A difficult race day failed to take the shine off Jake Dixon’s MotoGP debut Silverstone weekend with the Brit left wanting more from his Petronas Yamaha experience.
“Up until the race, I felt I'd done not a bad job,” Dixon said of his three days in the premier class.
“The race for me was out of my hands. It was a problem that I hadn't experienced all weekend. I had some weird sensations going on regards the grip. We don't exactly know why, we're going further into why, but for me that's the most frustrating part and that's almost put a dampener on me being a bit happy for what I've done over the weekend. Because you do all this hard work and when you feel amazing in warm up, and then the bike and everything feels completely different in the race that is so frustrating.
“Just really annoyed with how things went in the race. It wasn't an ideal situation for me. I felt like after the morning warm up, I had a really good pace, to be able to go with the group at the back of the pack. But unfortunately the bike and the grip levels definitely did not feel the same in the race and it was definitely a lot more unridable in the race.
“For me, it felt like I was riding two different bikes, and it's just very, very frustrating to finish that way after such a positive weekend.
“I learned so much, the team have been great. The team have been incredible - Ramon, Andy, all the Yamaha technicians, my mechanics, everything. I've learned just so, so much. In the morning warm up I was going really good, to be 1.6 off the top but also only a tenth off Valentino, and my pace was quite similar to him if not better than his, so I was quite positive for the race.
“I can't just leave unfinished business you know, I feel like I rode around at 50% because that's all I was capable of doing today.”
The confidence and frustrations are a world away from the nerves and excitement he was facing just three days ago, when he initially pulled out of pitlane on Friday morning.
“First of all, I forgot where the clutch was and I forgot how to put it in gear,” he admitted while laughing “it was like I was a novice all over again but I think it was more down to nerves. I was super nervous, obviously because I have heard many stories about many things about these bikes.
“It was definitely a shock to the system going down Hangar Straight, when you open it up for the first time. I obviously won't repeat what I said to myself, but I can tell you the wall was coming fast! I broke and broke too early and then had to accelerate again so you can just imagine what it looked like,’ he continued with a smile on his face.
“There's so much to learn, there's not just tyres, brakes, electronics. Everything, power, there's so many different things that, in a test you can run through step by step on what you want to improve at a time. Where you come to a race weekend and you're chucked in at the deep end and off you go. There's your first 20 laps, that's the end of that session and there's your next 20 laps and get on with it again. You're trying to understand so much in such a short space of time.”
By Sunday morning, however, Dixon seemed to be settling into his rhythm, running a strong pace and keeping up with the riders around him despite the cold and tricky conditions at the challenging track. He even spent a few laps behind Marc Marquez in warm up with surprising results.
“Genuinely this morning I said to myself and I said to the team - I was gonna overtake him because on the out-lap he was going too slow and I was giving him the nudge on, 'come on let's go'. And I would never think I'd be saying that to him!” the young Brit admitted.
"It was obviously great to ride around with them. I rode around with him and Jack [Miller] in morning warm up for four laps and I wasn't being dropped by them so for me it was a great experience, a lot to take in, a lot I learnt. I feel so much more comfortable being back on the big bike and for me that's where my heart lies, but we'll just have to see what happens.
“Everything was so different. Nothing this weekend was the same as any of my Moto2 weekends so everything was very enjoyable. I adapted pretty well, and I find myself far better suited to a big bike, and would like my future to be on a big bike so that was probably the most enjoyable part.
“I would love to have another go on the bike and I would love it to lead to something more but who knows, let's just wait and see.”