Nine-time world champion had much to say after finishing second to teammate Maverick Vinales in Sunday’s Argentina Grand Prix
Preseason for me was a disaster. I was very sad. But Sunday afternoon—when you cross the line—is the most important.
In my long career, I have learned that you always have to stay concentrated and never give up. A lot of things can happen.
The race in Qatar gave me a good vibe because I started to know the bike better and, even if I suffer, I can be competitive on Sunday.
I hoped to be stronger here in practice, but I suffered a lot. On Saturday, we were a little bit lucky to catch Q2 in front of Dovi (Andrea Dovizioso).
In warm-up, I started with the first bike. It was not so bad, but I stopped to try something else. It was important to understand the setting for the race.
I was struggling in braking, but we improved the balance. I was very strong, especially after the back straight.
Good start, good first lap, but, especially, I could push to the end. I felt comfortable with the bike, better than in Qatar.
Our engine is more competitive this year. We always have good drivability, but we also have good top speed.
I feel better with my physical condition. In Qatar, I arrived more tired. Here, I could push. At this age, you need more time to be fit.
I knew after practice that I had to fight with Cal (Crutchlow) to arrive on the podium. I had to overtake him before I could catch Maverick (Vinales).
The fight with Cal was great. He had a fantastic pace. When I followed, I saw that I had a bit more.
Problem for me is that Maverick did a fantastic preseason. He was always strong. Today, he was not so far, but he was a bit faster. We need to work.
At the finish, the difference was 2.9 seconds—a long way to go. Anyway, it is okay. Starting from seventh, it is good.
This was an important second place—for me, for my team, but also for all of the team because Yamaha is 1-2, and for the points in the championship.
It is a good result because I have more points than last year—better race in Qatar than last year, better race in Argentina than last year.
Austin is very hard, but it is a track that I like. Last year, I was very strong. After the warm-up, I was the only one that had the pace to try to stay close to (Marc) Marquez.
Unfortunately, I did a big mistake in the race and I crashed. So, I want to also try to make a good race there.