I think the only way to describe the race in Malaysia on Sunday was it was like running flat out on the treadmill in a sauna for 40 minutes without a break.

When you are riding it's not so bad because you are so focused and the adrenalin is flowing but when you stop it just hits you. After the 19 lap race at Sepang on Sunday I was shattered and disorientated. All the riders were overwhelmed especially when you get back into the air conditioning in the offices or I'm happy to say in my case, in the television interview room after finishing in second place. It's just a case of getting in as much water as you can.

Ten minutes after the race I went to pick up my helmet to go out on the victory podium and it was till scorching hot. I was amazed it could absorb so much heat although I've never raced in conditions like it in my life. It's always hot in Malaysia but this time it was not the humidity but the sheer heat with the thermometer showing 41' C before the start of the race.

Sometimes when I'm cycling round the lanes of Oxfordshire in the pouring rain on a Monday morning I wonder if all the training and hard work I put in is worthwhile. On Sunday it showed that the effort pays off and I certainly was still strong at the finish of the toughest race of my life.

After the disappointment of qualifying when typical monsoon like rain wrecked the second session, the race was brilliant.

I started from the fourth row of the grid after only qualifying 13th but going into the first corner at the start of the second lap I overtook four riders to take over fifth place. Unfortunately, as happens when you are fighting your way through the pack, Gabor Talmacsi and Andrea Iannone had already built up a three and a half second lead at the front.

I eventually overtook Andrea to take second place and with eight laps to go the pack where still right behind. Then Stefan Bradl dropped out with mechanical problems I got my head down and pulled away and started to close the gap on Gabor at the front.

I got the gap down to around two and half seconds but Gabor was controlling things from the front and with a few laps to go I dropped the pace because I knew I was not going to catch him.

I can't believe it's the final race of the year on Sunday. It's been a long hard season but it's gone so quickly. I've completed over a 1000 laps at Valencia in practice and racing and so I think it's fair to say I know the track really well. I was second fastest in the winter test there this year with a lap under the record and so I'm confident of a good result but as I proved this season, racing is so unpredictable.

It will be a sad occasion riding for the Polaris World Aprilia team for the very last time but I'm delighted that some of my mechanics will be joining me in the Aspar team next season. I remember my final race with the Repsol Honda team was very emotional last year and I'm sure it will be the same on Sunday.

The team could not have done more for me this year. We've shared the ups and downs and I want to produce something special for them on Sunday. I hope to have my first test with the Aspar team at Jerez in Spain at the end of November and I'm really looking forward to working with them.

It's always an amazing event at Valencia with around 120,000 fans watching on Sunday and they make a lot noise and set off a firework display that seems to last the whole weekend.

Eleven members of the family plus loads of friends are coming over to watch - if you have any spare passes please let my Dad know!


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