MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo admits he thought his title chances were blown when he was wiped out at the first corner exit of the Dutch TT in June.
The Spaniard proved a dominant force throughout 2012, winning four of the opening six races and - Assen aside - finishing inside the top two of every race until he crashed out while leading the Valencia finale. He admits, however, he was wracked with doubt in the immediate aftermath of his Assen crash, when Alvaro Bautista wiped him out at the first turn.
"Qualifying at Assen went quite well, but on Sunday, 100-200 meters [after the start] I finished on the ground," he told Britain's BBC.
"I took a big hit on my side, the bike was on fire, and I didn't understand what was happening. It was like I was dreaming or something. I thought the championship was over. No points, bike on fire – I thought it was over."
It was a rare low in an otherwise exceptional season, one which Lorenzo sensed could be possible from the first preseason tests.
"Comparing to last year and our competitiveness, our performance, we saw we were much closer to Honda from the beginning," he said of Yamaha's 1000cc YZR-M1. From preseason we felt that something that could be done."
While Lorenzo's march to the title was perhaps most remarkable for his finishing record, he felt it was his consistency, and ability to avoid mistakes, that underpinned his title charge. His second world title makes him the most successful Spanish rider in MotoGP history.
"Firstly, learning from experience, from the past," Lorenzo said when asked about what had contributed to his 2012 triumph. "I came [to MotoGP] in 2008 and I was fast from the beginning, but I crashed many times, made mistakes, from not knowing my limit.
"Losing 2009 to Rossi [was] because of crashing: he was very strong but I made more mistakes than him so I couldn't fight with him. [That year] I started to know my limits. I'm proud to be the Spanish rider with the most premier class championships.
"It was a great honor to equal [1999 500cc champion] Alex Criville [on one title] and to go ahead gives even more satisfaction."