Repsol Honda's Casey Stoner says arm-pump cost him victory in the opening MotoGP race of the 2012 world championship in Qatar.

Defending champion Stoner, who finished on the rostrum for the 16th consecutive time in the elite class after finishing third behind title rivals Jorge Lorenzo and team-mate Dani Pedrosa, held an advantage of two-seconds at one stage of the race before his pace began to falter.

With four laps remaining, Stoner could do nothing as he was first passed by Lorenzo before Pedrosa also edged ahead of the Australian.

"The bike was working well for us, I definitely had the package and the pace to lead the field which was really positive. However, I suffered from really bad arm pump," said Stoner.

"After three or four laps I felt it but it gradually got worse, I tried to pull a little gap from Jorge and Dani and put in the minimal effort possible to retain the gap and try and win, but as the race continued it got worse and worse and eventually the muscles had nothing more to give.

"I couldn't hold onto the handle bars properly and it made things really difficult so it was a disappointing race for this reason, but for many other technical reasons it was very promising."

Stoner also commented that hes uffered from the problem during his final season with Ducati in 2010 after the British Grand Prix and that now his attention is focused firmly on his recovery:

"I haven't had arm pump since that incident in 2010," said Stoner. "Theres a few things that we did last time that helped. We sort of did things our own way [in 2010] and I don't want to let everyone know my secret to getting rid of it last time, but yeah it worked very well last time, within a week actually."

With three weeks until the next round of the MotoGP season, the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, time is on Stoner's side but arm pump can be a notoriously difficult injury to heal quickly.