Cal Crutchlow is confident that his maiden MotoGP podium finish at Brno last month will open the floodgates for more top-three results in the final third of the 2012 season.
After seeing his Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate Andrea Dovizioso notch up five podiums in the early part of the year, Crutchlow finally got his breakthrough result with third in the Czech Republic - on the same weekend that he signed to stay with the team for 2013.
"Now we've got the monkey off the back with the podium, we can look to the rest of the year," he said.
"If we can reduce the gap a little bit, I'll be pleased. We can go into this part of the season feeling positive."
Crutchlow said the contrast between his current form and his difficult 2011 season gave him confidence he could stay with the frontrunners for the rest of the campaign.
"This point of the season last year, I might as well have stayed in bed. It was just a disaster," he said.
"Now I'm coming into Misano as a strong contender in podium fights.
"There's no reason why we can't be up there and challenging for that again. I look forward to it."