Dani Pedrosa finished on the wrong end of a thrilling home showdown with Jorge Lorenzo in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.
The Repsol Honda rider led the race from the first turn until the final lap, when Lorenzo's Fiat Yamaha finally found a way past under braking at the end of the back straight and won by half a second.
Nevertheless, having struggled to seventh place in round one, Pedrosa insisted Sunday's outcome was far better than he expected.
“Well this result is a little bit surprising for me and, even though I came so close to winning, I'm pleased to be on the podium and so close to the top step,” he said. “I didn't think I was going to be able to lead the race for this long and I was nervous at the start because I knew that to maintain a front-running rhythm was going to be very difficult for us.
“So I was pleased to be out in front of the race, but then I saw on the pit board that Lorenzo was closing at a pace that was half a second faster than me and Rossi and I thought, “Mmm, maybe this is going to be difficult!”
“I tried to hold him off for as long as possible but in the end I couldn't. Second place after leading for all but half a lap is disappointing obviously, but after the first race at Qatar this is a good result for us.
“I'd like to thank all the fans who came here and supported us today, and all the people around me in the Repsol Honda Team. We must keep working really hard - starting with the test tomorrow - so that we can improve for Le Mans,” he concluded.
“Of course it's a disappointment that he couldn't hang on for the win - and I really think he deserved it today - but we can take the positives from this,” added team manager Toshiyuki Yamaji.
Pedrosa's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso was sixth and looking forward to testing new parts on Monday.
"I made a quick start and my first few laps were good and I was able to get past a few riders and climb to sixth place. In the central part of the race we had a good rhythm and my pace compared to the front riders wasn't too bad.
"I maintained this until the final five laps when it was clear that I couldn't catch the riders ahead and so I eased off. The grip levels here were quite low and it was important to get the electronic controls working well, but in this area we didn't get things right today,” he revealed.
"So, even though I'm pleased my rhythm has improved from last year here, I am disappointed with the race result. We will keep on working and I'm very happy that tomorrow we have the opportunity to test the new material - the new chassis and the new engine - so we have the chance to continue the progress we've been making through winter testing and at the first race."