Listen and learn at Jerez

Posted on May 08, 2013 by George Penny

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Where do I start? The race in Jerez, moving house, the bills or the extreme new haircut. It’s been that couple of weeks since flying back from Texas. So let’s start with the Spanish Grand Prix.

The more and more I ride in MotoGP the more I realise that you have to listen to what your bike is saying. In the cooler morning warm-up it was allowing me ride around one minute 40 s but in the hotter conditions in the race it clearly told me to ride in the one minute 42s. It’s like a game of chess in the end, try not making mistakes and staying in the hunt and attack when the guys in front start slowing up. Both Pirro and Espargaro where going back wards at the finish and I thought it was time to pounce and take ninth but it was finally tenth.

I was 50 seconds behind the winner in Texas and 44s seconds down in Jerez. I’m not over the moon with that distance but it shows progression and we are getting better and better even if it miniscule. We are not going backwards but I would have liked a better performance at a track I know. It shows in the slippery conditions like Jerez I’m still a rookie, still learning about different scenarios in different conditions. I have to accept it’s part of the learning curve. The carbon disc brakes are a prime example.

It’s amazing how the brakes work. With steel discs you squeeze it from the very beginning and then you hammer it on and the stopping is constant. On the MotoGP bike with carbon discs when you first grab the lever it does not seem to work and then all of a sudden bang and it really grips up. You have to get stronger in your arms and make sure you keep your body weight back. Suddenly you able to use almost the same braking distances and stop on a MotoGP bike with speeds of 210 mph as I did on a Moto2 bike with a top speed of  around 170 mph. It’s amazing feeling that has taken time to get used too. You have to learn to use them at the right point when the bike is stable.

You feel like you want to go over the handlebars all the time. At the braking point I have to lock my arms as straight as I can possibly get them. Also I’ve started gripping the tank with my knees and forced myself to stay backwards to keep me further back. After three races I’ve still not figured it out 100 per cent but we are getting there which is a good thing with Le Mans next on the schedule.

Between Texas and Jerez I moved out of the family home in Oxford to Andorra. It’s another change in my life and an important step. You have to grow up at one point although I don’t like to admit it. I’m really proud of my new place and soon as the snow disappears I’ll be out on the trials bike up in those mountains.

I just can’t believe just how much stuff you have to buy to make a house. I just thought a couple of beds, a fridge and tele would be perfect but didn’t have a clue about sheets, duvets, pillow cases, kitchen utensils and cups . You name it and I’d forgotten about it. The bills are mounting up.

To celebrate my new independence I decided it was time for a Mohican haircut, using everything I’ve got before inevitable baldness strikes. My hairdresser told me there is only one hairstyle I can have. While I can do something with it I don’t mind doing something extreme because time is running out fast.


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