Loris Capirossi's Portuguese Grand Prix came to a premature conclusion when his Suzuki GSV-R effectively shut down on lap 20 of 28, forcing him to retire.
The problem was later traced to a gear position sensor failure, which put the bike's ECU into 'safe mode'.
“The race wasn't too bad today - until we stopped!" he said. "I started quite well and was with the front group, but I then lost control on turn six and lost a few places. I tried to get my rhythm back and I managed to overtake a few riders and I caught up with Toni and Andrea [sixth and seventh].
“I know I was quicker than them and could have got past to score a good result. Then I don't really know what happened to the bike, because it lost power, so all I could do was return to the pits.
“We have worked really hard this weekend to find the best way to go quicker on the GSV-R and overall our position this weekend was to fight for fifth or sixth, which is not too bad for us because this is one of the worst tracks for us in terms of performance,” he added.
Team-mate Chris Vermeulen rode from a lowly 15th on the grid to tenth at the flag.
"I got a good start, but from the fifth row it was always going to be difficult. I got a bit blocked in in the first few corners and that didn't help things at all,” said the Australian.
“I chose the softer tyres because I knew the first part of the race was going to be very important, but after about eight laps the rear tyre that I had chosen was too soft and it started to move around a lot and the grip level dropped off. This meant I couldn't do the times I'd been doing all weekend - or that I wanted to do in the race.
“I am quite happy with the way I rode and the fact that I moved up through the field. We've definitely made improvements with the GSV-R at this track and I'm really looking forward to going to Phillip Island with those improvements,” he concluded.
Team manager Paul Denning also hopes the improved long-corner performance will transfer to Phillip Island.
"The good news from this weekend is that we got the GSV-R working better for the Estoril track than we ever have done in the past,” he said. “The rear grip issue problems that we have suffered in the long final corner have been improved dramatically and we'll find out in two weeks time in Phillip Island - when the final corner there has a similar characteristic - how big of a step in that direction we have made.”