Sometimes you know I do these Blogs on the fly, I get all (semi) efficient and do them as the sessions or whatever are happening so that everything in detail is a little bit easier to remember and write down, this one however I haven't and it's pretty hard sat here typing this knowing what a crap weekend we've just had to sit here and basically polish a turd but I'll give it a go anyway as whilst things didn't exactly go my way believe it or not there were actually some positives to come from last weekend!!
Right then.. Silverstone, obviously last year this track was the first round of the Championship and it's been a long time since we got to try our bike here but I was really looking forward to it, I feel just short of winning on my switch from Kawasaki to Ducati last year and ended up with two second places but I think it's fair to say we've improved the package overall a bit since then so with last weekend being a triple header and 15 podium points up for grabs it was important to go there positive and get after as many of those podium points as possible!!
Mother nature can be a funny old girl and no matter how many different weather apps I checked throughout the weekend it seemed the only times all weekend that the track could be potentially dry were whenever I wasn't out yet on the flip side it was almost like rain or wet/damp track was booked literally for every time we got on the bike lol!!!
FP1 was actually quite a good session, we had pretty much a dry track but it was real cold, track temperature was real low which meant we had to run the hard rear tyre, something we never usually do as the hard rear neither sites me nor the bike, we made some changes throughout the session to try to improve my feeling and to be fair we improved a little, in fact one of those positives was that all the time everyone was on the hard rear we were pretty much consistently fastest, we continued working throughout the session to improve my feeling and never bothered putting a soft rear in so we dropped at the end of the session a bit but as I said it was all pretty positive so far!
FP2 was actually a fairly decent session too, it was wet and it’s been a while since we got torrid in the wet amazingly enough, we actually lead most of the session and remained there or thereabouts the whole way through the session, we’d made a few changes to try to improve the feeling with the rear of the bike and ended the session happy in P2 behind Christian Iddon.
FP3 was a bit of a weird one, the track started out pretty damp and a few of us never even bothered going out in the beginning, in fact I waited about half an hour or so before heading out, basically as long as it took for the boys to get anywhere near the sort of lap times we should be doing in the dry, I only worked with the hard rear tyre again and paid the price a little eventually dropping from the top 3 or 4 down to 12th when the new soft rear tyres got fired in by most of the boys.
Unfortunately for me qualifying was a bit of a disaster, with the very limited dry track time we’d had and the problems we’d been having in the dry qualifying threw us a right curve ball, I dug deep in Q1 literally my first time of the weekend on the soft rear tyre and whilst I went considerably faster than i’d been all weekend i had some massive chatter issues from the rear of the bike, nevertheless we were through to Q2 so we had another chance to try to fix the vibrations in that session.
Q2 I pushed hard again, in fact I went half a second a lap faster and initially was through to Q3 but plenty of guys used their 3rd and final rear tyre in Q2 and bumped me out meaning i’d qualified all the way down in 10th and still hadn’t got to the bottom of the vibrations. After the session Jack my tyre guy found out exactly what the vibration problems were caused by but this now threw yet another spanner in the works because the problem would obviously cause massive vibration but was that the only problem, we’d now have to wait and hoe that morning warm up was dry so we could see, not a great day at the office that's for sure!!!
Being a triple header obviously there was a race to run on Saturday afternoon, the conditions for the race were horrible, in fact i’d say probably some of the worst and most dangerous i’ve ever had to race in, the problem was that from the Maggots,Becketts section of the track right the way around to Farm corner was absolutely soaking wet, standing water and slippery as hell but from there, back around to the finish line, through turn one and all the way back to Maggots it was literally bone dry, now the problem with that is that wet tyres on a dry track just don’t usually last yet intermediate tyres are basically cut slicks so on the first lap when we blast down the Hanger straight at 180 odd mph those who chose wets would be quite safe on the brakes yet those (including me) who chose intermediates ran the risk of wiping half of the field out if we tucked the fronton standing water, it really wasn’t a great situation at all and things got pretty tense on the start finish line before the race got underway.
I got a reasonable start and was fine on my inters until we got down to Maggots then I had to back right off, spinning in a straight line in 5th gear down towards Stowe wasn’t a good feeling!!, gradually as the race wore on I worked my way further and further up the field getting up to 6th on the last lap but unbelievably (I genuinely don’t know how) I lost the front at farm and went down, I couldn’t believe it, It was literally the first dry corner since the entry to Maggots and I think I just pushed the front a little bit too hard which was obviously cold from the wet section i’d just been through, I was gutted, how can you crash on the last lap, even my data logging after showed i’d done nothing any different from the lap before!! That was 5 podium points missed but the good news is that whilst I never scored the points PBM did because my team mate Glenn got to celebrate his 1st ever BSB win and not only that I got the fastest lap in the race so I would start from Pole position in race 2 on Sunday morning, as for Glenn, I was chuffed to bits for him!!
Morning warm up was pretty dry but bloody cold which was ok as we were running the hard rear tyre again, the good news was that the information Jack found on the two tyres from qualifying was pretty much confirmed, we used the session to just rack up a few laps then to do a practice start at the end of the session and from here on in we were literally in the hands of mother nature!!
Giovanni and the boys made a few little tweaks to the bike, well, actually that's a lie, they made some fairly big tweeks to the bike in order to help with the problems i was suffering with in warm up, mainly that the bike wouldn’t turn well enough on the gas so starting from Pole position on the grid having been presented my Pole position watch by AMA super cross star Justin Garcia the first few laps of the race would certainly be interesting trying to get a feel for the changes as quick as possible.
I got a good start and lead for a good few laps, the bike felt a bit better and we certainly didn’t seem to be suffering the vibration issues we’d been having thought practice which was good, after a while Josh came past me then shortly after James Ellison did too but whilst Josh got a small gap I started towards the end of the race to really start reeling them back in but the with 4 or 5 laps to go the safety car came out, I tried really hard to keep heat in my tyres and was planning my attack for when the race restarted but for whatever reason after a couple of laps behind the safety car the race was red flagged and declared a result so we only ended up with third..
The final race of the weekend was a joke, there’s no polite way to speak about the conditions or the way we were treated on the grid, I once again got great start, lead the race for ages before towards the end Dan Linfoot came by then for no reason even on the data I had a massive 4th gear high side at Farm, i’m not going to speak bad about the race organisation etc but the fact only 6 people form the whole BSB grid finished the race before it finally got red flagged says everything that needs to be said, end of!!
Obviously I left Silverstone pretty unhappy but it is what it is, two 100mph plus crashes and nothing more than bumps and bruises and feeling like i’d been run over by a truck was a small price to pay and I consider myself and All of the others that weren’t seriously hurt very lucky but as I said that's that. It’s time to prepare for the final part of the battle now, I have a training session up in London with my trainer this week, a few cycles and generally a bit of chill out time to get myself set and ready for Oulton park in just a few days time, I CAN’T WAIT!!!!
Take it easy guys and girls, that’s 3 bad rounds on the bounce for us and they say bad luck comes in three’s, hopefully our time is now, see you at Oulton, Shakey #67