Jake Dixon was back on the Moto2 podium and loving life at Sepang after a difficult weekend with the Inde GasGas Aspar.
Adrift from Friday, Dixon openly admitted he was struggling until his team changed direction. The result, a second row start, from fourth position on Sunday and a dramatic end of race battle with championship leader Augusto Fernandez.
“I left myself so much hard work, as per usual!” Dixon exclaimed from Parc Fermé on Sunday afternoon. “I got hit on the first lap and I thought I had a problem with my bike so I took it easy for a lap to see if everything was alright. It was all alright so I settled into my pace, trying not to use too much rear tyre and then chipped away towards the two in front. Eventually got there from about two seconds but by the time I got there, I used so much energy.
“Then me and Augusto started battling and it was hard. No one made contact. It was a hard battle and yeah, it was fair, it was clean on both parts.
“Unfortunately Ogura went down on the last lap, which gifted me the third position. I want to thank the team because it's been a difficult weekend. We come back from being well back on day one - 1.4 off - what a great podium to give the guys!”
While Dixon enjoy the late-race battles, Fernandez was less impressed.
“At the end of the day we're not playing cards are we?” The Brit said after his Spanish rival seemed reluctant to shake hands post race. “We're out here racing motorbikes and he's got to go for it as much as I'm going for it. I want the podium as much as he wants the podium. I know he's going for the championship but this is the situation.
“I have the utmost respect for Augusto. He's an amazing talent. He's obviously going for the championship but at the end of the day, I'm here to make a name for myself and the Brits are always seen as the underdog. So I'm coming here. I'm taking it to everyone and, yeah, in this situation, I want to show that I'm no pushover and he's got to give me respect. So it is what it is. I didn't hit him. We fought hard and at the end of the day, he finished fourth and it's good points for him.”
Malaysia takes Dixon’s podium tally to six for 2022, all on the third step with the elusive victory still just out of reach with just one race left to run.
“I feel good,” the 25-year old said of his season so far. “Obviously I've made many mistakes this year. I've learned from many situations. I'm sick to death of third position but anyway, it's better than fourth. I think my time's only coming to be in the next two positions, and I'll keep fighting until that happens. Until that does happen, I'll keep working hard at home. I go see my lovely wife and my dog and obviously my baby that's will be coming in March - she’s home watching it, chillin’ whilst I'm out here sweating my nads off!
“I'm not clever enough to tell you what we changed to be fair, so I couldn't tell you,” Dixon admitted when question on his step from Friday practice to qualifying. “I just get on and try and ride the thing as fast as I can!
“On Friday, I wasn't fast enough. Told the team the situation, as per usual they come and turn up on Saturday to give me the bike to be able to fight again. So a massive absolute credit to them. If it wasn't for the Aspar GasGas team I wouldn't be here today. We'll just keep chipping away and doing what we do.”