. Then it's back to work at Indianapolis and the start of the most hectic and exciting three months of my life…


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