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MotoGP Mandalika: ‘Hard work pays off’ for Dixon - ‘my biggest threat's me’

Aspar’s Jake Dixon secured his first Grand Prix pole position on Saturday after setting a 1’35.799 lap around the all-new Mandalika Circuit.

The rising Moto2 star has certainly found his mojo with the Inde GasGas outfit with a strong performance across the 2022 opening weekend before a lap one incident curtailed his potential.

Sunday’s second chance sees him joined on the front row by fellow British rider Sam Lowes, in third, with Dixon both praising the Marc VDS man and welcoming a boost to the local competition.


“It’s a massive step,” Dixon explained from Lombok’s Parc Fermé. “I feel like everyone always writes me off and it’s always ‘the Brits are not good’. Obviously, Sam’s been here for a long time and he’s super fast. He’s super, super fast and talented but it’s so nice to finally have another Brit that’s doing it as well.

“It feels so good!” he continued on Saturday’s achievement. “Honestly it’s been a long time coming. Obviously last year was such a difficult year for me but now I’m in such a great team, with the Aspar GasGas team, so it’s super nice to finally show the full potential of what I’m able to do.

“This year we’ve been fast from the off, from the first test all the way through. From the minute I jumped on the bike in November, I felt completely different. It’s so nice.

“Qatar was a bit of a shame because I got boxed out on the first corner and I probably could have been a little bit more aggressive but overall the pace was good in the race. We made a good recovery, but here’s a new track for everyone. It’s the first time everyone’s been to the track, so is a level playing field and I feel really good. From FP1 I felt like I knew the track already, I have a good flow and I’m feeling it.

“I just want to get on with tomorrow now. Like I always say, I feel like racing is my forte. One lap is definitely not my forte, as you see in Qatar, it wasn’t too good! In Qatar I didn’t have the one lap speed and I kept hopping off the thing, Fabio wasn’t too happy with me about that either!” he laughed, looking at his friend and ex-Petronas teammate Quartararo. “But I’m starting to figure out the puzzle and it’s a feeling nice. Here it’s good. Generally my race pace is a lot better than my one lap pace. So, like I say, I’m feeling the flow and the bike’s feeling amazing as it has done all year. I think good things are gonna come.

“I’m taking it, it’s pole,” he continued. “I haven’t ever done it so it’s so nice to get it. The hard work’s finally paid off. It’s been a rough couple of years, and then obviously, doing all the heat training this week I was thinking, ‘what’s it all for’ but it’s for these moments, now.

“It feels so nice to pay the team with a pole position on the Kalex after a big move from last season, they deserve it as much as I do. It’s a team effort. Honestly, my crew is awesome, I love them so much. I just leave them to do their job; before I had to focus on being involved on the set-up of the bike. Now I just focus on myself.”

Dixon’s return to Aspar - the team he initially came into the World Championships with in 2019 - came after the dissolution of the three-tiered Petronas structure, that the 26-year-old had originally hoped would pave his way to a MotoGP seat.

“There was many things last year that, I won’t go into details but there was many things that were going on that weren’t great,” he explained evasively. “It obviously takes an effect on you, even if you think it isn’t. I haven’t changed so much in myself. I’ve just gone more for a ‘just support myself’ attitude because in the past I’ve doubted myself a lot. This year, I’m not and I’m believing more in what I can do. I think this is a big thing.

“Tomorrow is going to be a great race. I think I’m gonna have really good pace and I think I’ll be able to do a really good rhythm.

“I think my biggest threat’s me,” he said of Sunday’s 25-lap race. “I honestly think that and if I can keep myself under control, I’ll have a really good race. I don’t look to anyone else. I look towards me. Put all my effort in me, like I have been doing and it’s been working this far. It’s gonna work out and I’m ready for it.”

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