Bradley Smith admitted he was lucky to take his maiden 125cc Grand Prix win at Jerez, after problems with his gearbox almost caused him to crash during the latter stages of a race he dominated.
The British Aspar Aprilia rider had built a 20-second lead by that point, but was forced to back off for the final third of the 23-lap event.
"With eight laps to go I had a problem with fifth gear and nearly crashed," Smith said. "I went into corner number four and the bike almost switched off and then back on, and I went pretty sideways. I was pretty lucky to stay on - a lucky race for me really.
"I managed to ride around the problem afterwards and get to the end. It was a case of going fourth... fifth-six, just like that. It wasn't easy."
Smith, who crossed the line a still huge 13 seconds ahead of Aspar team-mate Sergio Gadea, closed to within a point of championship leader Andrea Iannone – who finished 19th after an early crash.
And he admitted that after the disappointment of last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, a race in which he broke his own windshield during a high-side, that a championship challenge was well and truly on.
"After Japan I was disappointed," he told AUTSPORT. "It took something quite special to pick me up. To be 26 points behind after only two races, I know it's a long season, but you have a lot of work to do.
"This just shows you how quickly everything can turn around. I'm only one point behind now and the chase is certainly on. I just can't describe the way I'm feeling right now."