Marco Melandri has admitted that his disastrous 2008 MotoGP season prompted him to consider his future in the sport.
The former MotoGP World Championship runner-up was expected to enjoy one of his best premier-class seasons after signing for the title-winning Ducati Marlboro Team - Melandri's first factory ride since his 2003 MotoGP debut with Yamaha.
But whilst team-mate and reigning champion Casey Stoner steered the Desmosedici GP8 to six wins, eleven podiums, nine poles and second in the world championship, Melandri never looked comfortable and joined an increasing list of riders baffled by the Italian machine.
The high-point of Melandri's season was fifth position in May's Chinese Grand Prix, but it proved a false dawn and by June Melandri was considering 'throwing it all in'.
"The 2008 season is over. It's been a learning year due to disappointments, but I really can't complain because in June I'd predicted the end of a life stage," Melandri wrote on his official website. "I seriously risked giving up during the bad times in my career and throwing it all in.
"Then one day something clicked in my head and I realised that if loads of people still believe in me then I should as well!. Now I feel really good, my work is my great passion and I'll give it all I've got because I know I'll have a great time!"
Melandri, a five time MotoGP race winner, finished the season just 17th in the world championship standings with 51 points, compared with 280 for Stoner. Kawasaki's Anthony West - whom Melandri has replaced for 2009 - was the only full time rider to score less points.
"It's not that this year I didn't try my best; on the contrary, I tried everything I could to start every race as if I was going to win," insisted Marco. "But when everything goes wrong and it's meant to be, there's nothing you can do to change fate.
"One thing I've learnt is that at times it doesn't help to ask yourself what's not working and who or what's wrong, because it doesn't improve the future and only makes you worry more and isn't helpful. I believe that at times it's best to let things be, knowing that you've done the best you can."
Fortunately, Melandri enjoyed a highly encouraging debut on the Kawasaki ZX-RR during post race testing at Valencia, when he beat both his best race and qualifying lap on a Desmosedici and got within 0.022sec of new team-mate John Hopkins.
Melandri's final MotoGP test of 2008 will take place at Phillip Island in Australia, from November 26-27.
"I'm going to have a few days holiday and then at the end of November I'll pass by Japan before the last test of the season in Australia," wrote the 250cc world champion.