MotoGP champion Jorge Lorenzo's quest to get on terms with the Repsol Hondas at the Circuit of the Americas came up just three-seconds short in Sunday's race.

The Yamaha star had been lacking 1.6s a lap after the opening day, but made a breakthrough with a change of gearing in morning warm-up and perhaps needed just one more track session to find the last few tenths.

Instead, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa remained just out of reach during the 21-lap grand prix, allowing the rookie race winner to move equal on points with Lorenzo at the top of the early world championship standings.

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Amazingly, third was Lorenzo's worst result, in a race he has finished, since Indianapolis in 2011!

"Yesterday we were so far from Marc and Dani. I expected to finish ten seconds behind them, but this morning in the warm up we found something," revealed Lorenzo.

"The hairpin corners we normally take in first gear we made in second so it improved a lot the feeling and the acceleration, but it was not enough.

"Second gear was still a bit too long and also my start was not good, the rear was snaking, just as on my practice start.

"But anyway it was much better than I expected. Just a little bit more, maybe two tenths quicker and I could have fought with Dani and Marc. Today third position was the best we could do."

Team manager Wilco Zeelenberg also felt they had come close to cracking the Honda COTA dominance, which began back in the March pre-season test. "When you are ten seconds behind and you finish third you are quite happy, but if it's just three seconds you think you might have been able to get a bit more, he said.

Although he spent much of the race in a lonely third, Lorenzo was forced to keep his pace by Tech 3 Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow, lurking just a few seconds behind. Lorenzo praised both Crutchlow and Marquez for their performances.

"I want to congratulate Cal who didn't give up until the end and also Marc, he's the youngest rider in history to win a grand prix; he is a phenomenon."

Reflecting on his 100th podium, Lorenzo added: "It's an important day for me; I never thought to get this unbelievable number of podiums so today is a magic day. Time flies very quickly, it seems like it was just yesterday that I got my first victory, which was my first podium in Brazil in 2003 ten years ago and now today my 100th."

Team-mate Valentino Rossi finished in sixth place.