Saturday was really bad. That was probably the worst race I’ve had all year. I know it was a third, but on paper, it should have been a fifth or sixth. My last-lap move bought me the podium.
Today, we had a bike that could be on the podium. I had to make that extra step to win the race. It wasn’t easy, though. I knew Kawasaki was going to be strong here, so to come away and gain three points on them is actually a big bonus for us.
Tom Sykes started to lose out toward the end. He was changing direction slowly and being a little lazier on the bike. I don’t know what the issue was. He was riding so hard. Maybe Tom started to get a little tired. This is a physical circuit.
Davide Giugliano had more grip than me the entire race. That’s why I was sitting behind him. Then, after two-thirds distance, it flipped and he had less grip than me. I realized it was time to win. I felt Tom would be second, so to see that he dropped back to fourth was a big surprise.
The track was slippery yesterday because of the restarts. I had more grip today, but judging from everyone’s lap times, I think the track had less grip. We definitely made a step today. That was the important thing. Yesterday, I had one lap that I could pull out of my ass at the very end. That came out of nowhere. It was one of those where you almost hold your breath and close your eyes for a lap.
The schedule this weekend was ridiculous for the riders, especially considering it was a new track for most of us. I was trying to learn, looking at the data, watching sessions to see what I was doing wrong because there were still areas of the track where I was weak.
The first session started at midday on Friday, and the first race was 24 or 25 hours after that. That’s not enough time to get your head dialed in. These bikes are quite complicated. We need to fine-tune every corner with traction control, engine braking and all the rest, and 24 hours isn’t enough to do all of that.
The American fans get into it more than anybody in Europe. Maybe we should bring these guys to all of the paddock shows because they really appreciate it.