Now that the Lausitzring round is over, I’m really happy that it sounds like we won’t be going back there! It’s not one of the strongest tracks for me or the bike, there’s a lot of first gear corners and hard acceleration and that’s where we’ve been struggling. We never really found an optimum set-up, so it always felt we were on the back foot.
We made some strides forward come Superpole and race one wasn’t so bad, but we felt we’d picked the wrong tyre. We went with the same tyre as most of the field in the second and the bike was improved a bit further but Chaz was always one step ahead. I had nothing to ride with him. Some weekends we are strong and some weekends they are strong; the important thing is to be on the podium.
What is good is that I feel much closer to Chaz than I did at this point last year. He ended the season so well last year, and he’s riding good at the moment but I feel we’ve got a much better base package than we did last year. Last year the bike was completely new for us, so to be competitive on it was good, but now we’re not struggling with the things we struggled with last year.
Moving forwards we’ve got some good circuits coming up. Portimao is good for us and Magny Cours has been strong too, it could have gone either way last year. I also think we can be strong in Qatar. Jerez is the only circuit I’m not so sure about, I’ve always gone well there in winter tests but come the races it seems to be it’s that time of year where I’ve been thinking about getting the championship done. It would be nice to go there and not have that playing on mymind, it’s the only circuit I haven’t won at in the year apart from Qatar so it’d be nice to put that right this year.
Of course, at this stage of the year the championship is on our mind. The target at the start of the year is to win and it doesn’t matter what way you do that as nobody remembers that bit moving forwards. I’ve seen what difference winning a championship makes to my life so we’ll try and get it done! The gap we have is nice, but I saw a 71 point gap shrink to 26 in just a few races last year. You can lose points really quickly in this championship and sometimes it’s through no fault of your own.
Right now my immediate rival is Tom, he’s the closest guy in the championship so we’ll focus on beating him but I still want to try and win as well. On the days I feel I can win I will push for that win, but on the days I can’t I need to focus on beating Tom and that’s how we can achieve our goal.
Winning a championship is a consequence of 26 race efforts, not just a single focus of winning the championship. You have to forget that and just do your best in those 26 races and if you’re there you’re there if you’re not you’re not.
We’ve got another two weekends off now so I’m going on holiday to Portugal before the race. It was nice to go to the British Grand Prix and see a different side to racing, normally on a race weekend I’m the rider and the focus but here I’m watching the other guys do that so I already feel like I’m holiday; it’s nice to be a fan for once!
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