An emotional Jake Dixon secured his first Moto2 World Championship podium on Sunday after meeting the AmericasGP flag in third.
Strong throughout the weekend at the Circuit of the Americas, Dixon lined up sixth on the grid for Sunday’s 18-lap race. But with conditions cooler than expected and facing strong winds, the battle became a crashfest as only 17 of the 29 intermediate class starters made it to the finish line.
Managing to avoid the chaos in the opening lap and maintaining his rhythm despite multiple issues both on track and with his GasGas Aspar machine, Dixon was quickly in the hunt for the leading group. The 25-year-old battled for podium contention from lap three before progressing, alongside eventual winner Tony Arbolino, to sit second at mid race distance.
Despite a late-race demotion by Ai Ogura to third, the Brit held fast to claim the first podium of his Grand Prix career and the first in Moto2 for his Aspar squad. But with the confidence on display in Austin, Dixon is certain it won’t be his last as the paddock packs up and returns to Europe.
“I know it’s third position but I’ve worked so hard for this!” Dixon admitted from Parc Fermé. “All the hours, all the tough races. It has been a tough, tough, three years and finally, I’m able to show my potential.
“Honestly, difficult race for me because so many emotions halfway through the race were going through my head as I see people crashing,” he continued.“The wind was so bad and it was just, for me, a matter of staying on the bike.
“I stayed with Tony for as long as I could and then I hit like two or three false neutrals and I lost the tow to him and then Ogura come past. Then I made a few really bad laps and lost the tow to him. Then started to get back in the rhythm, started to close back up but finally I said ‘Third position’s good enough for today. Something I can build on’.
“If I’m honest, from ten laps to go I just rolled out of it. I wasn’t taking any risks, I knew I had eight seconds behind me. I was struggling a little bit, maybe I could have fought for a second, but today wasn’t the day. Today was to gain points and I think people now know I’m here this year and can be a threat at every race!
“I’ve been in a podium position twice before, leading Le Mans and second in Indonesia and crashed out both times so that was going through my head. So I rode really tight the second half of the race.
“I didn’t ride my best but honestly if I didn’t ride my best and I still got third I think is a sign of good things to come!”
It’s been a challenging start to Dixon’s World Championship career since leaving the British paddock. His rookie season with Aspar garnered just seven points, with the following two years at Petronas failing to match up to initial promises. 2022, however, brings a fresh start and a reinvigorated rider, with his podium potential now clear to see.
“All the hard years,” Dixon reflected. “The struggles, the sacrifice I took to come to Moto2 from BSB – was difficult to make the jump. To ride Superbikes that are soft, they’re not stiff like these bikes, to then make the transition and the first year obviously with this team, we didn’t have the bike.
“But finally I come back to this team and it just shows how much of a great team they are. They’ve now got the correct bike underneath me and we’re finally able to extract the first podium and I think it’s gonna be the first of many.
“I think is the first of many,” he continued. “I’ve been there all year and fast in every session I’ve been out in and it was just a matter of time before my luck changed and I was able to get that first podium.
“Now I’ve got that monkey off my back I can really go for it and hopefully that first win’s not too far away.”
With the flyaway races done for now, Dixon is eager to head back to Europe as the Autódromo do Algarve beckons in just a fortnight’s time.
“Sounds super good!” he commented with excitement on the next stage of the season. “Actually in the test I was one of the fastest, if not fastest in race pace. So yeah, I’m super, super looking forward to going back to Europe. It feels more like home. Texas is great. I love it here. It feels like a second home but there’s nothing better than going back to Europe.”
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