Maverick Vinales remains firmly in the hunt for the runner-up spot in the Moto3 World Championship despite blowing a golden chance at Phillip Island.
Vinales, who split from his Blusens Avintia team prior to the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang before reuniting with the outfit in Australia, is nine points behind Luis Salom ahead of the final round at Valencia in Spain on November 11.
RW Racing's Salom was penalised at Phillip Island for a jump-start and had to complete a ride-through penalty, forcing him down the field.
That handed the initiative to Vinales in the battle for the championship's runner-up spot behind newly crowned champion Sandro Cortese, but the young Spaniard slid off with nine laps remaining while fighting with the leading group.
Salom went on to secure an extra point in 15th position to set up an exciting finale in Valencia.
Vinales, a winner in Valencia last year, said: “It was difficult. [Sandro] Cortese has broken away at the front the race and I tried to move forward.
“I wanted to leave the group because everyone was always trying to be first, so I tried to see if I could get away - but with this was impossible.
“Anyway, I tried and these things can happen. I could have settled for a good result and think of the championship, but I wanted to win.”
Reflecting on a “chaotic” race, Salom was relieved he was granted a second chance after Vinales' error.
“I'm not sure what happened, but it was chaotic. It is not normal five riders are ahead at the same time, something must have happened,” he said.
“Anyway, there's no use dwelling on that fact.
“Luckily for me, Viñales made a mistake and I'm still second in the championship.
“It's good to be back home after three races. Only one left.”
Vinales had labelled his team a 'second division' outfit before leaving Malaysia after a fallout.
He recently signed a new contract with Avintia lasting until the end of 2014.
However, it has been suggested that the teenager may not have been aware of all of the offers available for next year.
The Avintia team manager is also Vinales' personal manager.
Vinales and Cortese have both won five races this year. Cortese is confirmed as moving to Moto2 next season.