[2008.7.16 // Yamaha official website～Rider Lounge]
That was certainly the case at Assen this year, where third place felt as good as a win! I thought I had a good start and was fifth or sixth when Valentino got tangled with Randy de Puniet and he crashed. I might have gone left but I knew Valentino was on the ground and I didn’t want to run over him or his bike and I just stopped.
The next thing I know is I’m dead last and then Alex de Angelis went down soon after and I lost a bit more ground. I just decided to get my head down and push. I thought I’d rather be in the gravel than riding round for eighth or ninth. I started picking guys off and before I knew it I was on the back of the group fighting for fourth. I just kept pushing myself to go faster and the next thing I’m fourth. I could see Nicky Hayden and Dani Pedrosa in the distance and all I did was ride as hard as I could.
I thought if I kept applying pressure Nicky might make a mistake and if I hadn’t kept pushing as hard as I did then I might not have been close enough to pounce on him. I’d settled for fourth but as I came out of the chicane he was sat up, and I couldn’t believe it. I guess that’s ‘karma corner’ after 2006. That place owed me something after I crashed a couple of years ago with my first win in sight, and I was really happy with third just because of the way I achieved it. It’s hard to get on the podium at any time in MotoGP, so to do it from last place was a great feeling.
Still, it was worth it when we got back to Texas. In the past I used to spend a lot of time between races on the road in Europe but now I try to get back whenever I can. It is important to have a solid base for Alyssia and the kids, and we love our home. Obviously I still have to spend a lot of time away but that makes every visit home even more special and I enjoy every minute. Gracie and Hayes are growing up so fast now. Gracie likes to think she is a princess and Hayes has already fallen in love with motorcycles! At two and a half he can already ride a bicycle with no stabilizers and he loves playing with his toy bikes or watching supercross on the TV.
In the meantime I plan to enjoy myself every time I go out on the track. My feeling with the YZR-M1 allows me to do that and there are some great circuits coming up. Hopefully the next time I talk to you I’ll be able to tell you what it is like to be a MotoGP winner!