Valentino Rossi reckons he had the potential to stay with Phillip Island winner Marc Marquez until end of the race if not for an aggressive late overtake from Andrea Iannone.
The majority of the Australian Grand Prix featured eight riders running in the front group, with Rossi, Maverick Vinales, Johann Zarco and Marquez all taking turns leading.
After passing Vinales for the lead on lap 21, Marquez then managed to pull away, taking advantage of Iannone making a couple of aggressive moves on Zarco and Rossi.
While Iannone only held second for a few corners, Rossi reckons having to fight with the Suzuki rider cost him the chance to stay with Marquez.
"I think I had the potential to stay with Marquez until the end because I was fast," said Rossi, who ended up finishing second, 1.8s behind Marquez.
"But when at one moment I thought that I was in the perfect position, Iannone arrived in the hairpin like crazy, and Marquez went away. But I think that anyway it was difficult to win."
"This is the game now"
Rossi commented on the aggressiveness of other riders during the race, which featured a couple of episodes of contact between riders.
Zarco hit the back tyre of Marquez during the opening laps, while the Honda rider touched Rossi at the Southern Loop later on in the race.
"The level of aggression and contact raised a lot, especially when the young riders arrive from Moto2. Also Zarco is always very aggressive," said Rossi.
"You get angry, but anyway it doesn't change anything. This is the game if you want to play, it is like this. It is a bit more dangerous, but this is the way if you don't want to stay at home.
"To fight especially with Zarco, and then arrived Iannone, the two worst riders for fighting.
"I remember I had the fight with Iannone in 2015 and he beat me on the last lap so I try the maximum with also Zarco like this and also with Marquez, so was a great race I enjoy a lot."