Francesco Bagnaia admits he lost hope that he could win the MotoGP championship during the season, but only for an hour.
He then mounted a comeback so outstanding that he arrived at the Valencia finale almost a full race up on Quartararo, needing to finish only 14th to guarantee the title.
“I just lost the faith on the championship for like one hour after Sachsenring,” said ‘Pecco'.
“But even in that moment I was knowing there was a chance to be world champion.
“We performed in an incredible way in the second part of the season and we analysed everything at home to understand why I was crashing, why I was making so many mistakes.
“From that moment, we did something incredible. We really deserved this title.”
It was a nervous final race for #63, as had been the rest of the Valencia weekend.
Bagnaia and Quartararo made contact just two laps into the contest when the former went for a move at Turn 2, taking a wing off his Desmosedici.
From there, he struggled, and opted to sidestep any serious battles for position.
“I'm very happy, also on a day that was the worst race of the year, of the calendar, I had a special taste,” recalled the 25-year-old.
“When I passed the finish line, I just saw the pit board that said I was the world champion and from that moment everything was lighter, more nice, and it was incredible.
“My emotion is incredible at this moment. It wasn't easy because in the fight with Fabio I lost a winglet and from that moment everything was a nightmare.
“Lap by lap, I was trying to ride a defensive line but it was very, very hard.
“It took so long to finish the race but I'm very proud of my team, myself and the work that we did which was incredible.”
Quartararo finished fourth on the day, ending the season 17 points behind Bagnaia.
A post-season test takes place back at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo tomorrow.