Well hello there everyone!
It's been a long time since I've updated you all so I apologise for the lack of contact!
Let me rewind a little. As you may know, on Feb 8th I made a last minute decision to move back into the FIM World Supersport Championship with the CIA Landlords Insurance PTR Honda team. I wanted to be back in a team that would allow me to ride at the front and as the Moto2 season drew closer, things were looking shaky with my AGT REA Racing team.
It's been a frustrating few years in Moto2. Having either the wrong equipment or a lack of decent budget doesn't get you to the front of that pack. I remember when I first tested in Moto2, I was on a proven bike from the year before and I was at the very sharp end of testing every day. Then equipment got changed and so on... since then I haven't had a fair crack at it but I did start to come on better towards the end of last year. I started to get some point scoring results but that was still a long way from where I know I can be. I got the opportunity to test a Kalex at the end of last year (with a broken foot still) and went faster straight away than I did on my Suter race bike from that year. The AGT REA racing team acquired a Marc VDS bike and also the Caterham Suter bikes from 2014 which they are now selling. Head over here if you are interested! It's also good to see Brit Sam Lowes at the very sharp end of Moto2, proving that former Supersport riders can cut it there.
Going back to World Supersport wouldn't have been possible without the help from my personal sponsors this year, Jap4performance, Worthy Worldwide and just recently, Moran Construction UK, who have all joined me in my quest for a World Title.
My Official Fan Club is also in progress so I hope that all my supporters will join us! We'll be launching this shortly and there will be opportunities to win lots of goodies, including paddock passes and a special one-off helmet that will have ALL the Fan Club members' names on! I will wear it at a race, then raffle it off to the Fan Club members only. I'll also be launching my new merchandise which will consist of T-Shirts, Hoodies, Caps, Beanies etc.
Now onto the racing! First here is some info on the first race of the year at Phillip Island. The whole week was a bit dramatic. I had a screw loose, literally...
I had a crash last year in Moto2 with my foot getting run over which resulted in 3 broken metatarsals. I had two of them plated and screwed at the start of Nov (then raced Valencia that weekend later and tested after). I went into my winter training thinking my foot was stronger than it was (because of the plate support). In the first week of January I went to Spain with Danny Buchan and Josh Elliott to prepare for 2015 in boot camp style. And it was boot camp strict. Put it this way, I took over my Concept2 Indoor Rowing machine and it stayed in the villa and we had to visit it every morning before even eating breakfast! We trained hard, mostly 3 times a day but if not a minimum of 2 times a day. I encountered some problems with my foot but I mostly ignored the pain and got through it. I was able to reach the fittest I've ever been too. Then, a few days before I had to fly to Australia (last minute booking off flight too), I noticed a lump coming out of my foot at the end of the scar. It was a little red at first so I took antibiotics to see if it was an infection. Although deep down I had a strong feeling it was metal of some sort. By the time I arrived in Australia the infection still hadn't gone down so on the Saturday before the first test (on the Monday), I travelled to the hospital and got x rayed. Sure enough the screw was sticking very far out from where it was should be. I couldn't get any work done on it on the Sunday so I decided to try and test on Monday. I had to wear a boot I borrowed last year from Dominique Aegerter that was 2 and a half sizes too big so that I could fit my foot in. I managed to ride but I struggled at every right turn as I couldn't angle my foot in the way in wanted and therefore my body position was off. Every time I moved my foot, I had excruciating pain from the screw either running on the boot or sending sharp pain through the foot. I decided to get it operated on the Tuesday and missed a day of testing in order to be fit for the race weekend. Special thanks here to Wei..... from the medical centre who arranged it for me. They put me to sleep, cut open my foot and wound out the screw. Simple. Well that was the simple option. The two bones (4th and 5th metatarsals) are still very broke. My options were to have a bone graph and sit out for 6 weeks or get the screw out and race.
So come race weekend the foot was a lot less sore without the screw but I still didn't have full power in it. It was a little tricky using Tom Sykes' boot too, which was 2 sizes bigger than my normal, again to get my foot in. I had to use my arms more and I got pumped up several times over the weekend. During the race, once the MV Agusta's pulled a gap I tried to conserve my energy whilst battling in the group. I was very pleased to come out on top to get on the podium but I was a little frustrated with my riding. If I had grit my teeth more at the start of the race I think I could have went with Zanetti who finished 2nd.
This year I'm working with Andrew Stone, my crew chief from a few years back in European Superstock and World Supersport. We gelled together again instantly and he gave me a good bike that was capable of the podium. So a big thank you to him for working so hard after we were a day behind everyone else on track time.
After being in hospital on the Tuesday and getting on the podium in my WSS return on Sunday, I'll definitely take that result. It makes me excited for the rest of the year!
Oh, here's a funny one from Tuesday at the hospital. The team were working that day (testing resumed for the rest of the team) so I drove 2hrs to Melbourne myself. After the operation they wouldn't let me drive so I had to tell them I was getting a taxi to meet my 'lift' at a local hotel as he 'couldn't' make it to the hospital. They wheeled me out to the waiting area and left me there... 'sweet' I thought as he called the taxi by telephone. Only a small problem, my car was in the hospital underground car park. And I needed to go back to where I was admitted to get the car park voucher. So I snuck back inside and upstairs and asked for it. They asked if I was discharged as normally the nurse would collect the voucher for me. I said she must have forgot and the woman gave me the voucher. Sweet, I thought again. I went to the lift and around the corner walked the guy who wheeled me out in the wheelchair. He said "ah, are you ok sir?" to which I replied "yes all good I just had to pick a voucher up for later". He said "oh okay, is the taxi still waiting for you?" I said "yep still there" and hurried into the lift, snuck down to the basement, found my car and got out as quick as I could! It felt like something out of a film!
On to Round 2 at Thailand...
After a problematic weekend and qualifying 9th, I had a few issues on the opening laps and found myself in 14th position. I fought back hard and was about to move into 5th when my bike started to slow. After having to let riders pass on the straight I was tempted to pull it into the pits, thinking I was out of the points, but when I saw my pitboard I saw 'P10'. So I nursed it home gently and managed to finish 10th with 5 valuable points. Not the weekend I was looking for after Australia, but my race pace while fighting through the pack was similar to the top 3, which keeps my confidence high heading into Aragon. I am also still joint 4th in the championship and only 14 points from the leader, so it's all to play for!
I'm currently about to head to bed (Wednesday 10.40pm) after a day of travelling. I have been staying near Almeria in Spain, so today I drove to Alicante, flew to Barcelona, then drove from there to Alcaniz which is close to the Aragon circuit. Being in Spain didn't really reduce the amount of travelling this time, I left at 11am and arrived at 7pm!
I'm looking forward to getting back on the bike in Aragon and representing my new sponsor, Moran Construction. Fighting for the race win is the goal!
Hope you enjoyed reading my blog, I'll check back in soon!
If in doubt, elbows out!
Big thank you to:
Moran Construction UK LTD
Held Bike Gear
Hawkers Co Sunglasses
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