June 27, 2016
Misano is a special track for me. I have great memories of the place as it was the start of my international career in 2012. I came into the weekend high on confidence and with a feeling that this was going to be the weekend to step it up a notch or two.
For Misano the team changed the suspension brand to Bitubo. I am really happy about it as in the past I have had a lot of success working with Bitubo. However, coming to a race weekend with a new suspension manufacturer and no base set up is never ideal. We needed to start somewhere though and this was as good a time as any.
In free practice 1 we just planned on doing only two runs. This was just to acquire some data and for me to feel what is needed on the bike. After going over the data we made a few setup changes for free practice 2. Through each session we felt the bike improving. It was not yet as fast as we would like but we were heading in the right direction for sure.
For qualifying, the guys from Bitubo built a new fork configuration and a new rear shock. It was a step in the right direction. Straight away I was starting to feel more confident on the bike. I tried hard in qualifying to put in a really fast lap but ended up only qualifying 25th. I just didn’t find a clean quali lap. It wasn’t ideal considering all the effort that had gone into the setup
I had a good feeling on race day morning. It felt like a good result was achievable even from P25. P25 never makes it easy as you are right in the danger zone. It gets very messy starting so far back. Guys are diving everywhere, out breaking themselves and causing general mayhem. So the first few laps that far back on the grid are all about staying out of trouble. I got a good start and made up a few places through the first few turns. I was feeling good and then I fell foul to some mid pack madness and got pushed super wide. This had me drop all the way down to 31st. I pushed really hard the whole race to make up for that. Pushing the tires so hard also wasn’t ideal. I ended up at 26th which a huge disappointment of a weekend for me.
Moving forward, we are planning another test. This will be before the next race. We need to spend some time working on better suspension set up and working on the electronics. It’s time to turn 2016 around and get into the top 10.