Dani Pedrosa produced a stunning performance to charge from 14th on the grid to sixth place just before the midway point of Monday night's Qatar season-opener.
However, the 24-year-old began to experience some vibration from his front wheel and started slipping back through the field - then suffered a spectacular collision with Alex de Angelis, who slammed into the side of Pedrosa's Repsol Honda.
Pedrosa - at '60-70 percent' fitness after recent knee and forearm surgery - remained in control of his RCV, but dropped back to eleventh at the finish line to claim five hard-earned points.
Race Direction investigated the incident with de Angelis but no punishment was given. “de Angelis gave me a big hit,” said Pedrosa. “The collision was avoidable I think because he could have passed me cleanly.”
Pedrosa said that the final result justified his decision to ride, despite the pain.
“I'm glad to have come here and scored five points - though I'm also slightly disappointed because it could even have been ten or eleven,” he said. “I got a good start and the race was going very well at the beginning.
“After seven or eight laps, though, I had started to get some vibration with the front wheel which became more severe as the race progressed. I started to lose grip at the front and my lap times suffered, so we'll have to check what the issue was.
“I also suffered a lot physically… My knee was giving me a lot of pain by the end and my left arm was pretty tired too. Still, we came away having completed the race and with a few points, which was our target, so I'm happy.”