Matt Bond, 13/04/07 – 15/04/07
FIM European Superstock 1000 Cup
Friday – First Practice
It was good to get back to a track I know, and enjoy riding on, and I was fairly hopeful that it would go better than Donington. The bike felt good as soon as I got on it, despite the somewhat poor weather conditions. I just took my time and started circulating round, slowly progressing. I was happy with how it went towards the end of the session, despite being somewhat lower down the order than I wanted to be.
Friday – First Qualifying
With it being dry I was much more focused, and really wanted to put in a good time as it looked as though it would probably be the only dry qualifying we would be getting over the weekend.
The session started well, and I felt settled on the bike from the word go, but I seemed to hit a wall in terms of going faster and just couldn’t improve no matter what I tried and the consistency went AWOL as well. It just seemed like nothing was reducing the lap times.
I rode back into the pits, got some advice from the boss and then just headed out, focusing on my counter steering and working on consistency. With only one lap left I think I decided to just try too hard and it all went skywards, then ground wards, ending up with me on my backside. I can’t really remember the crash; I guess it’s a built-in mechanism I’ve built up over time! The rear came round, spat me off and I landed heavily enough to be winded for the first time ever and then I felt the pain in my hand hit me. Turns out I’d broken two bones in my left wrist and hairline fractured the last metatarsal bone. Didn’t know this at the time though, it just hurt!
Saturday – Second Practice
After the crash the team, consisting solely of my dad and Mike done a superb job of getting the bike rebuilt, albeit with a little bit of cleverly thought out workmanship and I was back out the next morning after some anti-inflammatory and painkilling injections.
I was told to take it easy and just focus on being consistent and exact with everything on the bike. Turn-in, braking, accelerating and lifting my head up being the main keys. It worked wonders as instantly I felt so much smoother, faster and more able on the machine. It was good to begin to really gel with the bike and it began to feel like I could actually make some good progress, which is what happened through the session.
Saturday – Second Qualifying
With it being wet there was going to be no point in really pushing for a good lap time as it wouldn’t alter the lowly placing I had on the grid, but we decided to use the session constructively, and again focus in on riding technique and developing the suspension on the bike.
A few quick adjustments on the bike worked wonders and I began to string together plenty of laps, and it all seemed to flow much more easily, making it a lot easier to pick up the pace. I was happy with how it all went, and felt good, despite the sometimes overwhelming pains I was experiencing.
Sunday – Warm Up
More injections early in the day, along with some handy laser therapy seemed to do the trick in morning warm up and it showed. My riding seemed much improved and noticeably more relaxed, and it reflected in the times I set and the position I found myself in by the end of the session 13th place speaks for itself really, and it just gave me the confidence for the race that I had lacked since Saturday afternoons crash.
Sunday – Race
I was fairly confident that a decent result would come despite sitting right near the back of the grid. Those starting lights seem awfully small from that far back I tell you. A few calming words from Mike helped and the next thing I realise we were away and racing.
I made a fairly mediocre start by my standards by within a few turns I began to pass people left and right. I made a real dive on three riders going into turn six, got past two and then felt a big whack. Whoops! Apologies to Frank Millet but I wasn’t going to wait around, I was felling well and in an aggressive mood.
I worked as hard as I could to progress forward and after finally passing the Ducati of former World Supersport rider Luca Nedog I got clear track ahead of me and ended up feeling really lonely as I couldn’t close in on the group ahead of me fast enough and had left the Slovenia a second or two behind me. Then out came the red flags.
Fortunately I reacted quick enough to avoid a severely bent MV and the marshals around it with an evasive maneouvre, should have been looking where I was going and paying attention really! I got back to the pits as quick as I can and asked for a dry rear to be put in the back of the bike as the wet had been completely chewed up in the drying conditions. Then it started raining again. After the delayed start we got moved around on the grid and no sooner had it settled we were all told to get the warmers off and restart the race.
On the restart I got away better and made some decent forward progress, I remember passing a number of people and then the pain started to come and by the final lap I was struggling to hold onto the bars. The vibration was killing my hand and I had to slow. I got passed by a number of people towards the end, but was happy to see the chequered flag. The bonus being I had made it up to 23rd, so was well chuffed.
The best bit of the weekend is the amount of progress forward in terms of the bike and my riding and can’t thank big boss Mike for that, he really did help out a lot this week. Hopefully the focus rolls over to Assen.
Right now I’m off to hospital and then to Brian Simpson to get this wrist sorted in what small amount of time we have.