Dani Pedrosa may have set the fastest lap of the race in Sunday's US MotoGP but he lost touch with leaders Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner after a series of scares.
Racing the new RC213V for the first time, Pedrosa joined Yamaha's Lorenzo in running the harder rear tyre, while team-mate Stoner gambled on the soft.
Second to Lorenzo the early stages, Pedrosa was then passed by Stoner with little to separate the leading trio.
However Pedrosa had a big 'moment' as he upped his pace and eventually backed away from the battle, finishing 7.6s from Stoner at the chequered flag.
“I tried my best in this race and third place was the maximum I could get this time,” he said.
“At the beginning, I was quite confident and calm when Casey passed me because I knew he was on the soft rear tyre and this was the most risky choice for the race, but finally it worked out perfectly for him.
“I knew I also had a good pace, but when I caught Casey again and was ready to overtake him I was on the throttle too fast and I had too much momentum there, I almost found myself on the floor.
“I lost ground with the leaders, but when I started braking harder trying to close the gap again I lost the front many times and I was so close to not finish this race.
“Anyway, I'm satisfied because I kept pushing until the end, giving one hundred per cent although today it wasn't enough. A small mistake it's just enough to not finish in front. Anyway, we were riding the new bike for the first time here and we took another podium.
“We know what we can improve to come back stronger in Indianapolis.”
Pedrosa remains second in the championship but is now 23 points from Lorenzo and only nine ahead of Stoner.