Petronas Yamaha’s Jake Dixon completed his second MotoGP race earlier than expected after crashing out of the first lap at MotorLand Aragón on Sunday.
A strong start saw the Brit brimming with confidence as he continued his premier class education for the second weekend. Even executing a pass on teammate Valentino Rossi before looking to target countryman Cal Crutchlow. The aspirations, however, eventually fell short as his lack of experience with the hard Michelin front tyres saw his undoing.
“Yeah, it wasn’t ideal,” Dixon said honestly. “Everything’s been going quite swimmingly up until unfortunately the crash in the race. I felt like a got not a bad first lap. I was able to overtake Vale, and nearly got Cal as well, settled in and then I had a moment coming out of turn three on my first lap. It basically unsettled the bike, then on the run into four/ five I ran off the track but when I came back on, I rejoined about half a second behind them so I said ‘right now just get into your rhythm and follow them’.
“Looking at the data, it was just a matter of me not doing anything different to what I’ve been doing all weekend but just unfortunately, with the hard front tyre just wasn’t quite up to temperature as I flicked from right to left. Something that experience obviously counts for and my mistake. Obviously I want to apologise to the team and everyone.”
Despite the early bath, Dixon is confident that he’s gained a lot from the experience and proved his potential in the top class.
“Definitely! I think you’ve only got to look at my progression from when I first got on it to now,” he said proudly. “I’ve been getting faster and faster but experience counts for everything.
“Understanding the tyres, understanding everything and unfortunately I got caught out from not knowing the hard tyre that well. I think, throughout the whole weekend I’d only done something like five or six laps on the hard front tyre so I didn’t have a lot of understanding and unfortunately I thought it was ready - because I’ve been running the medium all weekend. I felt I could go like I could go on the medium straightaway but unfortunately couldn’t. But that’s my mistake and that’s something that you live and learn.
“I’ve understood a lot. I couldn’t just put it on one thing, is a matter of, working in MotoGP obviously you’re working with the most experienced guys in the world. The best technicians in the world. It’s everything. How I need to ride the MotoGP bike is so different to how I have to ride the Moto2 bike. So changing styles again and having to adapt is obviously not easy over two weekends but probably the biggest difference is just trying to adapt back to riding a faster bike and understanding how to manage the tyre life with these bikes.
“I feel like it’s something that takes time and in testing you’re able to run a longer time on the tyres to understand the feeling of the drop, rather than in the weekend, you don’t have that much time. You start on a new set of tyres straightaway so you never actually get that many laps on a tyre.
“Honestly, I know it’s the obvious but getting faster and actually showing to myself that I feel like I belong on the big bike and in MotoGP,” the 25-year-old said as he reflected on the past two race weekend’s biggest achievements. “I think I’ve proved it to myself and I think I felt like I proved it to a lot of other people as well, which was a good thing.
“Obviously, I’m not saying that I can’t ride the middle bikes but I haven’t ever done a lot of time on that sort of bike, so it’s harder for me to ride it. I don’t know, I just feel like when I have more power, I don’t feel like I do anything different. I just feel like I’m able to excel a lot more with more power. But let’s see, I go back to Moto2 to next week!”