[2008.7.16 // Yamaha official website～Rider Lounge]
As you can understand I don’t want to talk too much about the crashes or the injuries again but it is fair to say that watching the Barcelona race from my hospital bed wasn’t much fun so I was looking forward to getting back on the bike at Donington. After several weeks of treatment in Barcelona, in the expert care of Doctor Xavier Mir and all the staff at the Dexeus Institute, I was keen to get back to normal life before riding again and I was able to spend a couple of days at my home in London. The team very kindly relieved me of any media appointments that had been planned so I could just relax and stay calm. I had always wanted to see a West End show in London so on the Wednesday night we went to see ‘We Will Rock You,’ the musical about the famous rock band Queen. I am too young to remember Queen but their songs are great and I really enjoyed the performance. It was the perfect way to relax before the British GP, which was all about getting my confidence back on the bike. We had to take a completely new approach to riding, starting from zero and learning everything from scratch again, because for whatever reason I had been crashing far too much in the previous races. Qualifying was tough because it was in the wet and I couldn’t push so hard, so I ended up starting from 17th on the grid. I don’t want to think about the past, or think about what might have been if I’d started in the front rows, I only want to think about the facts and I was very proud of my ride in the race. The number one aim was to finish the race without crashing or hurting myself, because at the end of the day your health is the most important thing, but to come through and take sixth was a great achievement. I didn’t get a brilliant start but after I started to feel more and more confident and found I was able to ride better and better, then I realised that I actually had the chance to do a very good race. I had good pace throughout and my bike and my Michelin tyres worked very well. Sometimes lately it has been hard to stay optimistic, motivated and happy, even though I have always tried to go out smiling and with a good attitude, but this race was great.
When I got home from Holland I was able to watch Spain winning the Euro 2008 football championship, which was a great feeling. I love football and there have been lots of jokes in the paddock recently about who would win. Thankfully we knocked out Italy so I could tease a lot of people in the team and in the paddock, and to beat such a strong and resilient team like Germany in the final was like a dream. Not many people know that Cesc Fabregas was born on exactly the same day as me so I always like to watch out for him and I was pleased to see him lifting the trophy with the rest of the team. It gave me inspiration and I hope to lift some more trophies myself before the end of the season. Before we went to Assen I also got the chance to visit Wimbledon, which was a lifelong ambition. I saw Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic play and win, which was a great thrill.
This week I went to the Bread and Butter fashion show in Barcelona as a representative of the new ‘Sweet Years’ clothes brand, which has been founded by the Italian footballers Christian ‘Bobo’ Vieri and Paolo Maldini. Bobo told me he has been watching me race since the start of my Grand Prix career and that he thinks I reflect the values of their clothes – colour, joy, positivity and the desire to have fun. It’s a great honour to hear something like that from a sporting icon like him and I enjoyed going to the show too, because fashion is one of my great passions.
From Barcelona the plan was to go back to my home in London and spend some time there preparing for the next race in Sachsenring. Hopefully I can get back to Wimbledon to watch Rafa Nadal, who is also from Mallorca, like me. He is a great player and one of the favourites to win the tournament, so hopefully we can both continue the recent sporting success for Spain!