Rid­ing back from the fi­nal hazard in Great Bri­tain I had a lit­tle smile to my­self as I re­flected on what had just hap­pened. In a low-scor­ing event I had just made one my best fight­backs to claim a vic­tory as I passed through the ends cards on sec­tion fif­teen; yes it went all the way to the wire. It was pres­sure all the way af­ter a strict five-mark penalty was awarded against me on the first lap. I ac­cepted it and moved on, and that’s been the story of my ca­reer. You can­not look back on what’s hap­pened the fo­cus must al­ways re­main on the fu­ture. The cham­pagne was a good re­minder though of what I had just achieved!

This year has been very dif­fi­cult in the fact that in­jury has in­ter­rupted it so much. Firstly with my back when I crashed at the be­gin­ning of the year and then with my knee in­jury in Bel­gium. I went to bed in Bel­gium and my knee swelled up like a bal­loon. The qual­i­fi­ca­tion prob­lems had given me quite an early start po­si­tion but in my mind I de­cided that if I could ride I could chal­lenge for the win. The team around me checked the knee out on Sun­day morn­ing and strapped it up to avoid fur­ther dam­age.

Go­ing to the prac­tice area I was still not sure I could start the com­pe­ti­tion. Once on the machine I felt un­com­fort­able but that was all. The team is the best mo­ti­va­tion I could ask for and we all de­cided to give it a go. As it turned out the early start po­si­tion did not bother me. The fo­cus was go­ing for­ward and the team was re­warded with the win. I could not change the knee in­jury and so it was dealt with, and the out­come was a pos­i­tive one. This was the same with the five-mark penalty in Great Bri­tain. The crowd sup­port was su­perb and I wanted to put on a good show. With some great rid­ing from Miquel Ge­labert and then pres­sure from Adam Raga I was very happy to win! World ti­tle num­ber 24 was in the bag.

‘Can I keep win­ning’ is a con­stant ques­tion and one I am al­ways happy to an­swer. I am the man, and the machine is the team around me. They want to win as much as I do and for the pro­fes­sional way they all em­brace this sit­u­a­tion I can­not thank them all enough. For my fam­ily, friends and fans I thank you all for the jour­ney. The past is recorded in the his­tory books and now I once again look to the fu­ture. Thank you to every­one.

Un­til Next Time – Ride On! – Toni


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