This year I’ve rediscovered just how hard this racing malarkey can be.

It’s been a real wake up call and a test of character, which people tell me is good for you.

I’m certainly going to find out.

It’s not been a great season and maybe the couple of weeks we have off now will be good to get away from all this, but at this moment I want to carry on and find some solutions.

I want to be back where I was last year – in front of my teammate and the best independent rider.

I’ve not adjusted to the feeling of the new Michelin tyres as well as I would have hoped.

I just could not get a feel for what I needed.

I’m someone who rides a lot on feel and not a person who will just go for it and crash or end up in the gravel.

I wanted to build up slowly and make sure I was in the right position step by step getting to where I needed to be.

The time to start pushing was at Le Mans and it’s coming, but we have to continue working on the little niggles that are so annoying.

It might sound strange but it’s actually quite fun because last year was almost too easy and plain sailing.

Mugello looked a good one and we were pleased with the step forward and to be in Parc Ferme as the top independent rider after finishing seventh.

In Barcelona I was looking pretty decent after working with the hard tyre all weekend trying to make it work, but we swapped to the medium rear tyre in the Sunday morning warm-up.

I was ninth fastest with some consistent times and it looked good for the race.

Unfortunately in the race I had major technical issues with the engine.

It was like riding backwards for five laps and I had to pull in to prevent any further damage.

For me the hard tyre was over one second slower than it usually is and if I’d carried with it in the race I could have been last.

But the situation is not quite as bad as it first looked.

Just when I thought I’d got rid of Pol Espargaro at the end of the year, he announced in Barcelona he will be joining me at KTM for the next two years.

Seriously though, I’m excited my present Monster Yamaha Tech 3 teammate is on board.

I think KTM made the right decision taking the two fastest non-factory riders on the next available factory bike.

We have ridden together at Yamaha with different settings, always with a difference of not more than a couple of tenths of a second between us.

Also we rode the same Yamaha to victory in the Suzuka eight-hour race last year, so we will be working in parallel.

It’s no good teammates wanting completely different things, because it hampers development.

KTM have been smart. Pol and I have pushed each other forward in our careers and that can only be beneficial to them.