Marc Marquez says his poor start in the Valencia MotoGP season finale was what ultimately cost him the chance to fight Jorge Lorenzo for victory.
Starting second on the grid behind poleman Lorenzo, Marquez plummeted to sixth on the opening lap with a sluggish getaway off the line.
Marquez then spent much of the first half of the race battling with Valentino Rossi, Andrea Iannone and Maverick Vinales, in which time Lorenzo was able to make good his escape at the front.
The Repsol Honda rider ultimately forced his way through into second, but says the time spent behind Rossi and Iannone – as a result of his bad start – was what cost him a chance of fighting Lorenzo for the win.
“It was the biggest mistake of the race,” said Marquez of the start. “I don’t know why, the clutch started spinning and there was nothing I could do.
“I was there waiting to find again the power, but it was too late. I lost many positions, and then I lost a lot of time behind Valentino [Rossi] and Iannone.
"If you are much faster than the rider in front, it’s easy to overtake; but if you are only two tenths, three tenths [a lap faster], it’s so difficult.”
In the closing stages of the race, Lorenzo seemed to be struggling with front tyre graining and began to drop back towards Marquez once the Honda rider had cleared Rossi and Iannone in the fight for second.
Marquez reduced a gap of nearly five seconds to 1.185s at the flag, helped by running the hard-compound front tyre as opposed to the medium chosen by his rivals.
“In the end, I was really comfortable,” said Marquez. “The tyres started sliding a lot, but this gives me the same feeling like dirt track, motocross and like it.
“I was on the limit, I was pushing like I had nothing to lose, and for that reason I was able to catch Lorenzo. But the race is 30 laps, so no excuse!”