Jorge Lorenzo's first race since securing the 2010 MotoGP World Championship brought his best finish in four races, with second position behind Casey Stoner at Phillip Island.
But the Fiat Yamaha rider admitted he could do nothing about the pace of home star Stoner - who won the Australian Grand Prix by a massive 8.6sec - the biggest victory margin of the season.
"We knew Casey would be hard to beat today!" said Lorenzo. "I tried my best, riding as hard as I could at the start and occasionally it seemed like I was closing a little bit, but then on the next lap Casey would extend his lead again by a few tenths.
"I kept trying but I didn't have much hope and half way through I decided it was better not to take risks. I really enjoyed riding here and sliding a bit on my M1, it was fun but this was Casey's race today.
"It was good to be on the podium and now we are heading back and I have my first chance to go home to Mallorca as World Champion and to celebrate with my friends and family.
"Today we won the Teams' Title and this shows what a great season it has been for us all, with everyone working at the maximum," added the 23-year-old, a winner of seven races this season.
"Jorge tried his hardest at the start and his lap times were quick; we had a good set-up today but Casey was just faster than us," admitted team manager Wilco Zeelenberg. "Jorge really enjoyed himself out there and he had a big gap behind him so it was a successful day."
Lorenzo's team-mate finished third, but was almost ten seconds behind.