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THE SBK SEASON is now in full swing and I’m pleased to say that I have had the best start to a season in my whole SBK career. Like I talked about last time, we’ve advanced our electronics package and have been working hard all winter to establish the grounding that we can now see working on the track. Truth to tell we do still get one or two nasty gremlins from time to time (as witnessed at Donington), but that is because we’re still fine tuning our complex electronics package. My Pata Honda team really have been working very hard to get me back to the sharp end which we’ve seen at Assen with a win in the wet and a double victory at Imola in the dry.

 

 For a couple of weeks, I was actually leading the World Championship but I’m not really thinking too far ahead on the title just yet. Right now I’m happy to keep striving to get the best out of our package every race weekend and see where we end up. I always aim to be in the top three of the championship, but this year it seems realistic to think that is where we belong. So I am excited about the upcoming races because I usually get stronger as the year goes on — to have found a bit of groove this early on is promising.

 

Off the track, I’ve been busy playing dad to my little boy, Jake-Elijah, who is now eight months old. Time flies when you’re having fun and I feel so lucky that I get to spend so much time with my family because they are able to attend the European races with me. We also made a base for ourselves out in Italy for May and June to cut back on travelling back-and-forth to the Isle of Man, and also to enjoy the sunshine and Italian hospitality.

 

I’ve always loved the Italian culture: the food; the passion of the people; the cycling and even the language which I’m doing my best to master a bit of while there. Riding around Tuscany in 25+ degrees with cycling pros is hard to beat so was a great experience.

 

I also did a quick stop-over back home on the Isle of Man for the TT races at the end of May, which made for a great opportunity to catch up with lots of the motorcycle community. We hosted a BBQ on the Saturday of race day for 25 people so I had my master chef hat on and enjoyed preparing the food and being on the grill for the night. There’s nothing like a bit of normality between the demands of my own career and all the travelling.

 

There really is no place like home and I look forward to returning for the August break as I’ll be extremely busy up until then and I have been asked to take part in the Suzuka 8hr in Japan at the end of July, once again for Honda.

 

This will be my fourth year of taking part. It’s usually the most physically gruelling race but also one of the most satisfying. Last year my team-mate crashed while leading, so this year we hope to go out and gain back top spot.

 

I hope to have even more positive news on my next blog but until then I’ll be keeping busy riding my bike and living the dream.

 

JR

 

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