I'm back home in Oxfordshire following that final race of the season suffering with a stinking cold. I think eight months of constant travel plus the last two months of criss-crossing the world has finally caught up with me.

Hours even days of air travel, jet lag and practicing and racing in hot, cold and wet conditions in such a short space of time has taken its toll. Give me a couple of days moping about being miserable and then I'll be back training to be fit for the first test with my new Aspar team at Jerez in Spain at the end of November.

I was not able to bring my Polaris World Team the victory their hard worked deserved in Valencia but considering everything I was pretty happy with the result which pushed me up to sixth place in the final world championship standings.

It was never going to be an easy week coming so quickly after Malaysia. I came in after the first practice session on Friday morning shivering with cold. Just five days after racing in 40'c in Malaysia it was a shock to the system to be practicing in the rain and with a maximum temperature of around 12'c.

It was hard getting any heat into the tyres and I crashed in the first qualifying session on Friday afternoon. I was in good company with 51 crashes by 125, 250 and MotoGP riders on that first day. It was dry and a bit warmer on Saturday and I qualified in fifth place on the second row of the grid for my last race with the team.

I had problems in the first few laps of the race with the engine spluttering and when it finally cleared I was down in ninth place. I fought back but it was hard catching the leaders and especially when Stefan Bradl crashed bringing down Sergio Gadea to split them up at the front.

With three laps to go I managed to dive under Nico Terol and Sandro Cortese to grab third place but I was having a few stability problems, especially at the left hand bend coming into the start and finish straight. Terol messed me up when he passed me and try as hard as I might I could not catch them and had to settle for fourth.

On Sunday evening we had a big farewell dinner with everybody in the Polaris World team. It was a sad occasion saying goodbye to a fabulous bunch of people who taught me so much in one season. There are so many experienced people in the team and I learnt so much from them and I'm just sorry I could not bring them that grand prix win.

A few times it seemed possible but always something such as the rain conspired against us. Some of my mechanics are coming with me to the Aspar team which will be great while many of the 250cc team are going to work with Aprilia on their new Superbike project.

Overall, despite a few disappointments, I'm satisfied with the progress I've made this year. I can't believe I've just finished my third season in the world championships. I've made good progress every year and that's so important.

This year I finished sixth in the championship and took four podiums and three pole positions. I ended up with 50 more points than last year and was always racing with the leaders and chasing podium finishes.

I was 19th my first season, tenth last year and sixth this year and I know I must continue this progression next year with the new team. It's going to be a big challenge riding for such a big and successful team but I relish the opportunity and can't wait to ride the bike and meet everybody at the end of next month.

We are already working on my training programme for next year and with the first race a month later than this year, under the Qatar floodlights, we will be careful not to burn out before we get started in April.

A big thank-you to everybody who has given me so much support throughout the year. To see people with flags and banners at circuits on the other side of the world when you are thousands of miles from home gave me such a good feeling and pushed me even harder to try and win. Next season is a crucial year for me and I'm determined to justify all the faith you have shown in me with that first win.

Also I've really enjoyed bringing you all my news from around the world and I hope you have enjoyed reading about my ups and downs in such a brilliant sport. It's back to the cough medicine for a couple of days and then onto the pushbike and training.

Enjoy the winter and see you next year.


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