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Chaz Checks In... Malaysia

After the Japanese Grand Prix we left Motegi on the Sunday night for Tokyo where we stayed in a hotel close to the airport ready for a flight on Monday afternoon. We flew from Tokyo to Singapore which was about 6 ½ hours and then from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur which was about 45minutes. As normal the weather in Malaysia is the first think you notice as soon as you get out of the air-conditioned airports. It’s normally mid to high 30’s but with 100% humidity and you feel it as well, but it’s good warm up for Qatar.

On Tuesday I went running in the morning in the bushes that surround our hotel for miles. I was a bit scared because it was properly tropical brush, the sort of place where you’d expect a few snakes to be hiding out! There was a couple of times where I heard a slight noise and just leapt as far as possible but didn’t see any. It was a good run, sweating like crazy! In the afternoon my team mate, his friend Johann and I went into Kuala Lumpur to do a bit of sight seeing and do the normal Malaysian ritual of buying loads of fake DVD’s etc etc! We tried to do the tour where you get to go up the Petronas Twin Towers but it was fully booked which was a bit gutting. They are seriously impressive and I never get bored of looking at them!

On Thursday we went to the circuit, looked over last year’s data, went for a run around the track and then went back to the hotel.

Friday started really well. I felt good and the bike felt pretty good and it didn’t take me long to get down to decent times at all. I did a 2.11.0 at the end of the session which matched my best lap time from the whole weekend last year. For the afternoon we never made any improvements in the right direction with the bike so It didn’t get any better. It wasn’t too bad the way it was but there was a couple of things like holding the line that I thought could be improved but we never managed to find them..

For Saturday I woke up with a sore throat and didn’t feel particularly good. That’s the problem when you go to a hot country, it’s tempting to have the air-con on flat out but the problem is, you get hot and then, all of a sudden go in the cold and as a result get ill from it. The same thing happened to me in Malaysia a couple of years ago and since then I’ve always been a bit careful but my team mate had the air-con on flat out in the office bit where we get changed and also in the car, and I ended up with the cold! In free practice 2 in the morning we again fiddled around with the setup to see if we could get a bit more out of the chassis but it seemed like what we started the weekend with was not too far away and hard to improve. With 15 minutes to go we put in a new rear tyre and we seemed to have made a slight step forward with the chassis. I did a 2.10.8 on my 2nd lap and was again on another blue helmet lap. I tipped into the double right, turn 8, and the front folded in what felt like slow motion but it was about a 90mph crash. The bike was a bit worse for wear but luckily I just slid and there was no injuries. I felt even worse again after the morning session, probably to do with the crash but I started getting hot and cold sweats and just felt shakey. In the afternoon there were a few small wrong things at the start of the session like an odd foot peg, and the brake and clutch lever in the wrong position that we got right. I didn’t feel right all session and I felt a bit powerless. I ended up on the grid but knew that I was capable of more so I was just hoping for a good start and to get stuck in.

On Sunday I felt the same as Saturday, my throat and sinus’s were really dry but I felt reasonably confidant I could have a good race. The weather was really hot, hotter than what we’d seen the previous 2 days and the hotter the track was getting the less grip there seemed to be. Could tell by watching the 125 race that it was going to be that way as there times were quite a way off in comparison to qualifying.

I got a really good start, since we’ve had these new springs in the clutch from about Brno it makes starting so much more consistent and fast. Even in practice I am always doing good start at the end of each session. My first laps were also good. Immediately I could feel the difference in the grip level, and by the few people who crashed in the opening laps I could see it as well. The rear was very slick and the feeling to the front was very vague. I got up into 11th in a pretty big group with all privateer riders in. Guintoli was at the head of the ground and I was just going to follow him and then think about where I was to try and make a move on the last few laps. I felt very comfortable behind him for about 12 of the 20 laps and then all of a sudden with about 9 laps to go my concentration went down and I started to feel a bit dazed and was unable to stay focused and there was nothing I could do about it. I started to drop off the group and I just didn’t feel good. I finished 12th in the end which was better than I expected but wasn’t sure why all of a sudden my concentration went and I started to get tired. I know its not a fitness thing as I know that I do more than most of the people on that grid so the only explanation I could think of was the combination of all the heat and the cold that I caught the day before. Whatever, it was annoying because I knew that I had the pace to stay with and win that group.




© 2006

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