Any hope that home hero Ben Spies could battle Casey Stoner for victory at Indianapolis on Sunday effectively ended during a nightmare opening lap, which saw the Factory Yamaha star drop from second to ninth.
“My actual start wasn't too bad, just a couple of people got into turn one too hot and I got bottled in," said Spies. "Everything was OK, we weren't in about fourth, but then all of a sudden I just got hit from the outside. I think Dovi came across in front of me in turn four and I was just glad to stay on the bike. I never even saw him.
"When me and Dovi made contact, it made my race pretty miserable. I dropped back to ninth or tenth and you just have to reset the brain and forget about race strategy. You just start trying to pick people off.
"We had to make some creative passes because it was quite tough getting it done in the straightaway. Some riders were definitely a lot harder to get around than others.
"But I was happy. We made a couple passes where I didn't think you could actually pass. It made it fun; it made it interesting for everybody. It wasn't what I had in the forecast for the race, but that's how it goes.
"We came from a long way back to get a great result, third place in front of the home crowd."
Spies took the final place on the podium from team-mate and title contender Jorge Lorenzo on 17 of 28 - proving that, as Yamaha told Crash.net
prior to the event, there would be no team orders - but second place Dani Pedrosa was already too far ahead.
"When I made the pass on Jorge, I tried to nail a couple of really hard laps to get a gap, and then I just tried to stay in a rhythm because I knew Dani was six and a half seconds or so ahead of me," explained Spies.
"I think there were 10 laps to go so there was no way [to catch Pedrosa] unless he made big mistakes. I just made sure we had a gap to fourth, because we had to push the tyres pretty hard in a few areas to make some of those passes early on."
Sunday's race marked only the second time this season that Spies' has beaten team-mate Lorenzo, and team manager Wilco Zeelenberg is sure the Assen winner could have challenged Stoner.
"It was disappointing that Ben was not able to fight for the win. He did a fantastic sixteen last laps but the first ten were very hard for him after the start. I think he could have fought with Casey," said Zeelenberg.