What a difference a year makes.

I sat on the same sofa in the Monster Tech 3 hospitality unit at the Sachsenring in Germany last year under no illusions that the end was near.

The truth was it did not look good.

I’d crashed five times during the weekend and there was no new contract for 2015.

It was a situation that re-shaped my career because during the summer break I had a long hard look at myself and came back strong in the second half of the season and earned that new contract.

The first part of this year has gone exceptionally well and to be joint fifth in the MotoGP World Championship, the leading non factory and British rider, shows just what can be done when everything seemed so bleak 12 months ago.

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I’m a little bit humbled by what has happened with those consistent finishes every week, because so much is down to the team and the bike.

The moment I sat on the M1 Yamaha at the end of season test in Valencia last year I felt extremely comfortable and I knew it was a bike for me.

During the winter tests, I worked hard to make those small differences that are so vital.

Every weekend, even when the bike has felt good, I always try to find that little bit extra because the goalposts constantly move in MotoGP.

It may seem strange, but it’s been a blessing I’ve had no upgrades to the Yamaha over the year which means we’ve never lost this base setting we found right from the start.

I’m able to squeeze the maximum out of the bike because I know it so well after riding it for the last seven months.

Of course, you are always looking for parts to make it better, but there is no guarantee when you get them they will improve those lap times – we have what we need and are happy with that.

Like all things in life, just when you think you have mastered every situation, something happens to bite you on the bum or, in my case, on the chin.

I had a warning on Saturday in practice coming out of the fast turn 12, but I had not taken enough notice and the M1 needed to remind me in qualifying.

I had my heart set on at least a second row start and, as my old schoolteachers and my parents will tell you, when I have my heart set on something I go to the nth degree to make it happen.

I tried extremely hard to actually put myself off the track coming out of turn 12 again.

It’s always a good warning when you start to get a little too complacent.

When everything is going so well and your confidence is sky-high, you take things for granted riding a 265 bhp, 220mph motorcycle.

I literally took the reminder on the chin. I hit and broke the screen with my head and bashed my chin into the tripe clamp top yoke which is pretty solid.

I can’t eat that well at the moment, but I can still speak.

I’m sure it made great television especially as I did not crash.

Straight after the Assen race I flew to Japan and really enjoyed my first ride at the legendary Suzuka circuit testing for the forthcoming eight-hour race.

To be stood in front of the mirror in a blue set of Yamaha factory leathers was amazing and I had to pinch myself.

It keeps that dream alive of one day making it a reality in MotoGP.

We were unlucky with the weather and it rained most of the time, but we were prepared.

There has not been many damp MotoGP sessions this year and so it was good to get some wet weather riding.

Suzuka is an amazing circuit and it’s so disappointing we don’t get the opportunity to race MotoGP there – but I can see why it’s too dangerous.

I’m lucky I get the chance to race at Suzuka, but with 83 teams it is going to be busier than a track day at Brands Hatch.

I’m cramming everything in, but I love it.

It certainly beats recovering from five crashes and worrying about the future.