So we are just about to go to Mexico and I feel a lot better with my knee. I have more movement, more strength and I reckon I will be able to do more on the Yamaha when we get to Guadalajara. It is amazing what a few days can do and I can accept now that Fermo and the Grand Prix of Italy came just too quickly after the operation.
It has been a crazy start to the season. I was very happy to finish on the podium at Valkenswaard for the first round even if my feeling in the motos could have been better. I think I was pretty stressed that weekend and to still take a trophy after not riding very well was cool. I was in a position where I didn’t want to push too much and third place was OK for the day.
Straight after the race I went straight home to Lyon because I have a track nearby that is a little similar to Sevlievo in Bulgaria, which was the venue for round two. The sand was heavy-going in Holland so it took me a day or two to really get back to 100% and then I was full-gas preparing for Bulgaria. I was confident going to Sevlievo but I was also feeling a bit of pressure because I wanted the same performance that I had made on my Yamaha debut last year. Once practice started I was fine and the speed came. I made a big mistake in the first corner of the qualification heat and this put me down to tenth or something and so I pushed very hard because the track wasn’t too easy for overtaking. Desalle pushed me off the track at the top of the hill and I was a bit angry after that. For about three laps I was not ‘me’. It was another rider out there! I was not smooth and had to tell myself to relax. I was riding terribly but I made myself breathe and by the time I wanted to pass Bobryshev I was doing OK. That’s when the accident happened.
Some people told me I should have waited but I saw the chance and went for it. We touched in the wave section and I had to put my foot down. If it has been on a flat piece of track then I don’t believe there would have been a problem. As soon as the foot went down I heard a ‘crack’ and there wasn’t any pain but I had no feeling in my knee. I went around the rest of the lap and I was thinking ‘the season’s finished’. I came into the pits and said to Fred, my mechanic, “it’s over”. I was really down. I had finished second in the world last season and I had worked really hard over the winter to do better in 2012 and I was ready for that.
We started to make a plan straight away. At first we thought it was the meniscus and it was some good news at least when the first scans came through. When I went for the operation in Belgium it was actually the anterior cruciate ligament that that was damaged and so I had it removed with keyhole surgery. The whole process was pretty amazing actually. The doctor said I could still race with the knee and I trust him. I think other riders before have been in the same position and they have managed to do it. I will go race by race now and when the season is over then the plan is to have the operation to get the knee fully corrected. I hope I won’t have to change my schedule too much. It depends on how the leg feels but I still hope I can ride and train as I want throughout the summer.
I really wanted to try and get some top ten positions or some points in Italy but it was hard out there. I knew Fermo would be heavy because of the jumps and the hills. Even though it was only five days after surgery I had enough feeling in the injury to want to attempt the motos and after adjusting my knee brace to make it more comfortable on the area where I’d had the operation I couldn’t believe it when it was stolen Sunday morning! It meant I had no extra support on the knee and it was too risky.
The MX1 championship was strange was last year because a lot of riders were injured or they crashed. I’ve lost a lot of points through one weekend and then through trying to do something in Italy that just couldn’t happen. I cross my fingers, quietly confident, that I can still make some progress this season.