I DON’T want this season to end – after such a brilliant three weeks I’m ready to face at least six more grands prix, but unfortunately there is only one left.

Through all those dark days earlier in the season both myself and the team knew we would come through the other side and never lost confidence in each other.

The signs were there with ninth place in Japan, followed by the podium in Australia and the fifth in Malaysia.

No crashes, loads of welcome points and the chance to finish sixth in the MotoGP World Championship – I could not have asked for much more, other than perhaps a fourth place in Malaysia.

I’m still taking some stick from my friends about that quivering bottom lip in the television interview straight after the podium at Phillip Island in Australia.

I was in complete shock and all the emotion just flowed out when I fully realised just what we had achieved.

Third place in a MotoGP race behind former world champions Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo at one of the world’s truly great circuits – I think you can forgive a little quiver and perhaps a small tear.

It was only about five minutes earlier I actually realised I’d finished third.

When Cal Crutchlow crashed on the last lap I did not see him.

I was just concentrating so hard on getting round the hairpin on the last lap after almost being brought down by Stefan Bradl there earlier in the race.

I crossed the line thinking I was fourth and looked up at the big screen after turn one which showed Bradley Smith in third.

My first thought was someone had made a mistake, but when I saw only Valentino and Jorge in front of me on the slowing down lap I realised and started screaming Italian from inside my helmet to Valentino when he congratulated me.

The podium was so special with all the fans pouring onto the track and I was very choked up.

The last time I’d stood on a grand prix podium was at Mugello over three years ago when I was third in the Moto2 race. That’s a long wait.

Iwill never forget leaving for the summer break after crashing five times during the German Grand Prix at the Sachsenring weekend.

I ached all over both physically and mentally and knew what a vital second part of the season it was going to be.

I had to look at myself and how I worked with the team, perhaps I was expecting just a little too much.

I said at the time I wanted to return from the back-to-back races at Indianapolis and Brno with a little bit of luck and a 2015 contract with the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team in my pocket.

That happened and despite a few ups and downs, we have pushed on from there and find ourselves with a chance of taking sixth place in the Championship.

As often happens there was no real time to celebrate the Phillip Island podium because we had a plane to catch in Melbourne very early next morning to Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysian race.

It was a quick dinner in Phillip Island and jump into the car for the two hour drive to the airport.

I’m sure we will have a proper celebration when the time is right.

After all the excitement of Australia we were never quite where we wanted to be in practice in Malaysia, and qualifying on the third row didn’t make our situation easier.

To finish the race 20 seconds back from the leader in fifth was a strong result and better than we had predicted.

Racing at Sepang in almost 40 degrees Celsius is so demanding and the body goes under so much stress but this is why what I train for and the body stood up well to the heat.

It would’ve been good to have caught Stefan Bradl for fourth at the last corner, but I didn’t have anything left.

Oxford Mail:

THERE’S just one race remaining this season, but for me there is plenty at stake.

Going into that final round in Valencia, I’m seven points behind my Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate Pol Espargaro.

It won’t be easy to finish the year ahead of him, but it is possible.

I’ve also got to keep a close eye on his brother Aleix, who is just two points behind me.

It all makes for some weekend at the circuit where I won my last grand prix, in the 125cc class four years ago.

So I’m preparing for one more big effort and then it’s followed by the test before the winter break.

As always the test will be interesting, with riders who are changing teams in 2015 testing their new bikes for the first time.

It’s always an important test for us preparing for next year, but before then it’s concentrating on the grand prix and the chance to finish sixth in the championship.

Another quivering bottom lip would be nice.

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